November 25, 2023

Why sleep is good for pregnant women? 

Article fact-checked and approved by Dr. Didi Emokpare
Content provided in partnership with Radiant Health Magazine

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As the anticipation of childbirth grows, expectant mothers often experience various discomforts during the journey through pregnancy. Expectant mothers eagerly welcome any means to enhance their comfort during this transformative time. Among the myriad ways to alleviate these discomforts, securing a good night's sleep stands out as a crucial pillar of support for prospective moms.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) says that one of the ways for expectant mothers to help give their baby a better chance of a healthy and full-term birth is to practice good sleep hygiene.

4 Reasons Sleep Is Good for Pregnant Women

 

The benefits of sleep for the body are numerous. These are a few reasons why you need sleep, especially while pregnant.

 

  1. To improve your mental health: A good amount of sleep improves the ability of your mind to cope with stress. According to the Mental Health Foundation, "people who don't get enough sleep are three times more likely to be depressed".
  2. To reduce excessive weight gain: A good sleep reduces fatigue, thereby helping you to be active and carry out exercise. Lack of sleep can increase your body weight and put you at risk for obesity. A 2018 study suggests that "people who sleep less than seven hours a night are more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI) and develop obesity than those who sleep more".
  3. To reduce the risk of heart disease: A leading cause of heart disease is high blood pressure. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), "Getting adequate rest each night allows the body’s blood pressure to regulate itself", which improves the conditions of the heart.
  4. To improve your immune system: Pregnancy often lowers the immune system and makes you more susceptible to diseases. Deep sleep helps the body repair and strengthen the immune system.

Also, not getting enough sleep can have negative effects on pregnancy.


Effects of sleep deprivation on pregnant women

 

According to an article on Johns Hopkins Medicine, which suggests that women who don’t get enough sleep during pregnancy may have higher risks of developing pregnancy complications, including:

1. High blood pressure

2. Gestational diabetes

3. Longer labors and higher rates of cesarean sections, particularly among women who get fewer than six hours of sleep for 24 hours.

 

According to the  CDC, "complications from high blood pressure for the mother and infant can include preeclampsia, stroke, and pre-term delivery. These complications can, however, be prevented by following a set of medications.

 

Sleep, however, doesn't come as easily for pregnant women as it does for others; this is due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. According to an article published on Pubmed Central, "progesterone, while promoting daytime sleepiness, also causes nocturnal sleep fragmentation. Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for uterine contractions, peaks at night and may cause sleep fragmentation in late pregnancy". These two hormones, in conjunction with restless leg syndrome and snoring, can deprive you of sleep.

Ways to improve sleeping during pregnancy

 

Achieving uninterrupted sleep when pregnant is a gradual process. The following are a few tips to help improve sleep during pregnancy.

  1. Choose a good sleeping position: According to an article by the Sleep Foundation, "Sleeping on the left side with the legs slightly curled is considered the best sleeping position in pregnancy". This is because this position helps blood flow to the heart and uterus, which in turn improves the delivery of oxygen to the fetus.
  2. Make your bed comfy: This is achieved by tucking pillows underneath yourself until a desired comfortable position is met. Some women place a couple of pillows on their backs to help them relax more
  3. Limit Caffeine and Caffeine Products: Products like coffee, green tea, cola nut, and cola soft drinks should be limited during pregnancy as they naturally inhibit sleep.
  4. Avoid electronics. Your favorite show should end at least two hours before bedtime. Also, turn down or completely shut off bright lights before sleeping.
  5. Do stress-relieving activities: yoga, massage, and meditation can help relieve your stress and provide a basis for better sleep.

In conclusion, having that wonderful night should be your goal, as it not only improves your critical thinking but also provides a basis for growth. So yawn away and get that sleep; your mind and body deserve it.

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