May is National Pregnancy month. In honor of this, we have asked Miss Megan, Owner and Founder of Conscious Proactive Parenting and Mantra Sleep Solutions, to offer some sleep tips for pregnant and new moms. Here's what she had to say:
Sleep disturbances, pregnancy-related insomnia, and weird or vivid dreams are common during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters. In a National Sleep Foundation poll, 78% of women reported experiencing more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than when not pregnant. Hormonal changes, pain and discomfort, and anxiety are three key factors that contribute to sleep challenges.
Progesterone levels rise during pregnancy, which can cause sleepiness during the day and wakefulness at night. Fluctuating estrogen levels also create physiological changes. Nausea, heartburn, lower back pain, needing to pee a lot, and general discomfort can leave the body feeling out of sorts. Feeling anxious about baby coming can make falling asleep and staying asleep trickier.
Sleep during pregnancy is as much about quality as it is about quantity. Below I have listed some effective and time-tested sleep aids. Enjoy, and sweet dreams!
1. Prepare Your Sleep Environment:
- Get room-darkening blinds.
- Cotton or bamboo sheets can keep you cooler.
- A sound machine with waves or white noise (such as: Homedics Sound Spa Relaxation Machine with 6 Nature Sounds) can help mask distracting background noises and lull you to sleep.
- A starscape (such as Laser Stars Indoor Light Show).
- Use an oil diffuser to produce your own aromatherapy experience. During both my pregnancies, I really enjoyed doTERRA Essential Oils.
- Everyone can benefit from a Himalayan salt lamp, which releases negative ions into the air, creating an effect similar to an ionizer and purifying the surrounding air.
2. Prepare Yourself:
- A hot bath, Epsom salts, and a hot shower can always relax the body after a long day of bearing the weight of being pregnant.
- Massages or acupuncture by licensed professionals can be used to target especially problematic areas and clear the body of trapped or displaced energy.
- The benefits of sleeping naked, or at least using loose-fitting cotton and pajamas are endless.
- Earplugs or a sleep mask may help.
- As your pregnancy progresses, sleep on your side, use a pillow between your knees, or cuddle a body pillow. Elevating your feet during the day can help as well.
- If you can’t do all the fancy stuff, sometimes just a heating pad can do the trick! Heating pads may help ease soreness and reduce inflammation in some individuals. Just make sure not more than 15-20 minutes at a time, and keep it on a lower setting (102 or lower), and not directly on your baby bump (as it can over heat your baby). Instead, use it on a localized area, like your lower back, knee, or shoulder—one area at a time. Make sure to use ONLY when awake. Better yet, just use to warm your bed!
- I also personally put an electric water kettle by my bed (Hamilton Beach 1 L Stainless Steel Electric Kettle) and had tea (chamomile) ready in case I would wake in the night. I would also have my journal and pens to jot down thoughts, dreams, and ideas to clear my mind—which helped me ease back into sleep.
You can also:
- Take short naps during the day, but not too close to bedtime, as this can disrupt your sleep schedule.
- Use a food log to watch what you're eating, in case what you eat is upsetting your body.
- Deep breathing during pregnancy can maximize your body’s energy levels, help you and your baby to get better circulation and oxygen to grow properly, relieve anxiety and stress, and prepare you for labor.
- You can also use exercise followed by a hot shower or bath, plus essential oils to stretch and calm down tight and overextended muscles.
- Watching what you eat once you have your baby is even more important than when pregnant, as it effects breast milk supply, your baby’s sleep, and therefore your sleep as well. There is conflicting research on what to avoid, but across the board, most say to avoid: caffeine, too much alcohol (unless you are going to pump and dump), fish high in mercury, sage (it can decrease your milk supply), extremely spicy foods, “gassy” veggies, and citrus.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps.
- Take a walk for fresh air, sunlight, and vitamin D. Both you and your baby will sleep better afterwards.
- Give your baby the gift of sleep on a Newton Wovenaire Crib Mattress! Made in the USA, this mattress is of the highest quality food-grade polymer, and created in such a way that it is 90% air—which makes it completely washable, hypoallergenic, and breathable, thus safer for your baby! With a Newton Mattress, your child is safe from suffocation, overheating, and bacteria and fungi.
- Most importantly, get support for yourself and your little bundle of joy! Coordinate with friends, family or a sitter to get breaks or to be able to sleep in. Better yet, seek out a professional Sleep Coach, such as Miss Megan (myself)! Proactive sleep teaching can set your baby up with healthy sleep habits from the start! With my support, you’ll be building a foundation that doesn’t need to be rebuilt! Mantra Sleep Solutions will take your child on their personalized "Sleep Journey," creating peaceful nights of tranquil sleep for all! Call today for your free consultation!
Miss Megan is the owner and founder of Conscious Proactive Parenting and Mantra Sleep Solutions. She is an innovator and an expert in her field. Her unique and creative methods of focusing on positive discipline and sleep training have serviced families within the greater New York City area and worldwide for years. In fact, Miss Megan has been a governess for over 15 years and has extensive experience working with children in a wide range of settings. Miss Megan is also a Montessori-trained directress, a Board-Certified holistic health coach, and a successful life coach.
Most notably, Miss Megan’s greatest source of knowledge and expertise comes from being a working mother. Miss Megan is the proud mother of two (a boy born 8/9/13, and a girl born 3/8/15). From direct experience, Miss Megan was able to utilize and integrate her strategies and methods to help improve her son’s sleeping, eating, and behavioral patterns and now her daughter's as well. One of Miss Megan’s greatest campaigns is knowing and teaching parents about the distinct difference between a governess and a nanny. Miss Megan has used her expansive knowledge to dispose of various myths and reveal the truth to New York metropolitan families, thus enabling them to attain a higher quality of care for their children. This is one small testimony to the revolutionary change that “The Miss Megan Effect” can bring to any home, forever revitalizing and revamping parenting and childcare. Check out her website at TheMissMeganEffect.com. See one of her recent publications here: https://achildgrows.com/blog/2015/11/nycs-maria-von-trapp-the-miss-megan-effect/.