If you’re like me, you’ve heard way too many people tell you, “Make sure you rest up...you know, because there won’t be much sleeping once the baby comes!”
This line is sometimes flippant, but always well meaning. I know this, and I am actually someone who appreciates any shared parental wisdom. I pick up nuggets of advice for my future life like they are canned goods I should store in case of emergency, relaxing with the knowledge that I will always have something to eat.
But the last time someone told me to rest up, I broke. Instead of smiling and nodding, I grabbed her sleeve and pathetically asked, “How?”
Getting more sleep, like so many things in life, is easier said than done. When you’re 30 weeks pregnant, it can seem downright impossible. It’s not that I don’t see the freight train of late night feedings coming, it’s just that my body won’t listen to my mind as it begs to build up a magical stockpile of sleep to draw on when times get tough.
BTW, I wonder if we would be better off just training our pregnant bodies to get by with less sleep in preparation for life with an infant. But that actually sounds worse.
Over the last few weeks, I made it my mission to actively seek advice from the women in my life - not about whether I should get more sleep, but how. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Drink water
Drink lots of fluids during the day, but cut down before bedtime. In the event you are sleeping peacefully, a midnight pee break is very frustrating.
Exercise helps improve your circulation which can reduce those middle of the night leg cramps. I had A LOT of lower back pain earlier in my pregnancy which has lessened since I started prenatal yoga. Highly recommend.
3. A Pregnancy Pillow
SNOOGLE!!! I actually got mine as a “welcome to the third trimester” gift from my sister who swears by hers. I have to say it has been a lifesaver. The horseshoe shaped head is super comfy, and the extra long midsection is the perfect width for total back or tummy support in an position you choose to snuggle up. Tuck the curved end between your knees and you have the perfect sleep cocoon.
Whatever your birth plan, or lack thereof, most birthing pros agree that practiced breathing techniques can help when the contractions begin. Several friends have told me that those same techniques have helped them calm their busy minds at bedtime. At any rate, it must be more effective than silently scolding yourself for still being awake.
5. Take a bath
A warm bath or shower before crawling into those cold sheets. Enough said.
6. Chill out
Adjust your thermostat. In general, people agree that around 65 degrees is a good temperature to encourage deep and restful sleep. If your partner doesn’t agree, well, his brother’s house might be warmer ;)
So sleepy-soon-to-be-mama, I hope these tips give you some nighttime relief. And if you have any favorite sleep advice that isn’t covered here, please do share!
In the meantime, I’m going to take a nap with my Snoogle.