Pregnancy and sleep do not always good bedfellows make, but new research shows just how important their relationship is.
A new study found a strong correlation between the amount of sleep a pregnant woman gets and her blood pressure.
Those who didn't get enough sleep (less than six hours per night) or too much sleep (10 or more hours) had higher blood pressure. They also found a link between sleep habits and preeclampsia, which can have deadly effects for mothers and babies.
"If our results are confirmed by other studies, the findings may motivate increased efforts aimed at exploring lifestyle approaches, particularly improved sleep habits, to lower preeclampsia risk," said Dr. Michelle A. Williams, the study's lead author.
To think someone could sleep away some of their preeclampsia risk would be an amazing piece of the puzzle.
But knowing sleep is important doesn't make getting it any easier.
If you're having difficulty sleeping because of your blossoming belly, here are five tips to help you sleep better:
1. Sleep on your left side. This is the safest position for you and your baby as it allows increased blood flow to your uterus and your baby. This is most important in the third trimester, but it doesn't hurt to start getting used to it from the get-go.
2. Pillows. There are dozens of different pregnancy pillows out there that help support your stomach and back. I found a regular pillow placed between my knees helped more than anything else.
3. Exercise. If you can get in some good exercise during the day, you're more likely to sleep well. Just make sure you do it at least a couple of hours before bedtime or it could have the opposite effect.
4. Prevent heartburn. Nothing is worse than lying in bed with a raging case of heartburn. Avoid spicy, fried, and acidic foods, and if it's a regular problem, then take some preventative antacids before you head to bed.
5. Taper your beverages. While you should drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, try to cut down as bedtime approaches to avoid extra restroom trips.
What are/were your biggest sleep issues while pregnant? Any other tips?
Image via Alyssa L. Miller/Flickr