Hey pregnant ladies -- now you have one more reason to try and get a good night's sleep. Poor sleep can disrupt your baby's immune system. It can also lead to lower birth rate and other complications. "Our results highlight the importance of identifying sleep problems in early pregnancy ... since sleep is a modifiable behavior," says lead researcher Michelle Okun. So now you know. Get plenty of sleep, future mamas. Okay? Okay. End of post.
"Oh but wait," sleep-deprived women everywhere cry out, "what if we have INSOMNIA?!?" It's helpful to know that your baby's immune system is linked with your sleep, but there's a million other reasons why pregnant women would want to get a good night's sleep already. Not many people actually deprive themselves of sleep on purpose, you know? So if you know it's good for you, but you still can't seem to get enough sleep, what can you do?
1. Work with your doctor. This should probably be your first step, before trying any home remedies. There may be significant health issues or symptoms that are causing your sleeplessness (besides pregnancy, which is not a medical condition, I know). And your doctor will know about any complications you should be aware of.
2. Set the stage. Before you go to bed, dim the lights and try to limit your screen time. Reading a book or magazine before bed will better help your mind to relax; watching TV or going online can stimulate your mind too much right before bed. Make sure your bedroom is cool. Don't bring anything work-related into your bedroom if you can help it, and definitely not into bed with you.
3. Get some exercise. There are many reasons to exercise during pregnancy -- one of them is that it will help you sleep better. Exercise in moderation and check with your doctor about any modifications you should make. Even walking and yoga will help.
4. Rescue Remedy. Herbal sleeping aids are generally not recommended for pregnant women. But some doctors are all right with taking Rescue Remedy just to quiet your mind before bed. You'll want to check with your own doctor, first.
5. Take a nap. As a pregnant woman, you are officially entitled to a nap when you need it.
Do you have trouble sleeping while pregnant?
Image via Bart Everson/Flickr