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How to Get Better Sleep as a New Mom

The secrets to sleeping well with your growing baby bump

Thanks to your changing body and raging hormones, your sleep patterns may feel out of whack in early pregnancy. You may feel sleepy during the day and have trouble getting comfortable or sleeping well at night. Don’t despair. You can take some easy steps to reclaim sound slumber during the first trimester.

Opt for Daytime Napping

During the first months of pregnancy, high levels of progesterone will put you in the mood to snooze during the day and disrupt your sleep at night. Your best bet is to sneak in a brief nap whenever you can to compensate for your less-than-sound slumber at night. Just try to avoid napping too late in the day—it could interfere with your nighttime sleep.

Find Ways to Get Comfy

Your swollen, tender breasts can make it hard to find a comfortable sleep position, especially if you usually sleep on your belly. This is a good time to break the habit and get used to sleeping on your left side, which promotes the flow of blood and nutrients to your baby and uterus. Prop your head and shoulders up on two pillows or place one between your knees to help support your lower back and make sleeping on your side easier.

Cut Back on Fluids in the Evening

Your expanding uterus puts extra pressure on your bladder and you may find yourself shuffling off to the bathroom in the wee hours of the night. To reduce the frequency of these visits, drink plenty of liquids during the early and middle parts of the day but fewer in the evening, and make it a habit to visit the bathroom before climbing into bed.

Avert Hunger

To prevent cravings and hunger pangs from setting in during the night, have a light snack before slipping between the sheets. Good choices include: Warm milk and whole-grain crackers, or half a banana and a handful of almonds. If you’re bothered by nausea when you sleep, then it’s usually best to either avoid eating or nibble on crackers before bedtime.

Cool Yourself Off

Since you’re basically an incubator for your baby, your body temperature is running high, and you could get hot and sweaty during the night. To stay cool, dress in light sleepwear and turn down the thermostat or crack open a window. Find a temperature that’s conducive for your sleep, rather than catering to your partner’s comfort. An ideal bedroom temperature for most adult women is 60 to 67 degrees, so veer toward the low end of that range. Placing a fan near “your” side of the bed may also keep you cool, and the soothing noise can help you drift off to dreamland, as well as help muffle any noises of you moving around in the middle of the night that could disturb your partner.

If you do end up sleeping less soundly than usual during the first trimester, don’t worry that it will harm your baby. It won’t. But do listen to your body and take a nap or at least a rest whenever you feel tired.

As you continue through your pregnancy, be sure to read up on how to sleep better during your second and third trimesters.