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Tips for a good nights sleep

Sleeping whilst pregnant: Challenges & solutions

During pregnancy, perhaps some of you might find yourself pondering about your little one's future so much so that your quality of sleep deteriorates. If this happens, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible because a good night's sleep is very important for expectant mothers. Doctors recommend that pregnant women go to bed before 10 p.m. and have 8 - 9 hours of sleep every night, maintaining a regular sleep-wake routine. Optimum quality of sleep is most essential between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m..

"I know that good quality of sleep is important for both myself and my baby, but during late pregnancy, I find it very difficult to get a good night's sleep," such is the common complaint of many expectant mothers. As your baby grows, many factors kick in to affect your sleep. It becomes difficult to change your sleeping position by twisting and turning, and stomach sleepers cannot sleep facing downwards anymore. You would also often experience backaches and leg cramps, and the little one in the womb getting more and more active everyday does not help either. So what can you do to get some quality sleep?

Appropriate sleeping posture
Other than hours of sleep, your sleeping posture actually plays an important role in determining your quality of sleep. For example, in the back-sleeping position, the expanded uterus exerts pressure on one of the major blood vessels in your abdomen, affecting blood supply for your baby's growth. This position also oppresses the large vein that carries blood out of the lower half of your body, which means less blood travels back to the heart. As a result, your lower limbs may experience varicose veins and oedema. The best recommended alternative is sleeping on your left side. This is because the uterus rotates towards the right during pregnancy, so sleeping on your left side reduces the pressure on the right urinary tube and kidney, lowering the risk of infections. Since it is difficult to maintain a single sleeping posture throughout the night, switching between either sides of your body should do the trick.

Comfy beddings
Just as any other activity, suitable 'tools' will help to make a huge difference to your quality of sleep. Expectant mothers should avoid mattresses that are too soft. It is recommended that you sleep on brown trampoline beds or hard beds that are cushioned with a 9 mm-thick cotton pad, with pillows that have the right softness and thickness. Down bedding products may be more comfortable as they are lighter than traditional beddings. Besides, there are many bedding products on the market designed specifically for pregnant women. Consult your doctor for a recommendation of products.

Comfortable indoor conditions
The most suitable temperature range for expectant mothers is 17 - 23°C. Extreme temperatures will affect your higher nervous activities and the functioning of your autonomic nervous system. This slows down your coordination and reaction and you may also fall sick more easily. As for humidity, the suitable range is around 40 - 60%. If the weather does get too wet or dry, indoor potted plants can actually help regulate humidity.

An indoor air purifier can be a handy addition to your home appliances, as it helps to purify and disinfect the air regularly. For example, a small 30 watt UV-Ozone steriliser lamp can kill 90% of the bacteria in the air in approximately an hour's time. Alternatively, fumigation of the room with peracetic acid or vinegar can also disinfect the indoor air.

Before bed time


  1. A frequent urge to urinate means more trips to the toilet, day or night. So try not to drink too much water or soup before bed.

  2. Avoid food and drinks with high sugar (e.g. honey, fruit juice), caffeine (e.g. coffee, colas, tea, and chocolates), salt, and alcohol content. Caffeine and alcohol can affect your sleep.

  3. Milk is nutritious and good for sleep but remember to drink it 2 hours before bed time.

  4. Take a small portion of healthy snack before bed to help prevent headaches in the next morning.

  5. Regular exercise can relieve certain insomniac symptoms and improve deep stages of sleep but again remember to exercise 3 hours before bed time.

  6. A warm bath helps to expand your blood vessels, lowering the blood supply to your brain and internal organs, which has a sleep-inducing effect.


The relationship between how well you eat and how well you sleep

  1.  Towards the end of pregnancy, expectant mothers often experience leg cramps, affecting their quality of sleep. Calcium, magnesium and B vitamins supplements should be taken to help ease these problems. As an example, drinking warm milk before bed helps to soothe cramps.

  2. Make sure you take lots of vegetables and fruits that are high in fibre and vitamin C. Cut down on animal proteins and other foods like white bread made of refined starch, white rice, and sweets, in order to avoid insomnia.

  3. Kelps and seaweed can help to ease tension and headaches.

  4. Thin blood can easily lead to insomnia, so take foods with high iron content such as meats, green vegetables, and shellfish to replenish your iron level.

  5.  Other than taking small, multiple meals, you can also supplement with mothers' milk powder between meals when necessary.


Caring Tips
Many different factors can contribute to your experiencing continuous insomnia during pregnancy. For instance, if it is psychological, try to let go of unnecessary worries and maintain a positive mood by listening to soothing music, watching pleasurable films, or practicing relaxation techniques. You could also consult psychologists and undergo psychotherapy to resolve any issues. On the other hand, if it is physical, seek immediate medical attention without delays.