Sleep and sleep- related problems during pregnancy and establishing your baby's sleep routine

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Snoring during pregnancy

Even if you've never snored before, snoring is fairly common during pregnancy, affecting about 1 in 3 pregnant women. It’s often a major sleep disruptor for you and anyone in your bedroom, which probably means that you and your partner are all ears about what can be done about these nocturnal noises. When does snoring generally start during pregnancy? Snoring often starts when pregnancy hormones begin causing nasal congestion, in the second trimester. What causes snoring during pregnancy? The most likely culprits of snoring are surging pregnancy hormones, which cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, leading to nasal congestion that increases when you lie down. Excessive weight gain is also to blame, as it results in extra tissue around your head and neck that aggravates snoring. What can I do about snoring when I'm pregnant? For most women, snoring during pregnancy is more of an annoyance than anything else. That said, don't hesitate to bring it up with your doctor if it's keeping you from a good night's sleep. In some cases, snoring can be a sign of gestational diabetes, so make sure to get your glucose screening test at week 24 to 28 (or earlier if your practitioner suggests). Snoring can also be tied to sleep apnea, a disorder that can deprive you and potentially your baby of oxygen (particularly in the third trimester and in women who are overweight). Because sleep apnea can put you at greater risk of complications such as preeclampsia, it’s especially important to let your doctor know if you're snoring way more than usual. Can I prevent snoring during pregnancy? The following steps can help prevent snoring during pregnancy: Stick on a nasal strip at bedtime (they're completely drug-free) Try using a warm-mist humidifier in your bedroom at night Try sleeping on your side (your left is best for circulation) Plump up your pillows and snooze with your head slightly elevated Keep an eye on your calorie intake during pregnancy to make sure extra weight doesn't contribute to snoring Stay away from alcohol and tobacco, which can inhibit sleep (you should be avoiding them anyway when you’re pregnant content source

Sleeping positions during pregnancy

Sleeping at this point might be an uncomfortable experience. Given the size of your belly! Even the discomfort you go through can contribute to ruining a good night’s sleep. Or nap time. With that in mind, it’s a relief to find out the best sleeping position to encourage labor. And feel comfortable at the same time. So you can sleep better. Did you know that getting adequate sleep is important right before labor kicks in? Sleeping promotes the development of melatonin in the body. This particular component combines with oxytocin. The result of which comes in the form of labor. All the more reason to get enough sleep, right! Plus, once the baby is born, your sleep will take the backseat. So you might as well make the most of this wonderful opportunity right now. 1. Avoid Sleeping On Your Stomach During pregnancy, sleeping on the stomach is definitely not an option. Am I right? This particular position tends to exert unwanted pressure on your abdominal region. Even the blood vessels responsible for carrying blood from your feet and legs to the heart are subjected to the extra pressure. As a result of which it can slow down blood circulation. To both your own body and the baby! 2. Avoid Sleeping On Your Back If sleeping on the stomach feels uncomfortable, then what’s the next option? Sleeping on your back, correct? But, unfortunately, that’s not a good idea either. You won’t take too long to realize how difficult it is to breathe when lying on the back during pregnancy. The belly tends to push down on the intestines when you sleep in such a position. So expect tummy troubles.In fact, sleeping on your back means welcoming severe morning sickness and nausea as well. This position too affects blood supply to the baby. 3. Sleep On Your Left Side Since you’ve exhausted the first two sleeping positions, it’s time to try another one. Side sleeping during pregnancy is highly recommended. Especially on the left! It’s incredibly comfortable as the abdomen increases in size. But why is the left side better than the right? Sleeping on your left offers tons of advantages, even when not pregnant. The most important health benefit is an improvement in blood circulation. And when pregnant, this particular side sleeping position promotes better flow of nutrients to your fetus. When lying on the left, you’re preventing your large belly from exerting pressure on the liver. The opposite of which happens when you sleep on your right side. So keep in mind that right is not right, left is right. Especially during pregnancy! 4. Use Cushions and Pillows When side sleeping, you can wedge pillows between the legs and behind the back. What this does is add more support to the position. So don’t hesitate to use cushions and pillows to feel more comfortable while sleeping. There are pregnancy pillows as well. If you think you might be interested in such a product, you can find it here. Or a maternity store. Propping a pillow between the knees or under the body offers more spine and belly support. On top of that, it keeps your body from rolling on to your back and stomach. Sleeping Positions to Induce Labor: Important Tips What you see below are a few tips that bring more comfort into action. This ensures better sleep and protects your baby when you’re fast asleep. Getting a good night’s rest is one of the most natural methods of inducing labor. So here are some tips that might help! Consume light meals at dinner. Don’t indulge in spicy foods as they lead to heartburn, which aggravates at night. Feel free to perform light breathing exercises before bedtime. It helps in relaxing the body by supplying enough oxygen. Make sure that you’re wearing comfortable clothes made of breathable materials. Such as cotton. Also, avoid tight nightwear. If lying down on your bed doesn’t feel comfortable, try the sofa or a comfortable chair. Please don’t panic when and if you roll on to your back or front while sleeping. Allow your body to move comfortably during the process. Instead of getting up frequently to sleep on the left side! Your body demands as much sleep as it can get in order to induce labor naturally. So appreciate the rest before your newborn destroys every last shred of a good night’s sleep. Midnight feedings and sleep deprivation are a part of the post-pregnancy journey.  content source

