How to Get a Better Night's Sleep While Pregnant

"I'm tired, but I can't fall asleep."

"I crash on the couch the moment I get home from work," says Fay Schulgasser, of Teaneck, New Jersey, who is six months pregnant. "I can't move for at least an hour." Eventually, she gets up and gets going again. "Right before bed, I'm cleaning," she admits. Then when the expectant mom turns in at 11 p.m., she lies awake and can't drift off.

The Doc Says: "Bedtime routines are as important for adults as they are for children," explains Robert Oexman, D.C., director of the Sleep to Live Institute, in Joplin, Missouri. The same things that help kids unwind -- a warm bath, soft lighting, reading -- work for grown-ups. "Your body needs at least 30 minutes to relax and prep for sleep," Dr. Oexman says.

Sleep Makeover

Attack To-Do's Earlier
Physical activity improves sleep quality, but slow down three hours before you turn in to give your body temp time to drop.

Cover the Clock
The light interferes with sleep-inducing melatonin. Plus, watching the minutes tick by makes you even more anxious.

Relax Your Brain and Body
Shift your focus from tomorrow's workday to tonight's zzz's. Starting with your toes, contract and release your muscles.

Snooze Success: "The wind-down ritual worked," reports Schulgasser. Now she has the energy to tick off a few chores when she gets home and then chill. About 30 minutes before bed, she turns off her electronics. "Most nights, I'm out like a light."

Originally published in American Baby magazine in 2011. Updated in 2013.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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