As a mama we get a bit obsessed by sleep don’t we? How much is the baby sleeping? Are the kids waking too early? Getting too much/too little?
And what about us? A top result in google is ‘can lack of sleep kill you’ so its safe to say we are all pretty serious about the lack of sleep that kids can bring and the impact is has on our wellbeing.
We know from personal parent experience that consistent poor sleep can have a long-term impact on your physical health. It increases your blood pressure and you gain weight more easily than when you have good-quality sleep. Not what we need.
I also find that I get ill more as lack of sleep weakens your immune system. There are mental health impacts, too. Your reaction times will slow down, and you’ll find issues with concentration. Mood changes and memory problems can also occur. It’s not great is it!?
It not only impacts our health but our wealth too, according to research group RAND Europe discovered sleep deprivation in the UK workforce costs the economy £40.2 billion in loss of productivity!
So we cannot neglect our own sleep and the importance of it, but sometimes the obsessing and worrying makes it worse.
I’ve been looking at ways to get a better sleep, and I want to help you too mama.
I’m in my third trimester of my second pregnancy and I’ve found it notoriously difficult to sleep.
Since the 2nd trimester I’m waking up needing to pee and now I’m in the 3rd trimester, the struggle is so real. It’s really hard to function without quality sleep, especially if you are still working. I must be waking up 3 times a night on average at the moment.
I’ll get the pregnancy moans out of the way and then I can tell you about how I’m improving my sleep. Skip past the first few tips if you aren’t pregnant. I hope the rest of the ways can help you, pregnant or not!
It’s well documented that we should be sleeping on our sides when pregnant, our left side in particular. I do always start on my left side but I end up so uncomfortable swapping and changing throughout the night. I also often wake up on my back. I have found propping myself up is better than laying on my side. I also tried one of the big pregnancy pillows but I sacked it off. It was just too bulky in bed and I couldn’t move around. I do put a pillow in between my knees but I end up sacking that off too in the middle of the night. The main thing for me is getting a good enough sleep so that I feel almost refreshed in the morning. I know soon I’ll have many sleepless nights so I want to bank that sleep now!
I have been going to pee around 3-4 times a night at times. It’s just ridiculous. In pregnancy you need to keep yourself well hydrated but it really does disturb your sleep getting up every couple of hours. I’ve found limiting drinks around 2 hours before I’m due to go to bed helps and I’ve definitely stopped the pre bedtime cuppa for now.
HEARTBURN IS A BITCH
Oh this is a joy to deal with! I’m getting heartburn all day, every day. And I cannot wait to have the baby and to get rid of it. I’ve been to the docs and got industrial strength and size Gaviscon (the texture though!). I’m finding eating little and often is better than big meals, I’m avoiding fruit juice and have found apple cider vinegar to also work.
ACHES AND PAINS
I’ve got pretty bad lower back pain now and also pelvic pain. It’s hard to balance the need to move and to also take rest for both of these pains. I’m wearing a bump support band during the day which is helping. And I’ve invested in a massager so that I can enlist the husband to massage my lower back/top of my bum and also a foot roller for a cheeky foot massage. Did you also know you can foam roll in pregnancy? I’ve been rollering my back, bum, calves and IT band and it is heaven! Add a massage to your final hour before bed and you will sleep so much better.
Ok that is enough of the pregnancy specific sleep tips, read on for tips that will help you have a better night sleep, pregnant or not.
A mama luxury to be enjoyed every day if you can, a nap can really help refresh you. I am incredibly lucky to be able to work from home some days, and I have to say a 30 min nap does help me to be more productive in the afternoon rather than falling asleep at my laptop by 3pm. I recommend doing this if you can and even if you are in the office, perhaps you can find a quiet space to have a rest and some shut eye. In the absence of a nap, try and take 30 mins away from your desk, in the quiet, and just chill.
CREATE A SELF CARE BEDTIME RITUAL
Most of the following tips can be easily formed into a lovely bedtime ritual you can follow to switch off, relax and help you sleep better. The following suggestions can be seen as end of day hug to yourself to allow you to have a better sleep.
It can be difficult to switch off in your head when you are a mummy or mummy to be. Writing all your worries down and putting them away can also help free up your mind. I’ve been using the Headspace app to have 10 minutes of mindfulness before sleep to really disconnect from the thoughts and get my head in a space for sleep.
I’ve gone from being a very active person to now not being able to do much more than walk, swim and yoga while pregnant. This means I can feel quite ‘buzzy’ and want to move my body and I’m frustrated that I can’t. You may get this from sitting at your desk or day, or just being out of the routine of exercise. I’d recommend a ten minute bedtime yoga routine to stretch your body, make room for your baby (if pregnant) and create some movement so that your body feels ready to rest. I feel that yoga adds to a lovely self care bedtime routine that will help you to sleep better.
SCENT TO SLEEP
I find it so nice to light a lovely candle in the bedroom before bed. I’m obsessed with Neom, of course, and love the Tranquility candles or the Perfect nights sleep 3 step programme. I also like Mamma Mio Liquid Yoga candle. It’s so nice to create a bit of luxury for yourself and you can add it as part of your self care ritual before bed.
It’s so easy to sit in bed on your phone, but we know the blue light is bad for us. I have started implementing a new routine in a morning and on a night. I don’t check my phone until after breakfast in the morning. I do find that this cuts out on any night before anxiety. I also do not look at my phone at least 1 hour before bed but instead start my self care routine; read, massage, do a little yoga and 10 mins of mindfulness. Believe me, the world does not end with you having a bit of detox time and it will really help your sleep and provide a balanced mind for sleep.
OTHER THINGS TO TRY
It’s worth trying anything for a good night sleep. A warm bath, early bedtimes, avoiding certain foods and share any others tips with me.
As part of living a balanced life, sleep and rest is so important. And this is no different when you are a mummy and obsessing about other people’s sleeping habits You need to be kind to yourself mama and some self care every night will do you wonders. Sleep well.