Insomnia during pregnancy: Symptoms and solutions

Insomnia, or the inability to fall or stay sleep, can hit especially hard in the third trimester of pregnancy, when it’s estimated to effect more than 75 percent of expectant moms. It's normal to have trouble sleeping at any point during pregnancy, but many moms experience insomnia more frequently starting in the second to third trimesters, as other pregnancy symptoms increase and a burgeoning baby belly makes it harder than ever to get comfortable in bed. A complicated combination of many different factors can all cause difficulty sleeping, including: Hormonal changes Frequent trips to the bathroom Pregnancy heartburn Leg cramps A hopped-up metabolism that keeps the heat on even when it's off Difficulty getting comfortable with your growing baby bump What You Can I Do About Insomnia During Pregnancy? Get up. If you’re not asleep after 20 to 30 minutes of trying, conquer a small task that needs to be done Don't count the hours. Though most people do best on about eight hours of sleep, some do fine on less and some need more. So instead of aiming for a particular number, ask yourself how you're feeling on the hours you're sleeping during pregnancy How to prevent insomnia during pregnancy? Clear the emotional decks. If you have persistent worries that are keeping you up at night, talk about them with a friend or your partner and try to sort them out during daylight hours. You can also try meditation or writing your thoughts on paper. Avoid caffeine and chocolate. Especially in the late afternoon or evening, since they can keep you awake.  Be an early-bird diner. A full meal and tummy can keep you from falling and staying asleep, so try to eat dinner earlier in the evening. Take your time. Don't wolf your food down at your evening meal, and keep the pace leisurely so that heartburn doesn't keep you tossing and turning. Top it off. A light snack before you turn in will tide you over until breakfast, but choose a healthy carb-protein pair to keep your blood sugar stable, such as a whole grain muffin and a glass of warm milk, or a cheese stick and a few dried apricots. Slow the flow. Fill your daily requirement of fluids during the early evening to cut down on bathroom runs after you've hit the hay. Work it out. Getting some daily pregnancy exercise can make you sleepier at night. Just avoid hitting the gym too close to bedtime, since a post-workout buzz can keep you awake. Make a bedtime routine. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Good options include light reading, listening to soothing music, serene yoga poses or relaxation exercises, a warm bath, prenatal massage and sex. Wean off the screen. Using your phone, tablet, e-reader, TV, laptop or other electronic device before bed can mess with your z's. Light from the screen alters sleepiness and alertness. It also suppresses levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your internal clock and plays a role in your sleep cycle. Experts say you should power off at least an hour before turning in. Get some air. Is your bedroom too cold? Is it a sauna? Check the temperature, and make sure you're using a mattress and pillows that provide solid support without feeling like bricks. Open a window to keep the room from getting stuffy — you're sure to heat up during the night. Get comfy. There is no such thing as too many pillows during pregnancy. Use them to prop you up, support you where you need it or just cozy up to. If you've passed the first trimester and just can't get cozy in bed on your side, try snoozing upright in a recliner, which will allow you to stay on your back without lying flat on it. Smell your way to sleep. A lavender-scented pillow or sachet tucked into your pillowcase can help relax you to bring on sleep faster.   Pregnancy Insomnia Solutions Some sleep aids are often considered safe for occasional use in pregnancy, including Unisom, Tylenol PM, Sominex, Nytol, Ambien and Lunesta. However you should never take any sleep aid or other medication during pregnancy (prescription, over the counter or herbal) unless it's been prescribed or okayed by your practitioner. Sometimes, doctors recommended taking a magnesium supplement to combat constipation or leg cramps. If that's the case for you, it makes sense to take it before bed, since magnesium has been touted for its natural muscle-relaxing powers and may help lull you to sleep.

