Sleeping for two: Sleep changes during pregnancy

By Don Dinnematin of The Don Father Blog

It goes without saying, when you’re pregnant, sleep is essential for your health and the health of your baby, but it is often easier said than done.

Being pregnant can be a tiring experience for a woman’s body. Both the physical discomforts of pregnancy as well as the emotional stress of this major life change can cause sleep problems and keep a mother-to-be awake at night.

As a husband I have experienced this first hand with my Wife in both our pregnancies, but with that comes some advice to help create a good night’s sleep and ultimately a pleasant pregnancy experience, because as we all know, a lack of sleep is quite a disastrous thing.

Nearly 28 percent of expecting moms get less than seven hours of sleep per day, according to data from The nuMoM2b Pregnancy and Sleep Duration and Continuity Study. This is less than the National Sleep Foundation’s recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per day for optimal health during pregnancy.

Get a better night’s sleep

Here are some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep, both during pregnancy and once baby has arrived:

Get plenty of exercise

Keeping active during the day may help you sleep at night, and exercise can also help with symptoms that can affect your rest, such as leg cramps. Walking, swimming and yoga are all great choices during pregnancy. We often go for a walk around the block in the late afternoon. Just try to avoid any strenuous exercise for a few hours before bed, as it could make you feel more awake.

Have a soothing nightly ritual:

This is simple, and everyone should probably be doing something along these lines. Treat yourself to a relaxing routine before you settle down for the night, such as reading, taking a bath, or having a warm drink. Aim to start winding down about an hour before you intend on sleeping.

Cut back on drinking too much in the evenings:

During the first trimester, the hormones leading to the bladder get sluggish, which increases a woman’s urine production. This can cause her to wake up and need to go to the bathroom more frequently at night. Cutting back on excessive drinking in the evenings can help eliminate those annoying night-time trips to the loo, which may also prevent you from falling asleep straight away again.

Minimize Your Exposure To Blue Light At Night

The light emitted by electronics with screens can drastically affect your body’s ability to fall asleep at night. It’s so disruptive because blue-wavelength light boosts attention, reaction time, and mood. The blue light is basically fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

To minimize the influence that blue light has on your body at night, turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed. This gives your body time to relax and slow down so you are better prepared to fall asleep.

Pregnancy Pillows

 A must for helping your pregnant wife get, and stay comfortable during the night.

Choose The Right Mattress

This is without a doubt, one of the most important parts of getting that good nights sleep you so badly long for. And this is essential for both Mom & Dad!

The mattress you choose can have a major influence on the quality of your sleep. A mattress that’s too firm means you’ll feel pressure points at your hips and shoulders. A mattress that’s too soft doesn’t provide enough support for your neck and back. Get a new mattress if your current one isn’t working for you. Milly and I recently bought a new bed and it has completely changed our lives, and this is not an exaggeration.

Be sure to try out the mattress before you buy it so you find the one that is right for you.

Why parents are – AND ALWAYS WILL BE – tired

Say farewell to sleeping through the night –
‘Tis true. Hungry newborns; scared toddlers, ‘I-wet-my-bed’ pre-schoolers and sneaky teenagers ensure that their parents remain sleep-deprived and tired for decades.
And hello to the sniffles-
Yes, parents have a greater chance of getting sick. Blame crèche, blame developing immune systems, blame sleep deprivation, blame those dirty, little hands, blame far too much nose-picking and bum scratching… but you will still be sick A LOT. And no, you will not get a chance to rest. Soldier on sick parent and care for your sick children.
Say goodbye to switching off-
Parenting is about protecting your children- a mammoth task even in a child-proofed home. Parents are required to be hyper-vigilant and scan the child and environment for potential dangers ALL THE TIME. A lapse in attention could see that sweet, mini-marshmallow become lodged in a nasal passage and a trip to ER three days later. There is no quick cup of tea or care-free walk down the lane. Being attentive to present danger is an exhausting job.
And hello to worrying-
Being aware of present real dangers is not enough… parents must plan for possible (and imaginary) dangers too. Packing for a short walk to the park means D-day prepping- mobile phone, mace spray, wetwipes, plasters, change of clothes, snack, drink, much-loved-toy… Once out the door, parents must worry about strange people, strange dogs, bullying, kidnapping and cancerous sunburn. Even parents who are at work are worrying about the day-to-day stuff, like who is fetching, dropping, making supper as well as the bigger stuff, like have we saved enough, sent them to the right school, raised a good human?
Say goodbye to rest-
Resting is not always a viable option when parenting. Plans to go to bed early, take a nap or have a relaxing weekend away are great, but do not always work out that way. Baby-sitters let you down, kids wake up earlier than expected, you get sick, you get a ‘crying-kids’ phone call and poof! Resting time is over.
And hello to chores-
Parenting is chore-laden. When they are little, there is an exponential increase in wiping, picking up, feeding, dishwashing, packing, unpacking, dressing and undressing. Fast forward a few years and delegating these chores to older children does little to alleviate parental fatigue. Supervising tweens and teens to ensure they do-their-bit and become functioning members of society probably takes more energy than doing it yourself.

So be kind to parents, they really are more tired than you would imagine they should be.

Is your child sleeping on a good quality mattress?

A good quality mattress means good quality sleep, and it could mean all the difference between a well-rested child and possible developmental problems associated with being tired and grumpy. Visit the Sealy website to view our selection of beds and mattresses – it will be a good investment and it will give you peace of mind: www.sealy.co.za