How to set up your bedroom for ideal sleep while you’re pregnant

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 78% of women reported disturbed sleep while pregnant. Twenty-six percent reported symptoms of restless leg syndrome (RLS) and 30-50% experienced gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Pregnancy just got a whole less pretty.

Growing a human being inside you is no easy task; in fact, it’s exhausting. Now more than ever, you need a good night’s sleep for the sake of your health and your baby’s.

While there is no way to completely avoid sleep disturbances, there are ways to optimize your sleep environment, sleeping structure and your bedtime routine to get the quality ZZZs you so desperately need.

Step 1: Optimize your sleep environment

You may have never thought to optimize your room for pregnancy, but here are some easy tips to make your bedroom optimal for great sleep.

  1. Block out the light

Before the creation of alarm clocks, the light was responsible for communicating our time to get up. If you are having trouble sleeping, make your room as dark as possible to avoid triggering your brain into thinking it should be awake.

That means blocking out both natural and artificial light. To block natural light, try using blackout curtains to keep from streaming in at the crack of dawn. To minimize artificial light, turn your alarm clock away from your bed and avoid using the TV to help you fall asleep.

  1. Clear out the clutter

A cluttered room achieves the exact opposite of creating a haven for peaceful sleep. According to a study by UCLA researchers, physical clutter overloads your senses, which leads to stress. Stress that results from a messy room is the last thing you need impacting your sleep. Why lose sleep over something you can easily manage? Not to mention, the last thing you want is to trip making one of your many middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.

  1. Speaking of the bathroom… leave a light on

It’s no secret you have to pee A LOT when you are pregnant. You to getting up multiple times a night to make a trip to the bathroom. Instead of risking a fall while navigating through the pitch black abyss known as your room, consider adding a low-blue night light the bathroom. These night lights emit 90% less blue than normal light bulbs.

The wrong solution? Skipping the water. It’s very important to stay hydrated while pregnant. Make sure you are drinking plenty, but feel free to limit your intake after 7 pm.

  1. Keep it cool

If there is one word, to sum up the reality of pregnancy, it would be uncomfortable. As your body changes, you are more prone to get hot which can make it hard to sleep.

Did you know, the temperature has the largest impact on sleep quality? That’s because to fall asleep our core body temperature must decrease. According to Dr. Robert Oexman of the Sleep to Live Institute, the ideal temperature for sleep is 65 - 68 degrees.

“If that’s too cold for you, just pile on more blankets. As long as your head is exposed to that cold air, you will decrease your core body temp.”

  1. Splurge on an essential oil diffuser

Lavender is known for its calming effects. Research shows that the aroma of lavender eases anxious thoughts and insomnia. Psychologists at Wesleyan University even found this essential oil increased the amount of the very deep, slow-wave sleep (where your heartbeat slows and muscles relax) in respondents who were exposed to it for less than 10 minutes.

Maybe it’s time you splurged on the $30 essential oil diffuser you have always wanted! It’s not for you, but the baby (wink, wink).

  1. Minimize noise

You may not be able to do anything about external noise if you live near a busy highway or but you do have control over your internal environment. Try your best to fall asleep without the TV on or keep your head away from a shared wall, especially if you share a wall with your kiddos or the laundry room.

If you have done all you can do to minimize noise and you still can’t fall asleep, try using ear plugs or a white noise machine to mask noise. Dr. , no music or crashing waves.

Step Two: Optimize your bed

So now your room is a haven for peaceful sleep. But you can’t forget about the tool you use to achieve the best sleep possible - your bed.

  1. Make sure your mattress is in good shape

Did you know that you should consider changing your mattress every 5 years? The condition of your mattress in terms of cleanliness and structure is important for pregnant women, both to prevent dust-borne illnesses, pain and insomnia. Since over 50% of pregnant women experience insomnia, make sure you have the right mattress for you. Choose a mattress based on your sleeping habits and for the recommended sleeping positions for pregnant women. For example, after the first trimester, sleeping on your back is discouraged and side sleeping is encouraged.

  1. Get a pregnancy pillow

Pregnancy pillows help you avoid tossing and turning which can cause you to at night and also snore. The idea is for this pillow to support you while you lay on your side and the baby inside. Take note that the pillow works best depending on the size of your bump and how far along you are. The pillow works most effectively for pregnant women between 20 weeks and 31 weeks.

  1. Still hot? Try a cooling mattress topper or sheets

These cooling products are designed to maintain and body temperature while you sleep. Mattresses can act like heat traps and some women hotter than others when they sleep. Such products help regulate your temperature so you can get the sleep you need!

By completing these two steps, you are sure to improve your sleeping conditions for your sake as well as for your unborn baby. Now catch some ZZZs like you deserve!

 

Contributed by a friend of Handsocks Lisa Smalls.

Lisa Smalls is a freelance writer from NC. When she isn't busy wrangling up her kids, she enjoys finding new healthy recipes to try out for her family. 

Casey Bunn

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