Third trimester sleep: A distant memory

Most women, who have been through pregnancy, find it troublesome to sleep during some stage of their pregnancy term. A good night’s sleep gradually becomes a distant memory as the mother moves closer to the date of delivery. Here is a guide on what to expect in terms of sleep during the third trimester of pregnancy. Trouble being Comfortable As you move closer to the end of your pregnancy term, getting sleep becomes a hazy memory. The baby bump just gets bigger and by the third trimester it’s big enough to not let you lie on the bed comfortably. Try sleeping on your left side with pillow fit between your knees and behind your back. If this doesn’t help, settle in a comfortable chair. When you are due by four to six weeks, you will realise that the best sleep that you get is when you sit up. Pressure on the Bladder Do you remember having spent more time in the bathroom than outside during the first trimester? Well, that phase will be back by the time you are approaching or are already in your last trimester. This time, however, it is the baby that is putting pressure on your bladder. To cut the number of trips you make to the loo, you may reduce the number of fluids you take, especially in the late afternoon so you can have a peaceful sleep at night. Heartburn When you are in the third trimester of pregnancy, you are likely to experience heartburn, leg cramps, snoring, restless leg syndrome and the baby’s kicking and squirming at night. Several studies have shown that pregnant women in their last trimester experience only few periods of deep sleep and are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night than they did before. It is during the third trimester that a pregnant woman’s sleep pattern takes a nose dive. Tips Once you have crossed the 28th week, it is advisable that you sleep on either side. Avoid lying flat on your back when you are beyond 28 weeks or in labour as the pressure of the womb that is carrying the baby, the amniotic acid and placenta may add strain on blood veins and block blood circulation to your brain and heart.  This may also lead to a decline in the blood pressure and thereby cause you to be dizzy apart from causing other negative impact on the baby and its heart pulse. Content Source  

Are you sleep deprived? Here are some tips to manage work without enough sleep

You may find that you spend a lot of your working day just struggling to stay awake, never mind completing spreadsheets, or making small-talk with customers. This can seem particularly hard when you’ve just started back to work after maternity leave. It can take a while to get back into the swing of things so let your body catch up. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you cope with sleep deprivation: If you have a long commute to work and you feel drowsy while you're driving, open the window and get a blast of cold air. Try to pull over at a safe place and step out of the car. Stretch or have a cold drink or a coffee to give you a boost. Driving while you're sleepy reduces your reaction time and can make you more likely to have an accident. So take public transport if you can, or car-share. Be aware of when your energy levels are at their highest and lowest. Tackle your toughest tasks or meetings when you're most alert, which will probably be first thing in the morning. During your mid-afternoon sleepy period, work on more straightforward, routine tasks. If you start to feel sleepy, move away from your desk. Run an errand, stand up, stretch or go for a walk, even if it's just around the building. Before a meeting, try walking up and down the stairs so you go in as refreshed as possible. If you can, have a short lunchtime nap somewhere quiet, but don't forget to set your phone alarm! Try to eat a healthy diet at home and at work. Snack on energy-giving foods at your desk, such as a handful of nuts or a banana. Sugary snacks and drinks may give you an initial energy boost but will leave you feeling more lethargic in the long run. So you'll need to work on your willpower when the office biscuit tin beckons! Dilute one or two drops of invigorating essential oil in a teaspoon (5ml) of base oil. Dab this on your wrist and sniff when you need a boost. Peppermint, orange and neroli are good options. Pop a facial spritz in the fridge at work and spray it directly on to your face when you're flagging. Don't have caffeinated drinks after lunchtime, as these may keep you awake when it's time to sleep. Swap your evening cup of tea for a caffeine-free drink, or some warm milk. If none of these tips seem to be helping, you could ask your employer to consider flexible working.

