Unfortunately with a growing bump, back aches, leg cramps, baby worries and frequent visits to the bathroom, it’s common to struggle for a good nights sleep when you’re pregnant. But we have a few tips that should help you manage insomnia in pregnancy and sleep more soundly!
Eat tryptophan containing foods before bed
Have you noticed yourself feeling particularly sleepy after christmas dinner? That’s because the amino acid tryptophan helps build up your serotonin levels. Serotonin is a hormone which plays an important role in helping you to sleep. Good sources of tryptophan are:
- Dairy products
- Soy beans
Drink camomile tea
Camomile tea is an traditional home remedy for aiding relaxation and sleep. Research shows that it has anti-anxiety effects and can help stop the mind racing, better preparing you for sleep. See foods to restrict in pregnancy.
Lavender is well-known for its soothing scent; it can help reduce stress, increase relaxation and induce see. You could try a lavender spray on your pillowcases just before bed, put lavender oil on your wrist, or buy a potted lavender plant for your room.
Make sure you’re getting enough magnesium
Magnesium is a calming mineral, that you need for deep sleep. It also helps your body absorb calcium and it helps your hormone production. Good sources of magnesium include:
- Green vegetables
- Lima beans
- Most nuts
- Sesame and sunflower seeds
Another good ides is to use epsom salts in your bath, and / or a magnesium oil as magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin. See foundations of a healthy diet: part two.
Develop a sleep time routine
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle is one of the most important strategies for achieving good sleep. If you keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, you will feel more refreshed and energised than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times.
Have a small snack before bed
Many of us wake during the night because our blood sugar drops. Usually a glass of water can help restore balance and help you get back to sleep but the fact that your deep-sleep has been disturbed will influence how you feel the next day.
To balance blood sugar through the night and keep early morning nausea at bay, have a small protein based snack before you go to bed. For example,
- Hardboiled egg
- Peanut butter on an oatcake
- Greek yoghurt
- Humus and carrots
Don’t watch TV before bed
Not only do the blue lights from the TV screen, or in fact any mobile device suppress melatonin production (which you need for sleep), but TV stimulates the mind, rather than relaxing it. Try listening to music or audio books instead, or reading a book.
Your bedroom is a sleep sanctuary
For the best sleep quality your bedroom should be quiet, cool and dark and your bed must be comfortable. You may need to try ear plugs, blackout blinds or even a new mattress if you believe it could aid your sleep. Your bed should be reserved for sleep and sex only. When you bring in mobile devices and complete errands from bed you begin to associate your bed with work and this will affect the quality of your sleep.
If you suffer from leg cramps stretching your calf muscles before bed and in the morning can help decrease their frequency – as can upping your calcium and potassium intake, for example by eating a banana. See foundations of a healthy diet: part two.
Information provided by Bump and Beyond Nutrition