It seemed so easy to fall asleep when you were first pregnant, right? You took any chance to take a nap, go to bed early, or sleep in. But as your body changes and the months roll on, it’s not so easy to stay asleep at night. It’s hard to get comfortable, and baby seems to think its party time whenever you get still. Can anything bring relief?
Get out of bed
Doesn’t that sound a little counterintuitive? You’re trying to go to sleep after all. If you’ve been up for longer than thirty minutes, you might need a change of environment to get you back to a relaxed and sleepy state. Keep your surroundings restful. Watching television, playing on your phone, or getting on the computer is only going to prolong your restlessness and activate your brain.
Keep the lights dim and curl up with a book, preferably something a little boring! Maybe heat up a mug of milk with a dash of cinnamon and a little honey.
Take a bath
If you’re legs are bothering you, grab the bath salts and fill up the tub. A little late night soaking never hurt anyone, and it’s sure to relieve sore muscles. If you have scents like lavender or chamomile, use those to augment the restful and soothing atmosphere. If you want to keep the lights off, maybe light a candle or two. Twenty to thirty minutes of soaking might be just the ticket you need to a good night’s sleep.
Sometimes the culprit for our wakefulness is ruminating. The thoughts start racing as soon as our heads touch the pillow. A broken record of worries and anxieties pile up. Grab a pen and paper, and write everything down. Don’t judge what you write, and don’t edit either. If you’re mad that the baby kicks you awake every night, write that down. If you’re worried about that glass of wine you had at dinner, write it down. If you’re sad that your body doesn’t look the way it used to look, write it down.
Whatever you’re thinking or you’re body’s feeling, get it down on paper. Sometimes the thoughts keep replaying in our heads because they aren’t being expressed.
Listen to brown noise.
What the heck is brown noise? Have you ever heard of white noise? That’s usually what you call the sound of the snowy screen on your television. Brown noise is similar to heavy rain or a waterfall. It’s deep, low and soothing, using lower sound frequencies. There are lots of free apps and mp3s available online that you can use. Brown noise is often used to aid sleep, soothe headaches, and calm nerves.
Do a little yoga or stretching.
There are certain yoga poses and stretches that activate the parasympathetic nervous system, relaying a signal to the brain to relax. One of the most relaxing postures is “Legs Up the Wall,” and it’s exactly as it sounds. Lie down on the floor with your seat as close to the wall as possible and stand your legs straight up, letting the heels rest against the wall. Close your eyes and let your arms fall to either side of you as your focus on your breath.
Here’s a great video for this posture, and names some of the benefits of the exercise.
Don’t be discouraged if none of the suggestions put you to sleep right away. The important thing is that you are relaxed, comfortable, and not worried. Sleep can be hard to come by in the final months of pregnancy, so it’s important that your waking life is as peaceful as your sleep would be.