How to get a “better” night’s sleep when you are pregnant – by Sleep Consultant Kathryn Stimpson

My pregnancy went a little bit like this, severe morning sickness from week 3-17, week 17-34 was an emotional rollercoaster, week 35 our little sleep thief greeted us nice and early. During the first 17 weeks of pregnancy I laid in bed all day everyday. Even if I opened an eye, I felt like I was on a boat and was instantly sick. Water, cups of tea, breakfast, lunch just all came up. On the plus side I could keep my dinner down if I ate it around 8pm.

As you can imagine, laying in bed all the time took it’s toll on my emotional health, I couldn’t read, watch television, listen to anything, I just had to lay there in a dark room and close my eyes. I have no idea why I didn’t go to the doctors, but I know I couldn’t even get in a car during the day so perhaps this was why. Luckily, after week 17 I started to come back to life and was ready to get back to my active self.

During my pregnancy, I suffered with bouts of feeling low and anxious, like many women do. This coupled with hormonal and physical changes such as back and pelvis pain, chronic wind, sudden excruciating leg cramps and the weirdest vivid nightmares meant that having a good night’s sleep just felt like a pipe dream away.

However, after implementing these simple techniques and recommendations, I found that I significantly improved my sleep. So here are my 5 expert tips on how to get a better night’s sleep when you are pregnant.

The Miracle Morning
You need this in your life. As soon as I could read again (usually in the evenings) I started reading this amazing book which still continues to change my life. Both for my mental health and also the quality of mine and my client’s sleep too.

Without giving too much away, the Miracle Morning does exactly what it says on the tin by giving you the recipe and key ingredients to create your morning routine. Starting your day off on the right foot makes a significant difference to the outlook and results you achieve in every area of your daily life. Which in turn sets you up to be in the best place for sleep when you get into bed at night. The bedtime affirmations are particularly useful for exploring your own expectations and beliefs around your sleep.

Interestingly, various scientific studies have concluded that by being grateful, you can drastically impact the quality of your sleep. Pregnancy is supposed to be a joyous time, and although I did have many times when I felt happy, why is it that times of negative emotions seemed to outweigh the good days?

Being grateful, doesn’t always come naturally when you feel tired, low and anxious. So start yourself a gratitude journal and commit to writing 3 things you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them every morning and evening.

You can even be grateful for the things you feel are going wrong in your life. For example, when I was bed bound, I would think (because I couldn’t write at that time) I am grateful that I can lay here and look after myself and our baby. I was also very grateful that I got breakfast in bed brought by my husband every morning, even if I did throw it up everyday!

The Great Outdoors
As soon as I was able to get of bed during the day again, I went for a 30 min power walk every single morning including the day I had Oliver. Scientifically, fresh air, daylight and doing gentle exercise have all been proven to boost your mood as well as improve the quality of your sleep.

I also found once I was more active, that my back and pelvic pain started to improve which made it a whole lot easier to stay asleep. Did I have days when I could not face doing this or dreaded the idea of walking outdoors? Yes of course I did but I made a commitment to myself to do it everyday and to be honest if I left the house feeling terribly low, I’d return feeling happy and grateful.

Being a front sleeper pre pregnancy meant as soon as I started growing a bump, I had to learn to sleep in a different position. I missed front sleeping so much! Now I am not one to buy all the pregnancy gimmicks and gadgets but if you are going to get anything to help your sleep then I highly recommend investing in a Dreamgeni pregnancy pillow. To be honest I wished I’d got it sooner! It was like heaven and also helps you to sleep on your left hand side.

A Mindful Pregnancy
Falling pregnant regardless of whether it was planned or not can be a daunting prospect. For me, I felt completely mixed emotions and cried for three days after we found out. And we were planning it! Hormonal changes and the presence of irrational thoughts can result in feeling overwhelmed and losing control. Once you are in this mind set, it can be very hard to fall and stay asleep.

My top recommendation is to practice mindfulness, the act of being in the present moment and observing your thoughts from the “side of the road” or seeing them like clouds passing by. Through learning to be mindful you can separate from your thoughts which helps to reduce anxiety and descending down the spiral staircase of negative thinking. These negative thoughts can easily take over and interfere with your sleep.

There is a fantastic app called Headspace which teaches you how to be mindful, plus if you subscribe you can access the pregnancy pack, which is great for listening to throughout pregnancy as well as during labour.

There you have it my 5 expert tips on how to get a better night’s sleep when you are pregnant. So what about me now? Today I am mum to our former Sleep thief Oliver who is now 21 months old, a certified Sleep Consultant helping families to improve their sleep deprivation so that they can be happier and healthier.

To find out how you can work with me to improve your’s or your child’s sleep, then book yourself into a discovery call, CLICK HERE 

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