Guest Article by Sheila Olsen from fitsheila.com
Sleep is one of our body’s most important functions. It gives your mind time to rest and recharge, allows your muscles to heal and strengthen, and even regulates mood and boosts immune function. However, most of us don’t get the quality sleep we need.
This can happen for many reasons, especially when it comes to fertility and birth. Women who are trying to conceive often experience high ambient stress, especially if the process is taking much longer than they’d expected. Pregnancy can interrupt sleep in a variety of ways from conception to birth and, of course, newborns aren’t known for their sleep-enhancing qualities.
That said, there are ways to mitigate these issues and get the rest you deserve. Breathe with Lauren invites you to take a look at some of the common reasons women lose sleep and give you the tools to overcome them.
Stress and Anxiety
One of the most common reasons people can’t fall or stay asleep is stress. Most people with anxiety, whether temporary or chronic, spend their days stuck in stressful thought patterns. When they try to fall asleep, their minds can’t step away from these patterns long enough to wind down and sleep. This leads to more stress about the fact that you’re not sleeping.
There are several ways to tackle this. Many people who stress before bed benefit from playing soothing music, a calming meditation, or white noise over speakers that connect via Bluetooth in their bedroom. This gives your mind something specific to focus on that isn’t your stressful thoughts. You can also try reading or journaling before bed to ensure your last thoughts aren’t anxiety-ridden ones as you drift off to sleep.
Finally, if you absolutely can’t sleep from stress, get up for a little while. Drink some herbal tea (check ingredients if you’re pregnant or trying to conceive) or do some light stretching — anything other than beating yourself up for being awake. Staying in bed while anxious about not sleeping can build up mental associations that make sleep even harder in the long run.
Sleep Issues During Pregnancy
When it comes to addressing sleep problems during pregnancy, you need to identify what’s keeping you up. For example, early on you might be dealing with pregnancy nausea. Don’t let the name fool you — morning sickness can happen at night. There are tons of morning sickness home remedies out there; try some out to see which work best for you. If none of them work, or your nausea and vomiting are severe, talk to your medical provider to get relief.
Heartburn is another common sleep issue in pregnancy. Although hormone changes can cause heartburn to happen throughout pregnancy, it gets more common — and for some moms, unavoidable — as the baby gets bigger and begins to press on your stomach. Pregnancy pillows and over-the-counter or prescription meds can reduce discomfort.
How to Sleep When You Have an Infant
There’s no getting around it — babies put a serious dent in your sleep schedule. There are several approaches you can take to getting sleep when you have a little one. For starters, there’s the tried and true “sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Newborns need to eat every three hours, which means it’s nearly impossible to get a full night’s sleep even with plenty of support, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Eventually, your family will find a rhythm and you can use naps to do chores or just take a breather, but at the beginning, you need to take sleep wherever you can find it.
If you have a partner, work out a routine that allows you both to get a decent uninterrupted chunk of sleep overnight (if you breastfeed, pumping can allow your partner to take an evening feed without waking you up). You can also lean on family and friends in order to catch some extra Zs.
A good night’s sleep can feel impossible sometimes, but these tools can help. We hope this article empowers you to get the rest you need and deserve.
Looking for support on your fertility or pregnancy journey? Want to try some online yoga classes? Contact Lauren Enright today to get started by calling 514-622-4401.
Sheila Olson has been a personal trainer for five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions. She created Fit Sheila to spread the word about her fitness philosophy."
Lauren is a trained neuroscientist, who after a decade of teaching left her job to start her own business. Her struggle with migraines and anxiety is what brought Lauren to yoga, and kept her coming back as it became a medicine for both her body and mind. Today, Lauren is passionate about teaching meditation and yoga to a large audience as tools to develop more resilience and joy, with less anxiety and overwhelm. Lauren lives in Montreal with her husband and two children, Cedar and Oscar.