Many women tend to sleep a lot more than usual during pregnancy. You may find yourself more fatigued than usual during the first and third trimesters of your pregnancy, which is why you tend to feel more sleepy than usual. Further to this, your blood volume and progesterone levels will increase during these stages of pregnancy. Both these changes in your body will lead to a more sleepy mood and will result in more sleep.
However, is more sleep during pregnancy normal? Can sleeping too much harm the unborn baby? How much sleep is considered safe during pregnancy? We will look to answer many of your questions surrounding sleep during pregnancy and help you better understand what is considered normal during this stage of life. Hence, keep reading this word to word as we explore sleep during pregnancy and what is considered normal.
Is More Sleep Normal During Pregnancy?
In actuality, getting plenty of sleep during your pregnancy is very important for both you and your baby. A good amount of sleep during pregnancy can affect your labour and delivery with less sleep being linked to longer hours in labour in comparison to those that slept more.
As per the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is told to benefit the pregnancy. No one likes to feel tired and during your pregnancy, you may find yourself more tired than usual. After all, you are carrying an unborn child in you. A good amount of sleep will help you stay fresh and keep the tiredness at bay. It is a good idea to take a nap every time you start to feel tired.
After all, it is most likely the most sleep you would be getting in the near future. After the baby comes along, caring for your baby will take up so much time and energy that you simply will not have enough time to sleep properly. Hence, it is a good idea to get the sleep you can when you can.
You may be more likely to sleep more than usual during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is normal to feel tired since your body is at work trying to protect and nurture a developing baby. It is during this stage of pregnancy that the placenta starts to form, (the organ that provides nourishment to the fetus until birth). This means, your body is making more blood and your heart is pumping faster. It is like doing cardio even at rest. This is the primary reason why you tend to find yourself more tired than usual.
Though the amount of sleep that you get will increase with the stages of pregnancy, some women do get over 12 hours of sleep. Though it is unlikely that you would be sleeping more than 12 hours during the early stages of pregnancy, it is important that you manage your sleep so as to not allow it to hamper nutrition and exercise. Though you won’t be undertaking intensive exercise during pregnancy, some light exercise with healthy nutrition is important for the wellbeing of the baby.
Though an active life is recommended for the better maintenance of health and wellbeing, getting plenty of sleep during pregnancy is also important. Many pregnant women sleep more than they usually do. If they usually sleep 6 hours, they may find themselve sleeping 8 hours. This is because they are often more tired than usual and often find themselves fatigued, which is combated through sleep.
That being the case, too much sleep has been linked to greater risk of stillbirth. Hence, though more sleep than usual is a normality with pregnany women, you should really prevent excessive sleep and ensure that you don’t sleep more than 8 hours per night.
How Many Hours of Sleep Should a Pregnant Woman Get?
Sleep is an absolute necessity and it is even more of a necessity during pregnancy. During pregnancy, you tend to sleep more than usual and nap more often. Doctors actually recommend that you sleep between 8 to 10 hours per night.
It is considered normal to sleep more during the first and third trimester of pregnancy. With the average pregnant woman getting about 7.5 hours of sleep per night during the second trimester, the first trimester requires more rest due to the early development of the child. Similarly, the third trimester is more taxing and you require greater energy reserves during this stage of pregnancy, which is why in general, pregnant women sleep more during these stages of pregnancy.
It is considered unwise to get more than a combined 12 hours of sleep per day. This may include 10 hours of sleep at night and a few hours of naps during the day. The amount of sleep that you would be getting depends on your personal set of circumstances. However, research has led us to believe that getting too much sleep can actually lead to a greater risk of late stillbirth.
This is for certain a reason to worry. Though it is important that you get plenty of sleep during pregnancy, getting too much sleep could lead to a greater risk for your unborn child. The trouble with more sleep is the lack of exercise and the time you would have at hand to attend to nutrition. After all, you don’t want to overdo sleeping to the point that it prevents you from eating properly. Hence, it is a good idea to get about 8 hours of sleep per day, which leaves you with plenty of time to attend to your daily chores, attend to proper nutrition and even get some gentle exercise.
Pregnant women tend to notice disturbed night sleep. They tend to wake up during the night at various stages of sleep which is actually considered healthy and normal. If you sleep for more than 9 hours per night without any disturbance, this may be a reason to worry.
Can Sleeping Too Much Harm the Unborn Baby?
A study conducted by US researchers has led us to believe that oversleeping could be a risk factor for stillbirth. Sleeping more than 9 hours per night without waking up more than once during the night sleep may be signs leading to late stillbirth.
Sleeping as per this study is linked to foetal health and too much sleep can in fact harm the baby. So though it is normal for pregnant women to sleep more than usual, does it come with a greater risk to the baby, yes. This is why it is important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent oversleeping which can be dangerous for the baby.
It is normal to sleep more than usual during pregnancy for reasons we have already mentioned. However, does it directly harm the baby? No, but it does increase the likelihood of stillbirth which is a scary thought.
It is a better idea to sleep 8 hours per night and get some extra sleep during the day through a nap or two which will work to keep you fresh. It is the undisturbed night sleep that is a link to an increased risk of stillbirth, hence it is recommended that you stick to 8 hours of sleep during the night and nap during the day if you find yourself overly tired and fatigued.
