First trimester: The sudden rush of progesterone, a naturally sedative hormone, causes an irrepressible urge to sleep all day long. This is completely normal. Ideally, you shouldn’t fight this... When working, the solution is to take a 10 to 20 minute nap, depending on your schedule: the energy gained is equal to 10 or even 15 times the duration of the nap.
Second trimester: With the anxiety and nausea of the first trimester passed, the new hormonal situation stabilized, sleep returns to normal. This is the time to make the most of the day, ensuring it does not eat into your restorative sleep time. Everyone has their quota but in general, it is equivalent to one hour less than natural sleep time during the holidays.
Third trimester: The closer to term you get, the more your sleep is disturbed. Besides a growing tummy and its little inhabitant becoming increasingly lively, other factors promote waking at night: itchy skin, night cramps, back pain, etc. This is where you have to be most vigilant and do everything you can to be in the best of health on the day of delivery.
Tips for sleeping well
Sleeping on your stomach is neither forbidden nor dangerous. But as the pregnancy develops, the position clearly becomes more uncomfortable. For this reason, but also to make it easier to breathe and optimize the baby’s oxygenation, during the last months it is recommended you sleep on your left side and get into good habits to ensure a good night’s sleep:
1/ Respect your biological clock: be sure to expose yourself to daylight during the day and sleep in darkness at night, as these contrasts are the basis of sleep and waking cycles. If not, melatonin secretion, which gives the body the signal to sleep, is disrupted. Remove any screens from the room that flash when on standby!
2/ Be active during the day: to access deep, restorative sleep, you need to be active during the day. Make your mind and your body work (read, take up a creative hobby; spend half an hour a day walking, swimming or practising yoga), remembering to slow down and stop at the right time: at least three hours before going to bed.
3/ Dinner should be light...but not too light: meals that are too heavy disrupt sleep by increasing body temperature. But if the meal is too light, you may wake up feeling hungry. Ideally: vegetables, protein (eggs, ham, fish, etc.), complex sugars (rice, bread, cereals), dairy products and fruit, two or three hours before going to bed.
4/ Rule out alcohol and nicotine: two bad habits that also disrupt sleep. Alcohol disrupts the sleep’s quality and nicotine, like coffee, is a stimulant that makes you wake up often.
5/ Choose the right bed: too firm and the weight of your body rests too much on the shoulders and hips. Too soft and the neck, middle of the back and backbone are not properly supported. You can elevate the legs at the foot of the bed to improve venous return. Use a nursing cushion placed between the thighs and along the stomach to relieve tension and lie comfortably on your side.
6/ Relax the epidermis: a warm shower has no equal in the evening for relaxing your mind and preparing your body for sleep. When you are done showering, refreshing treatments for tired legs and anti-stretch-mark products will be even more effective, as will moisturizing and soothing treatments that guarantee a night without tightness or itching for ultra-sensitive skins.
7/ Establish a ritual: At the first sign (yawning, stinging sensation in the eyes), start an appropriate routine that will always facilitate sleep. Drink a herbal tea or glass of milk, air your room and turn the heat down in order to reduce your body temperature.
8 / Breathe deeply: Practise abdominal breathing and visualization to help you fall asleep quickly. Lie down with your eyes closed, breathe deeply and slowly about ten times from the abdomen and aim to fully relax all the muscles of your body. Then visualize all of the details in a calm place.
9/ Stabilize sleep: Waking up regularly at the same time, including at weekends and when on holiday, facilitates waking/sleep synchronization. However, if you are very tired, do not hesitate to have a lie in or a siesta to make up for it.