10 Hacks for Better SleepWhenever possible, make some time to honor your sleep space as a sanctuary. If you’re busy with kids all day, you deserve a space that makes you feel pampered.via @ParentingJunkieTweet This
When you’re pregnant, it can be so hard to get enough sleep. Between the hormones and feeling so uncomfortable, it can be very hard to get into deep sleep. And having other children in the mix can make it even more challenging.
While there certainly are some things outside of our control, there are quite a few things that are within our control. In that light, I’d like to offer 10 suggestions to help you prioritize sleep so you can get more rest.
- Keep your bedroom clean and tidy [01:39]
The first tip is to keep your bedroom minimalistic and very neat and tidy. Being in a room with piles of laundry and clutter is often a reminder of everything we need to do. This can put us in a stress state, spiking cortisol and adrenaline — the opposite of the sleep hormones that we want to induce. So try making your bed in the morning, putting piles of clothes away, and keeping the surfaces and wardrobes clean. You may feel that you have no time to organize all of that. But whenever possible, make some time to honor your sleep space as a sanctuary. If you’re busy with kids all day, you deserve a space that makes you feel pampered.
- Use calming fragrances [03:11]
Another way to give your room that spa atmosphere is to diffuse fragrances. There are calming fragrances such as lavender or light incense that can help you unwind and relax, while triggering sleep hormones and pleasures sensations as you enter the room. That’s going to help prepare your body to fall asleep.
- Use comfy PJs and sheets [03:37]
The next item is to look at what’s touching your body while you sleep. Perhaps consider buying some new pyjamas that feel really good against your skin and maybe the same for your sheets and linens. Some people are very sensitive to the fabrics that are touching their skin and enjoy sleeping in satin or silk. Make sure there’s nothing restrictive such as elastic bands that are hurting you. You may want to remove your jewelry or hair elastic, or put in a loose scrunchie that is gently pulling back your hair.
- Keep your room cool [04:58]
A lot of sleep research has shown that people sleep deeper and longer when they’re in a cooler environment. Personally, I love a cold room with windows open and a warm, cozy blanket. When I’m pregnant, I’m especially hot and really need the fresh air. Even if you’re not like me, you may want to consider trying to sleep in a slightly colder room temperature — around 68 to 69 degrees is ideal. Another problem with overheating yourself is that it dehydrates you and then you’re more thirsty, and may need to get up more in the night to pee. Keeping the room cool can help for all these reasons.
- Use comfy pillows [06:11]
Next, consider what pillows you need in your bed. A lot of people sleep with a pregnancy pillow. You can get a Boppy pillow or a U-shaped pillow or a bolster to put under your knees. Consider the various positions you could try out in order to sleep more comfortably. Don’t resign yourself to the fact that you’re pregnant so it’s just uncomfortable now and there’s nothing you can do about it. Think of ways you can support yourself better during sleep, even with things that you already have such as extra cushions from your couch.
- Reduce light exposure [06:51]
Let’s talk about your eyes and visuals. First of all, about an hour before you go to sleep, it’s best to stop looking at screens. (Easier said than done — I know!) Instead, this would be a great time to use a soft Himalayan salt lamp, for example, or just low, warm lights, or even candle light. That bright light emitted from phones and computer screens tells your body it’s time to wake up. Scrolling social media sparks all sorts of dopamine and adrenaline hits, which excites you and keeps you scrolling longer. The only exception I would make for this rule is if you are listening to affirmations, meditations, or calming music and you need your phone for that. But if you could get that from another source and take your phone and TV out of the room, that would be ideal. Your bedroom is where you go to unwind. You could even create a simple bedtime routine such as wash your face, brush your teeth, have a shower or bath, do some stretching, a couple minutes of journaling and then listen to a meditation as you fall asleep rather than watching a show or looking at your phone.
- Talk to your health care provider about sleep supplements [10:04]
If you need help with sleep, then you may want to consider taking some sleep herbs or drinking sleepy teas in the evening, or perhaps even melatonin supplements if that’s something that your healthcare provider recommends. Especially leading up to birth, this is a really crucial time to sleep as much as you can, so you may want to test some of these and see what works for you. Restrict your caffeine intake past 2:00 PM because it can stay in your body and disrupt your melatonin at night. If you’re having any trouble sleeping whatsoever, don’t have much caffeine at all and certainly not later in the day.
- Drink more water in the morning and less in the evening [11:25]
When you’re pregnant, you often need to pee super often or at least you have the sensation that you need to. If possible, try to drink the bulk of your liquids in the morning and throughout the middle of the day. And then limit it a little bit more as you get into sleepy time. Getting up once or twice in the night is so much better than five or six times. So drink as much as you can in the morning and then keep the room cool so you don’t get too thirsty at night.
- Try out some gadgets and gizmos [12:05]
Finally, there may be gadgets or accessories that help you sleep. I was gifted this beautiful eye mask made of gems, and it is so relaxing and cooling. It signals to me that this is the time to close my eyes. So maybe you need an eye mask, cucumbers or teabags on your eyes, or maybe you need ear plugs. Consider the sound in your home and ways to muffle sounds that carry throughout the house. Perhaps you like white noise or could benefit from listening to your meditations through noise-canceling headphones.
- Go to bed earlier [13:36]
The last point is to get to bed early. A lot of research has shown that the best sleep we get is between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM. This means that we really want to be sleeping by 10:00 PM. That might sound laughable to you. I get it. This reminds me of the Gandhi quote that if you don’t have time to meditate for an hour, then that probably means you need to meditate for two hours that day. Likewise, if you can’t get to bed on time because you’re so busy then maybe you need that early sleep even more to give you the energy to do all your superwoman tasks during the day and feel phenomenal as a mom.
That’s it for now! I wish you a smooth, easy, healthy, beautiful, empowering birth experience and postpartum experience — and restful sleep (as much as possible!) so you can love parenting and parent from love.
If you enjoyed this video and it inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear about your biggest takeaway. Tag me on Instagram @parentingjunkie or leave a comment below!