Best Position to Sleep at Night During Pregnancy
With night sleep being limited and important for both you and the baby, it is important that you find the best position to sleep in at night. Remember, it is recommended that you sleep around 8 hours per night to ensure better safety for the baby, hence you want to ensure quality sleep.
Sleeping more than 9 hours of undisturbed sleep is a reason to worry. If you wake up a fair few times during the night, it is perfectly normal to sleep 9 or even 10 hours a night. However, if you don’t wake up during the night or have disturbed sleep, there may be a greater risk to the baby if you sleep more than 9 hours at a stretch.
This is why the sleeping position is important. Finding the right sleeping position will allow you to sleep for 8 hours and get the proper rest that you need to tackle the day. Oftentimes, bad sleep position leads to bad sleep which leads you to sleep more. Bad sleep doesn’t mean disturbed sleep, it just means bad quality sleep which leaves you waking up tired and fatigued.
During pregnancy, the best position to sleep in is on your left side. This allows for optimum blood flow in your body and better blood delivery to the baby which allows for better quality of rest. Both sleeping on your stomach and sleeping on your back can lead to back and shoulder pain and is generally not recommended.
The quality of sleep is just as important as the amount of sleep, hence be sure to keep that in mind. 8 hours of quality sleep may equate to 12 hours of poor quality sleep. Remember, the greater the length of sleep during the night, the greater the risk of late stillbirth. Hence, do everything you can to minimise the risk without having to sacrifice too much sleep and rest, which you obviously do need.
What Should You Eat for Better Sleep During Pregnancy?
Certain food helps your sleep better. If you are having trouble sleeping, you should look to include these foods in your diet. On the contrary, if you are noticing that you are sleeping too much, you should look to avoid these foods.
For many women who are used to drinking a lot of caffeine during the day, the lack of access to the high amounts of caffeine during pregnancy could be a reason for increased sleep. Increased sleep depends on a host of other factors and it is important that you use your diet to get high-quality sleep; which is 8 hours of quality sleep per night that will work to restore your body, fight fatigue and won’t be placing your unborn baby at any risks. These foods may help you to get better quality sleep. Remember, do control the amount of sleep that you get per night. Getting more than 9 hours of sleep can lead to an increased risk of stillbirth, which is why 8 hours is generally recommended, even for pregnant women.
1. Chamomile Tea – Chamomile tea is a perfect pre-bedtime drink that will promote a sense of calm. Research has led us to believe that one cup of Chamomile tea can lead to an increased level of Glycine which actually works as a mild sedative and works to relax your nerves.
2. Rice – White rice has a high glycemic index which can help reduce the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep. The faster you fall asleep with the least trouble, the better quality sleep you will have. Jasmine rice has been shown to be particularly great for bringing you to sleep faster.
3. Kale – Kale is a great source of calcium, which means it will help your baby with bone formation and development. Being calcium deficient can actually lead to bad sleep. It can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Kale also has plenty of antioxidants, folates and iron which will work to keep your immune and digestive health in great condition.
4. Walnuts – Walnuts are an excellent source of tryptophan and are also a great source of melatonin. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are essential fatty acids for the body. If you need a little help falling asleep, eating a handful of walnuts could do the trick.
5. Banana – Banana is rich in magnesium and potassium which works to help relax muscles. They also contain tryptophan which is used to increase serotonin levels. All these factors help release melatonin which is the hormone that controls the sleep cycle. This makes bananas a perfect bedtime snack if you are having trouble falling asleep.
Remember, you do not need these foods if you are already sleeping more than 8 hours a night. If you are sleeping more than 8 hours a night, you are getting plenty of sleep. If you find yourself sleeping more than 10 hours a night, it is a good idea to take better control of your sleep pattern. These foods may help you get better quality sleep, however may lead to increased sleepiness. Hence, be careful. After all, as mentioned getting more than 9 hours of sleep a night can increase the risk of stillbirth, hence work to keep your sleep in check.
Sleep is important during pregnancy and the amount of sleep depends on how tired you feel. That being the case, getting too much sleep has been linked to an increased risk of stillbirth, which is why it is important that you try to control the amount of sleep you are getting.
Getting 8 hours of quality sleep per night is a great way to ensure good rest. It also works to ensure that your unborn baby is kept in good health and doesn’t carry any of the risks of stillbirth.
It is important that you understand the risks of too much sleeping during pregnancy. Though it is considered normal for pregnant women to sleep more than usual, if you normally sleep 6 hours a night, getting 8 hours of sleep should be more than enough.
If you are getting more than 9 hours of sleep or are finding yourself overly sleepy, we recommend that you consult a doctor to consider whether excessive sleeping may have an impact on your pregnancy and the wellbeing of your unborn child.
We hope after reading this word to word, you have the answers to the questions you had in mind with regards to sleep and pregnancy. We aimed to answer your questions and provide you with the information that you require in order to address the amount of sleep you should be getting during pregnancy.
This article does not replace the recommendations of a healthcare professional. When in doubt, always consult a doctor for advice.