Sleep Deprivation

Growing a baby takes a lot out of you, especially in early pregnancy! Try to rest as much as you can.
Piotr Marcinski/ 

Some women are so sleepy by their 6th week that they complain of feeling drugged. Their heads are down on their desks every few hours at work, and their feet feel as if they're encased in cement shoes. At the same time they report having trouble falling asleep at night, feeling restless when they're lying down, having to get up often to urinate, or having trouble getting comfortable. According to the National Sleep Foundation, almost 80 percent of pregnant women suffer from disturbed sleeping patterns. With all the changes their bodies are experiencing, it's not surprising. The extreme fatigue you may be feeling is caused by high levels of pregnancy hormones coursing through your body and the energy demands of the developing fetus. Whether you're at home with small children or working outside the house, steal a half-hour nap or put your feet up. If morning is your sleepy time, rearrange your schedule to catch extra shut-eye.

Stick to your sleep and nap routines even on weekends, no matter how many errands beckon. This is a great time to cut back on that "to do" list and limit yourself to top priorities. Ask your partner to take on more responsibilities, such as the grocery shopping, so that you can rest for an hour on Saturday afternoons.

If you're feeling sleepless at night, address anything that may disrupt your sleep. Install room-darkening shades if the room seems too bright, use a white noise machine to block out distractions, and install a cool-mist humidifier to improve air quality. Be sure to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends. Create a presleep ritual. Maybe it's listening to soft music, taking a warm bath, reading a magazine on the porch, or leisurely walking with the dog. Avoid vigorous workouts before bed, or you'll find it difficult to fall asleep. It might also help to prop yourself up with extra pillows because your head may feel more congested than usual.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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