Does Sleep Have an Impact on Conception?

When you’re trying to conceive, the recommendations for boosting your fertility can seem endless: Take this vitamin, cut back on caffeine, exercise more, exercise less, etc. But advice on how much sleep is needed to increase your chance of getting pregnant is rarely mentioned. That’s mostly due to the fact that the connection is still vague, but as more and more research is done on the subject, it’s an area that’s worth discussing with your doctor if you’re planning to have a baby. Discover what you need to know, below. Don’t Sleep In- Women undergoing IVF who scored seven to eight hours of sleep a night were 25 percent more likely to become pregnant than those who snoozed for nine hours or more. The extra sleep is possibly linked to other behaviors that can impact fertility, such as going to bed late or skipping breakfast. But Don’t Skimp on Sleep, Either.- On the flip side, too little sleep can also hurt your chances of becoming pregnant. Women having IVF who racked up fewer than seven hours of sleep nightly were 15 percent less likely to conceive than those who hit the sweet spot of seven to eight hours. The abbreviated time in dreamland could spike levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, limiting your ability to reproduce. Turn Off Your Phone- Exposure to the blue light that tech gadgets emit doesn’t only interfere with your sleep-wake cycle, it may also makes it harder to have a baby. That’s because the blue light suppresses melatonin, a sleep hormone that also plays a role in protecting eggs, especially during ovulation. Power down electronics at least an hour before bedtime and keep them (and other light sources) out of the bedroom. Don’t Focus on Sleep Alone.- Other lifestyle changes—such as avoiding excess alcohol, quitting smoking, and paying attention to your ovulation cycle and having sex on key days—are still more likely to impact fertility than tweaking your sleep habits. Content Source Feature Image Source

Helping Your Toddler Learn to Put Himself to Sleep

Toddlers need adequate sleep to rise to the developmental challenges that fill their lives, from controlling their temper on the playground to staying on top of their own bodily functions.. The bad news is that some kids seem to be born "good" sleepers, and some aren't. The good news is that falling asleep is a habit, and all kids can learn it. While some kids have a harder time falling asleep than others, all children do eventually start falling asleep without a parent's presence, and sleeping through the night most nights. It may take some time to develop that habit, but your child can learn to put himself to sleep, and to stay asleep, eventually. Here's how: 1. Start the wind-down process early in the evening. Toddlers who've been racing around the apartment can't simply switch gears and decompress when you decide it's bedtime. The last few hours before bed should be calm and quiet. 2. Follow the same evening routine every night, if possible. Your goal is a sense of calm, safe, inevitability. Dinner, then a bath, then stories, then kissing and tucking in all the stuffed animals who share the toddler's bed, then prayers or blessings, then lights out while you sing to your little one, is an example of a common and effective routine Toddlers who are showing oppositional behavior may resist moving along with the bedtime routine. The best way to sidestep this is to have the clock, rather than you, be the bad guy. 3. Help your toddler set his "biological clock." Toddlers need a set time to go to bed every night, so their body begins to expect sleep. Most toddlers do better with an early bedtime; between 6:30 and 7:30 pm. You'd think a later bedtime would help them fall asleep more easily, but when they stay up later, they get over-tired, and stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol kick in to keep them going. Then they actually have a harder time falling asleep, wake up more during the night, and often wake early in the morning. So keep moving bedtime earlier until you find that magic moment before your little wind up toy starts getting wound up. (Of course, toddlers who nap later may need a later bedtime.) 4. Set up a cozy bed. All children go through normal sleep cycles in which they wake just slightly and then settle into deep sleep again. Your goal is to ensure that discomfort doesn't wake your child during those periods of slight waking Warmth matters -- if your toddler kicks his covers off, make sure he sleeps in warm pjs with feet. And of course, once he's out of diapers, be sure he uses the bathroom last thing. 5. Don't give up naps too early. Although every child has individual sleep needs, most kids are not ready to give up naps until age 3. Going napless before that just makes them cranky and adrenalized, making bedtime much more challenging. Content Image Source Feature Image Source: