Sleep Tips from Dr. Oz
If pregnancy complaints are keeping you awake at night, here are some safe solutions for back pain, leg cramps and more.
Banish the burn
If heartburn is a sleep stealer, elevate the head of your bed (not just your head) by putting blocks under the legs. This will keep stomach acid from rising up into your esophagus.
Mellow out with milk
Have a small glass of warm low-fat milk, but not after 6 p.m. (In fact, you should limit all liquids in the evening to avoid having to get up and out of bed and pee in the middle of the night.) The lactose in the milk is a sugar; this stimulates the release of insulin, which in turn helps milk’s calming proteins like tryptophan to enter your brain.
Keep your cool
The pregnant body runs hot, so if you want to avoid waking up in a sweat, open the bedroom window, run a fan or ratchet up the air conditioner.
Calm cramps and kicks
Many pregnant women’s sleep is disrupted by leg cramps or restless leg syndrome, which occurs when your leg reflexively spasms in a kicking motion. Applying a heating pad to the area can help, as can getting 800 micrograms of folate or folic acid a day; you can get your daily dose with a supplement or foods, such as fortified cereals and grains, spinach and lentils.
Consider safe meds
Quieting pain so that you can get the sleep you need is better for your mind and body than “toughing it out” in order to avoid taking medicine when expecting. Tylenol is safe to take if pain is keeping you awake. Benadryl, an antihistamine that makes many people sleepy, is also considered safe during pregnancy. You can also ask your doctor about taking the over-the-counter medication Unisom, which has been shown to help promote sleep during pregnancy. Just don’t use it for more than one week.