— Essential techniques for getting a solid night’s sleep through 9 months of pregnancy

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential as you progress through your pregnancy. These sure-fire tips will ensure you sleep through the night without any problems.

1. Avoid midnight trips to the bathroom

During pregnancy, you’ll likely find that you need to urinate more than usual, which can really detract from getting a good night’s sleep. This is most often because your expanding uterus will put pressure on your bladder, especially during the first three months as it expands and the last month during the final growth spurt of your baby. To cut down on the number of times you need to pee during the night, try drinking less as the evening goes on. Additionally, avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol as these are diuretics and will make you pee more often than usual.

Sound Sleep During Pregnancy2. Sleep on your left side

Lying on your back not only can make you feel faint, it can also restrict your kidney’s ability to rid your body of waste products, which in turn increases your backache symptoms, and adds to lower your blood pressure problems.

Instead, start to learn to lie on your left side early on in your pregnancy. This position provides the optimal blood flow to ensure your internal organs are working, which will diminish backaches and prevent symptoms like swelling of your feet and ankles. The best position is to lie with your knees bent with two or more pillows between them to keep pressure off your hips and pelvis.

3. Use a pillow for your belly bump

As you sleep, your heavier belly needs more support in order to prevent strain on your back and legs which can lead to pain that will wake you up and disrupt your sleep. To avoid this problem, try sleeping with a wedge pillow under your belly bump to minimize any back strain. A body pillow can also work for this purpose.

4. Use an armchair late in your pregnancy

Some women cannot get comfortable at all during the latter part of their pregnancy, whether it’s on their back or their side. To overcome this challenge, many women find it helpful to sleep in an armchair instead of in a bed. This helps to reduce strain on the back, hips, and belly so that you can sleep more comfortably – and hopefully more soundly. Another option is to sleep propped up on the side of your sofa, which will give you the same benefits. A reclining armchair is ideal, as it will allow you to be more horizontal.

5. Don’t work out before bed

As the sun sets, your body starts to produce melatonin, a chemical that helps you go to sleep at night. Exercising can actually disrupt the natural production of melatonin, which will prevent you from getting to sleep quickly and soundly. So try to avoid your workout after dark.

6. Do exercise earlier in the day

That said, exercising at a reasonable hour will help you sleep later in the day, so try not to skip your workout altogether. Staying fit throughout your pregnancy builds your physical strength and helps burn calories. Additionally, if you choose exercise like yoga stretching or meditation, you’ll experience the relaxation benefits, which can further help you to sleep. Swimming in particular will help to increase your circulation, which will ease swelling and make it easier to sleep.

7. Prevent midnight hunger pangs with a light bedtime snack

Waking up in the middle of the night with hunger in your belly is also a common problem for pregnant women trying to get a good night’s sleep. You can help prevent this common sleeplessness challenge by having a light snack before going to bed, like a boiled egg on toast, some fruit and cottage cheese, or a handful of dried fruit and almonds.

8. Avoid foods that cause night time indigestion

While a bedtime snack is a good idea, be sure to avoid snacks that contain citrus fruits as these can contribute to heartburn and indigestion. Other foods that can contribute to stomach problems like heartburn and indigestion, which will keep you awake throughout the night, include fatty foods, spicy foods, and overly sweet treats. Coffee and alcohol are also no-nos if you want to avoid midnight heartburn.

9. Daytime naps

If night time sleeplessness is making you tired and cranky during the day, especially later in your pregnancy, sometimes the only solution is to nap during the day. If you can, try to take a few quick catnaps, one in the morning and one in the afternoon for a half-hour each. Finding a quiet room at the office, at home, or wherever you find yourself may be just the thing to help ease the feelings of fatigue and lethargy.

10. Keep a routine

Having a regular, consistent routine, especially at bedtime, will help prepare your body to go to sleep at night. This might involve things like having a shower or washing your face, followed by a stretching routine, then reading a chapter of your favorite book before turning off the light. Doing things at the same time in the same order every night is the key.