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Sleep disturbances during pregnancy

Sleep disturbances during pregnancy

Are you wide awake at 3AM? Is the heartburn, nausea or the constant need to use the bathroom keeping you up? You're bound to experience sleep disturbances at some point during your pregnancy. Each trimester brings its own unique sleep challenges.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the following are the most common sleep changes that occur in every trimester.

Sleep problems in the First Trimester of Pregnancy include:

• Frequent waking up due to an increased need to use the bathroom.
• Trouble sleeping as a result of emotional and physical stress that is associated with pregnancy.
• Increased daytime sleepiness.

Sleep problems in the Second Trimester of Pregnancy include:

During the second trimester, sleep improves for many women because nightime urination decreases as the growing foetus reduces pressure on the bladder by moving above it. But still, the quality of sleep may remain poor as a result of the growing baby and the emotional stress that is linked with pregnancy.

Sleep problems in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy include:

It is in the third trimester that the pregnant woman experiences most sleep problems.
• Heartburn, sinus congestion and leg cramps
• Discomfort due to the growing belly
• Frequent urination at night time returns because the baby's varying position puts pressure on the bladder once again.

Here are some tips to help you get sound sleep:

• Avoid caffeine in all its forms, even chocolates.
• Use extra pillows to support your tummy and back, and a pillow between your legs to help support your lower back to make sleeping on your side easier.
• Drink eight glasses of water until evening and taper it off at night. Drink if you're thirsty but don't down a whole jug of water right before bedtime.
• Exercise regularly during the day or early evening, this will help you sleep better. Avoid exercising close to bed time; this can actually disrupt your sleep.
• Try some relaxation techniques such as visualization, deep breathing or even meditation before hitting the sack.

Remember that stressing about the "shut-eye" will only make it harder to seize it, so if you're not sleepy, get up, read a book, watch some TV and try again!

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