Overactive bladder & restless legs: Reasons you're not sleeping during pregnancy
Sleeplessness during pregnancy is an extremely common experience – so step number one is to stop beating yourself up about it.
But we totally get the frustration. Night after night, the pressure builds to get a good night’s sleep. We can’t understand it – we’re exhausted, so how are we not conking out the second our heads hit the pillow?
Truthfully, the problem with pregnancy sleep is not the actual falling asleep – it’s staying asleep. But you’re growing an entire human, so take it easy on yourself.
Your hormones have rollercoastered in the last few months, heartburn may be keeping you up, you’re probably too hot and your bladder make you need to pee every five minutes or so – so we’re not surprised you’re struggling. Cut yourself some slack.
Get some exercise
Exercise that’s pregnancy appropriate of course! And even better if you can get some fresh air in there too!
We know this advice is a tale as old as time – but that’s because it works! Light aerobic exercise or even pregnancy exercise classes at your local gym can give you a boost and get your body moving! That way you can try prevent restless legs later on during the night!
This one is kind of a no-brainer. We all know caffeine wakes us up, so having it any time after about 4pm or 5pm isn’t a great idea. Plus ingesting lots of fluids after those times will have you running to the bathroom all night too. We’re not saying cut out all fluids after 5pm – just moderate them a little more and use the bathroom before going to bed so your bladder is as empty as possibly throughout the night.
Watch what you wear
Though it may be super tempting to get all cosy and snuggled up in your fluffiest pyjamas right now (especially at this time of year), try to stick to lighter, breathable clothing instead. During the night your temperatures may rise – and your body’s temperature is already fluctuating fairly regularly thanks to your hormonal changes. Especially in the third trimester, we tend to run a little warmer, so sticking to cotton PJs reduces the risk that you might wake up in the middle of the night sweating beneath the blankets.
Have a night time routine
The brain loves routine. It’s a signal that the day is winding down and sleep is coming soon, especially if you can stick with it. So whether it’s a little yoga, a warm shower and a scented candle or a detailed skincare routine, good book and no phone, these little actions can signal to your brain that it’s the time of day for it to begin calming down and preparing for sleep. The more you do it, the more familiar your brain becomes with it, meaning you slip more and more easily into sleep.
Avoid heavy meals before bed
Having a big meal late in the evening is an absolute disaster for anyone suffering from heartburn, never mind pregnant women. The food will sit in your stomach churning up all the acids, and it will get even worse when you lie down in bed. One trick I’ve learned is lying on your left side can help keep the reflux down, but ultimately, you want a light, non-inflammatory dinner early enough in the evening. Have your larger meal at lunch time if you’re really suffering with heartburn.