We take a look at sleep during pregnancy and how you can catch up on some much needed rest
One of the ironies of pregnancy is just when you want to be able to catch up on as much sleep as possible before baby arrives, often you can’t. There are many myths circulating about pregnancy and sleep. Whether it is your body preparing for a baby or a throwback to the cavewoman’s instinct to be alert and protect their brood, there seems to be many an explanation. The only scientific one that has been proved, is that levels of progesterone increase when expecting; necessary for developing a baby but also causing a soporific effect. While this helps with falling asleep at unexpected intervals or early in the evening it can often be difficult to remain asleep. Nausea, cramps, trips to the toilet and mind-whirring can all keep you awake at night.
We spoke to Rebecca Maberley, founder of the Doctor and Daughter medical website and antenatal classes in London, on the issues surrounding sleep and pregnancy. Alongside her expert advice, we’ve rounded up our top picks of products that might finally help you stop counting sheep.
“As your pregnancy progresses, even if your bump is not big and uncomfortable, and even if you don’t need to wee and you have no worries about the future…you may STILL find yourself lying awake at night for no particular reason.”
The Sleep Genius app is revolutionary for those wanting a sound sleep. With personalised sleep reporting, it tells you your sleep’s quality, quantity and efficiency all while you’re snoozing. There’s also a relaxation programme, scientifically created to reduce anxiety and calm the mind before bedtime. The science behind this app has been recently recognised by NASA – so you know you’re in good hands!
www.sleepgenius.com Available on IOS and Android
“You can try and help matters by keeping active during the day. You could do some light exercise or simply try and do some walking instead of getting the bus or driving so that you are a little more tired when you hit the pillow!”
When you finally hop into bed, pop on an eye mask to help block out light and any other outside distractions. When your brain senses pure darkness, it produces melatonin, the chemical of sleep and helps lull you into a good night’s slumber. We love this Charlotte Olympia kitty eye mask and slippers set, for a peaceful cat nap in style.
“There are many pregnancy pillows on the market which are designed to help you sleep more comfortably. Some are designed to put between your legs and help you to sleep on your left, and to prop up your bump so it does not feel so heavy in bed. Sleeping on your left-hand side is thought to be good for the baby as it helps the flow of blood to the placenta.”
The DreamGenii supports your bump, back and head while encouraging you to sleep on your left side. Research suggests that more blood flow to the placenta helps the baby get into the optimum position for birth. So, you can aid your little one along the way while you get your forty winks.
“Sadly there is not too much you can do about aches and pains. If your doctor has recommended some painkillers for your aching hips or back then these may help. Try and catch up on some sleep during the day if you can.”
Use cult-brand Sunday Riley’s cleanser in the morning and before bedtime for a calming routine. With cocoa butter, blue tansy and moringa butter, it also has essential oils of German chamomile to relax your senses. Used as part of a proper skincare routine, the motions of facial massage and removing impurities are a great way to relax your body and mind before sleep – whatever time of day!
“Take your indigestion remedies before you go to bed, and keep them by your bedside so that you can take more during the night if the discomfort wakes you up. You can also try sleeping slightly propped up.”
There’s nothing more luxurious than silk, so prop yourself up on one of these silk pillowcases from SilkKiss. Loved by Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon and Elle McPherson, these ensure optimum comfort while also having the added benefit of keeping your locks under control. With anti-ageing benefits and made from the finest silk, rest up knowing that your sleep – and hair – will be taken care of.
“Worries about your pregnancy or the birth may be playing on your mind especially at night time when everything seems scarier. Concerns about your career, finances or future mothering skills can also become particularly prevalent when you are pregnant.”
An all-natural product, clinical trials showed that 100% of users found they slept two more hours on average than before, using This Works pillow mist. If you find yourself tossing and turning, this will become your go-to product. Simply spray it on your bed or pillowcases before sleeping and the soothing essential Lavender oil will work its aroma-therapeutic effects on you.