Why sleeping well is key to mums and babies

Sleeping well is a challenge both during pregnancy as well as for new mums. However, to stay healthy a good night sleep is essential. It’s important to prioritise sleep, it’s more important to your baby that you are sleeping as well as possible then that the house is spotlessly clean. Find out more about the sleep challenges and sleep solutions during pregnancy, for new mums and for babies.

Best ways to sleep while pregnant

Different studies show that from 66% up to 94% of pregnant women report some kind of sleep problems during their pregnancy. Hormonal changes can lead to similar effects to that of hot flashes and the elevated heart rate can lead to a restless sleep.

As the pregnancy advances and baby bump grows it can be increasingly difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position and back aches and leg cramps can make it difficult fall asleep. Increased need to visit the bathroom also often lead to a restless sleep.

Though sleeping can be tricky during pregnancy there are a number of actions you can take to sleep better:

  • Try sleeping on the left side, this keeps the uterus of our liver. You can also experiment with a pillow between your legs or under your stomach and try supporting your lower back with a small pillow
  • Combat overheating and night sweats by keeping the bed room temperature low and by wearing temperature regulating pjs for pregnancy.
  • Don’t let nausea keep you from falling asleep, eat a light dinner and a few crackers before going to bed.
  • If you leg cramps wake you up, try pressing your feet hard against the wall or try standing on one leg. It can also help to stretch your calf muscles before going to bed.
  • If you find that stress or anxiety is keeping you awake you can try to meet it head-on by joining a group for pregnant women or a childbirth class.

Sleeping as a new mother

After giving birth, the baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule places more stress upon the mother. This can create more challenges with sleep times. Studies suggest that women with significant sleep issues, such as insomnia or poor sleep quality, are more likely to report depression symptoms or even develop postpartum depression. 

For mothers breast-feeding can make sleeping well even more difficult, in part because you need to wake up more frequently during the night but also because of the temperature changes caused by hormonal changes.

Not getting enough sleep is a common problems for new parents caring for their newborn. Following the below advice could help to get enough sleep at this precious phase of life:

  • Take a nap when your baby naps.
  • Ask for help around the house and try to delegate household chores.
  • Ask your partner for help with nighttime feedings.
  • Have a daily routine for you and your baby.
  • Use the right sleepwear that makes it easy to breast feed and that helps to regulate temperature changes and post partum night sweats.

Sleep like a baby

Even though the saying goes ‘sleep like a baby’ actually a third of babies experience a disturbed sleep pattern. This is due to many reasons including the challenge babies have to regulate their own body temperature leading to the baby becoming too hot or too cold.

To help your baby sleep better there are a few easy steps you can follow:

  1. Create a baby sleep routine:help set your baby up for a good night sleep with a calming sleep routine. This can include diming the lights, taking a warm bath and engaging in some relaxing activities before going to bed.
  2. Keep the best temperature for sleep: make sure that the room temperature is right, 20-22 °C (68° to 72°F), and that your baby is wearing breathable baby sleepwear that helps your child keep the ideal sleeping temperature. If the baby becomes too hot or too cold they risk waking up or experience a lower quality sleep. Babies need a lot of time in the deep sleep phases and fluctuating temperatures impact in particular these phases negatively. Too hot temperatures can also lead to toddler night sweats which again lower the sleep quality.

Sleeping better is living better so don’t forget to put sleep on top of your list of priority, both for your baby as well as for yourself.