Sleep during pregnancy

All mums-to-be know sleep will soon be a luxury, so it's important to make the most of it while you can.

Is sleep a thing of the past?

Sleep problems are very common during pregnancy, for all sorts of reasons.

In early and late pregnancy in particular, you may need to get up in the night to wee.

As you get bigger, finding a comfortable position to sleep can be difficult.

Your body's 'thermostat' can seem permanently set to 'over-hot'. You may find it too hot for bedcovers, but then wake up feeling cold.

Backache can keep you awake.

You may have 'restless legs syndrome'. This isn't uncommon and is exactly what it sounds like: jerking or twitching of the legs, particularly when lying down.

Leg cramps, which are a common complaint.

You may feel itchy. See Skin and hair for more details.

If your sleep is disturbed, talk to your midwife. She'll be able to suggest ways to prevent it, or at least help you cope better. A change of sleeping position may bring relief. Try lying on your side, with your lower leg bent at the knee to support your tummy. Sleeping with a pillow between your legs may also help.

Simple relaxation techniques can help you go to sleep. Concentrate on breathing gently and rhythmically, and contract and relax each part of your body one at a time. Exercise may also help you sleep better by improving circulation and easing stress.

Loose cotton nightclothes or sleeping in the nude can help avoid overheating. A relaxing bath before you turn in for the night may also prepare you for sleep.

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