Have you ever experience a sleepless night when you were pregnant? I don’t know that I’ve ever met a pregnant Mama who sleeps well throughout her entire pregnancy. There are so many different reasons for compromised sleep; feeling anxious for labour and postpartum, aches and pains, having to get up to pee, thinking of the million things you want to get done before baby comes, overall worry (or excitement) about what kind of baby you are going to have, what kind of mom you will be, etc etc, the list goes on… Sound Familiar?
Just like baby sleep experts suggest for babies, I like to follow the advice as well for Mama’s; Create a pre-sleep ritual and routine, and stick to it every night.
1. Give yourself a Bedtime…and stick to it
Kids have bedtimes, why shouldn’t adults? It is sometimes hard to limit what we are doing in the evening (be it work, netflix, or socializing), but if you have a firm bedtime, you will stick to it. Make it a priority, and start winding down with these tips below about 30-60 minutes before your set bedtime.
2. Setting Your Circadian Rhythm
Getting your body used to the rhythm of the rising and setting sun is increasingly challenging in our society with screens around us all the time and artificial lighting. An hour before you are set to go to bed, dim or turn off lights, we like burning candles in the winter before bed (candlelight actually has a calming effect on us – opposite of the light of a screen). When you are staring at a screen, your brain is stimulated and takes it as a cue to release cortisol. And increased levels of cortisol is not our friend right before bed. Sorry to say netflix binge…
3. Limiting Caffeine During the Day
Everyone metabolized caffeine differently, so I can’t give black and white ‘rules’ on this one. But caffeine is obviously a major stimulant, which can feel awesome, but do you ever get that crash in the afternoon? Or get that gittery, anxious feeling? Or do you just randomly wake up in the middle of the night and are unable to get back to sleep? Well, chances are caffeine is contributing to these issues. So if you love you coffee, you need your coffee, by all means – drink your coffee. BUT, limit yourself to one a day and get it in in the morning. Personally, I gave myself the cap of noon, if I drank any in the afternoon, my sleep that night would surely suffer. If you still want the ritual and taste of drinking coffee, check out this decaf that is my fave (after trying about 10 different brands). With decaf, look for “Swiss Water Processed” to make sure you aren’t getting the added chemicals that are used to strip coffee of its caffeine. And beware of consuming in the evening, there is still about 10% the amount of caffeine in decaf (versus regular coffee).
4. Take a Magnesium Supplement
Magnesium (bizglycinate) is a very calming supplement to take before bed, it relaxes the muscles in the body (including the brain!). Some brands I like are: Naka Original, Thorne, Genestra, Can Prev, just to name a few.
5. Taking a Warm Shower or Bath
A nice warm bath with a cup of epsom salts also provides you with magnesium (absorbed through your skin), sprinkle in a couple drops of lavender essential oil (if you enjoy the smell) to help you wind down. If you are short on time, and just want to get to bed, do the next step while you are in the bath.
6. Listen To Calming Music Or A Meditation
As soon as your get out of the bath, moisturize with some of this nourishing body butter, get into your PJs and set up in your bed or beside your bed. Feel free to do this while you’re in the bath or even when you are moving through your gentle yoga stretches if you are short on time. Personally, I liked to climb into bed and put on a hypnobirthing track with my headphones and I would fall asleep almost instantly. You can also try Expectful guided meditations for pregnancy. Or, use a free meditation from youtube that you like the sound of, or an app like headspace or calm.
7. Do A 5 Minute Gentle Yoga Flow
This quick and simple flow can help ease any aches and pains you may be experiencing, you don’t even need a yoga mat to do it, just do it right beside your bed so you can climb in when you’re done.
Now you’re ready for it. Lights out, hit the hay and dream sweetly dear Mama, for the nights of limited sleep are coming with baby. Indulge in the luxury of a whole nights sleep while you can <3
Do you have any tips you like to use that help you sleep? Share below in the comments!