Sleep in pregnancy

Pregnant woman by a sunset

So you’ve tried all the usual ‘sleep hygiene’ suggestions – you’ve limited screen time, you’ve made the bedroom dark and ‘just the right temp’, you’ve pretty much chucked the entire bottle of lavender on your pillow, and yet, you’re still watching the hours and the sunrise, without much kip in between.

Sleep can change in pregnancy for a variety of reasons and can lead to insomnia for some – something I hear a lot about in my pregnancy yoga classes (luckily most say yoga nights are the one night of the week they actually get some sleep!)

Changing hormone levels, physical symptoms (heartburn, back pain, leg cramps, I’m looking at you), sudden or increased snoring, several more loo trips and emotional fluctuations (increasing anxiety and juggling commitments whilst trying to prepare for baby’s arrival) can all contribute to this change in sleep pattern.

So how does yoga help with sleep in pregnancy?

  • Yoga is a regulator – for our bodies and minds, helping to regulate our sleep rhythm
  • Yoga helps to reduce physical and emotional tension and stress; we may not have even realised we had. This not only helps us get to sleep, but stay asleep too
  • Yoga is a holistic approach – we move, breathe, rest, visualise, bring awareness to our internal and external state and consider the way in which we move through our days

Some idea of what we can do…

  • Practise comfortable resting positions (like supported child’s pose/legs up the wall/side laying) to take in the day, and for sleeping
  • Practise diaphragmatic breathing/conscious breathing
  • Make sure we move in the day, gently opening the body and moving the spine in all directions (side bends in particular can feel hugely releasing in pregnancy)
  • Practise sensory withdrawal – perhaps using an eye pillow and ear plugs
  • There’s also lots of evidence suggesting that watching the sunrise and sunset (or just getting out in the morning and towards the end of the day, even for 5 minutes) can help with circadian rhythm regulation

What helped you?