Nighttime Waking

Try these simple fixes to help you sleep better at night.

Ah, welcome to parenthood, where day and night often feel the same. Now that you're in your 2nd trimester, your belly is bigger, the baby is popping you a good one every time you lie down, and you feel like you have to urinate every 20 minutes. That adds up to a lot of night wakings. You're in good company: It's a rare pregnant woman who sleeps through the night, leading some folks to conclude that this is nature's way of training a mother for her hectic life with a newborn. Insomnia and night wakings won't hurt your baby, but you might have trouble getting through the day if you're up half the night. Here are some strategies for coping:

Chill out. Your body temperature is higher now that you're pregnant, so it may help you sleep better if you lower the thermostat in the bedroom.

Keep a food journal. If your baby reacts to spicy or sugary foods by becoming more active, don't eat them at dinner. Otherwise, your baby's dancing shoes are likely to wake you up at night.

Use a humidifier. By this point in your pregnancy, your husband's snores probably can't outdo yours. Humidifying the room will reduce pregnancy congestion and snoring.

Stack those pillows. Getting comfortable is the hardest thing about going to bed in the second half of your pregnancy, so use pillows to support whatever position works.

Drink a warm cup of milk with honey or eat a small turkey sandwich before bed or when you're having trouble getting back to sleep after waking up. Milk and turkey contain L-tryptophan, a sleep-inducing amino acid.

Reduce heartburn. Sleep in a slightly upright position, either on a stack of pillows or in a recliner.

Revel in the quiet. If you wake up and have trouble falling back to sleep, practice some deep breathing with your hands cupped over your belly and imagine your baby sleeping inside you.

Sing a lullaby. Your baby can hear you now, so if you sing him to sleep, you may find yourself feeling drowsy too. It's a great way for your baby to get to know your voice.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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