Excerpt from Secrets of a Good Night's Sleep
Copyright ©, All Rights Reserved Dream Essentials 2015
Pregnancy is usually a period of joy and happiness for most women. The thought of creating and bringing life into the world is an extraordinary and moving experience. But, pregnancy also comes with its fair share of difficulties and one of the greatest problems that pregnant women face is sleep deprivation. The physical and emotional pressure of pregnancy can cause severe disturbance in a woman’s sleep cycle.
According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, it was found that 78% of women had faced significant problems in their sleep patterns during their period of pregnancy compared to their sleep patterns otherwise. Pregnant women also experience high levels of fatigue during their 1st and 3rd trimesters.
Pregnant women also go through multiple hormonal changes and this can impact their ability to sleep. For instance, pregnant women experience a high level of progesterone production. This particular hormone can increase the occurrence of daytime sleepiness. Some hormones also tend to relax the muscles, which can lead to snoring and sleep apnea, especially in pregnant women who are overweight. Frequent urination and nausea are also causes for sleep disturbance among pregnant women. Pregnant women also suffer from temporary insomnia due to the stress and anxiety associated with pregnancy.
Research has also shown that pregnant women suffer from a variety of sleep disorders. In a survey of 600 women, 26% claimed to have had suffered from Restless Leg Syndrome, where the person suffers from unpleasant sensations in the legs. The women also complained of having gastric reflux disease during the pregnancy period. A recent study indicated that 30% - 35% of pregnant women suffered from this problem.
Studies have also shown that pregnant women, who are sleep deprived, tend to experience longer labor hours or complicated deliveries. Research carried out by the University of California, San Francisco showed that women who received less than 6 hours of sleep during pregnancy were 4.5 times more likely to have caesarian births.
However, pregnant women can improve their quality of sleep by following certain simple steps. Some ways to sleep during pregnancy are:
Position plays a significant role in sleeping while pregnant. Experts, advice that the best sleeping position for pregnant women is to sleep on their sides, especially on the left. Sleeping on the left side has been known to improve blood which can also be advantageous to the baby. It also helps the kidney in eliminating waste, which can help reduce swelling in the legs and arms.
There are specialized pillows, like our U shaped body pillow, and mattresses available in the market. These can be utilized minimize discomfort.
Pregnant mothers are also advised to minimize fluid intake towards bedtime
Pregnant mother can avoid the onset of nausea, which can disturb sleep, by eating bland snacks such as crackers.
Breathing and relaxation techniques can help alleviate stress and anxiety, which are known to cause insomnia in pregnant women. These techniques can also help once the contractions begin.
Indulging in exercise on a regular basis can help improve circulation and prevent leg cramps.