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The most ironic piece of third trimester advice out there has got to be “enjoy sleeping while you can!”
Anyone who has been through pregnancy knows that trying to fall asleep a few weeks away from giving birth is nearly impossible.
Kidding aside, in her own way I suppose nature is preparing us for what’s to come by getting us used to broken sleep cycles and operating on minimal amounts of rem cycles.
BUT, I really like sleep. So I’ve learned a few things about getting it in my two pregnancies. Here are the 6 things I’ve found critical to getting a good night’s sleep while pregnant.
1. Get a Good Side Sleeping Pillow
Sleeping on your back is a no-go for two thirds of pregnancy and if you don’t have a pillow that works well for sleeping on your side you are doomed from the get go. Everyone recommends investing in a body pillow and while I’m not against that, getting a supportive side-sleeping pillow for your head first if you don’t have one is much more important.
I am a side sleeper in my regular non-pregnant state of life and I swear by my CoolTech memory foam pillow.
Personally the pregnancy body pillows never really worked for me. I think they are a little awkward and hard to adjust. I did discover an awesome peanut shaped convertible pregnancy and nursing pillow on Amazon that I can recommend if you are look for something to put between your knees or support your back though. It’s multifunction ability I think makes it more worth the money if you are looking for something.
However, you can also just used smaller regular pillows (or even towels) for extra support between your knees or behind your back during those last weeks when you need it as well!
2. Go Easy on the Fluids Before Bed
Pregnant women need extra fluids to stay hydrated, but this can cause problems at night with extra bathroom visits.
I’ve had easier nights when I focus on increasing my water intake in the morning and afternoon. Drinking too much water before bedtime is a surefire way to make sure you have to get up to pee throughout the night (probably many times!)
Therefore, don’t drink less water. Just try to drink the majority before dinnertime. This helps so much it’s crazy! (P.S. This is actually called the upside down pyramid of fluids. You’ll want to remember that when you are potty train your kid down the road!)
3. Use Nightlights in Your Hallway and Bathroom
Despite following the previous piece of advice, if you are far enough along the chances of you having to pee at least once in the middle of the night are high.
It’s easier to stay in a sleepy state without having to fumble for your phone’s flashlight, or worse, turning on a bright bathroom light completely.
I found putting up nightlights in the hallway and bathroom was extremely helpful in my third trimester with my second, (and I wasn’t worried about stepping on legos in the dark as a bonus.)
I love THIS LED nightlight 2 pack I purchased on Amazon because they are automatic and turn on and off on their own depending on the time of day. So perfect.
4. Keep it Cool
Pregnant women have an increased blood volume. A big side effect of this is feeling warmer than usual or hot. Therefore, keeping the temperature slightly cooler than usual can help keep you comfortable and sleep better at night!
At the very least or if you don’t have AC, consider adding a personal bedroom fan to your sleeping area. Oh, and while we’re talking fans, this handheld one is one of my favorite things to pack in my hospital bag. My hubby holds it for me during labor and it’s ah-mazing.
5. Try a Firmer Mattress
Switching from a super soft mattress to a firmer one had me waking up less sore throughout my pregnancy. I believe this is because it was actually helping to support my back and keep things aligned better.
I don’t have any research to back this one up, but it helped me a ton!
Obviously not everyone is going to go out and get a new mattress. We happened to have a firm mattress in our guest room and we switched it out. I was a little surprised, but hey! Worked great.
It might be worth considering or trying if it’s an option for you.
The key here is to listen to YOUR body!
6. The Principle of Rest
Last but not least, embrace the principle of rest. The end of pregnancy and the initial postpartum periods can both have the potential to be filled with anxiety.
Instead of stressing when you can’t sleep or about not getting enough sleep which can make things worse, just focus on getting as much rest as you can.
Taking the pressure off of yourself and being grateful for the “rest” your body is getting whenever you are laying down instead of cursing yourself for not being able to sleep is a powerful tool when you are pregnant or have a new baby you are awake nursing at night.
In fact, many times I’ve found that it’s after I relax my mind and allow myself to be okay with “just resting” that I’ve peacefully drifted back off to sleep shortly after.
So just relax and embrace where you’re at and let your mind be at ease. This too shall pass!
|P.S. If you are into guided meditation at all I highly recommend Rachel Yellin’s “Yes To Birth” Audio Relaxation Program. It’s AH-mazing to listen to throughout your whole pregnancy. She really helps reduce anxiety-related sleep issues. Plus the pregnancy and birth tracks in particular are an amazing way to prepare for actual labor.|
I hope these 6 tips can help you to sleep better while pregnant and that you won’t have to laugh ironically when someone tells you to rest up!
While you’re here grab my free gift to you – Free Birth Mantra Memorization Cards For Third Trimester!