Sleep Like a Baby
How to conquer the sleep-busters that keep you awake
MIND CHATTER What if I have a problem during labor? Is my baby healthy? Will my husband still think I'm sexy? Will my body ever be the same again?
Solutions: The best way to silence sleep-killing mind chatter is to work through bothersome problems before you go to bed. If anxieties still keep you awake, talk them through with a friend, your partner or a therapist. Also, perform relaxing bedtime rituals, such as taking a warm bath.
CONGESTION AND SNORING Increased blood flow during pregnancy causes everything to swell, including nasal passages. Thus, according to the NSF, about 30 percent of pregnant women snore—even if they didn't before. Extreme congestion coupled with excessive weight gain may cause sleep apnea (when you stop breathing temporarily), a more serious sleep disorder.
Solutions: "Those little Breathe Right strips that you stick on your nose saved me," says Leslie Lundt, M.D., a Boise, Idaho, psychiatrist who specializes in sleep problems and is a mother of five. Using a humidifier, inhaling steam and using saline nose drops also can help.
FEELING HOT Because of increased progesterone levels, pregnant women's bodies "run hot." Being surrounded by pillows in an attempt to get comfortable can make you even hotter.
Solutions: Wear breathable cotton nightwear and use a light blanket. Also try using the Chillow; it slips inside your pillowcase to help keep you cool all night ($40; chillow.com).
HEARTBURN With your uterus now parked under your chin, causing stomach acids to back up into your esophagus, heartburn can be an issue, especially when you're lying down.
Solutions: Avoid eating a heavy meal for three hours before bedtime. Cut down on spicy; fried; and acidic foods, including tomatoes, orange juice and coffee. Sleep with your head or the top of your bed elevated, and lie on your left side. A liquid antacid like Gaviscon is safe to take, says Richard Frieder, M.D., a clinical instructor of OB-GYN and family medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine.
BACK PAIN Carrying a baby throws your whole body into a new alignment. You're likely to notice this most when you lie down at night.
Solutions: "How you treat your body during the day affects your comfort at night," Yan-Go says. "Wearing good support hose and comfortable shoes will help reduce the back and leg aches that accompany pregnancy." Also, stretch and do abdominal exercises frequently. Put a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your side or try a full-body pillow. Back rubs, a heating pad and warm baths can help, too.