Advice on getting a good nights sleep in the first trimester of pregnancy, with information on sleep problems, insomnia and the benefit of naps.
Throughout the first trimester you are likely to feel fatigued and incredibly sleepy regardless of the amount of time you actually spend in the land of nod. This is mainly because of the huge physical changes your body is going through coupled with an elevated level of the hormone progesterone which is thought to induce feelings of drowsiness.
Unfortunately the extreme tiredness experienced by many in the first trimester is likely to persist until the placenta develops and takes over from the progesterone producing corpus luteum at the start of the second trimester and the levels of this hormone begin to drop. Of course things are not helped by the feelings of nausea and frequent need to urinate throughout the night (this is because the uterus pressing against your bladder) that prevent you from getting a good nights sleep.
The first trimester is a good time to start practicing sleeping on your left hand side as this is the position it is recommended you adopt for sleep from the second trimester onwards. Lying with your knees slightly bent and a pillow supporting your lower back will make it more comfortable and an L-shaped pillow for your head can be a great help while you are getting used to this position. Additionally, sleeping on your left side may help to relieve nausea and pressure on tender breasts.
To help get a good nights sleep you should reduce the amount caffeine you consume and the amount of fluid you drink in the hours before bedtime so as to reduce the need for nighttime trips to the toilet. Having a plain snack such as a banana, a piece of toast or some dry crackers may help to settle your stomach if you are feeling nauseous. Ginger tea, milk or fizzy water may also help to settle your stomach.
You may find that you begin to experience strange, vivid dreams during the first trimester of your pregnancy. This is completely normal and is thought to be down to a combination of high levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, frequent night wakings and your mind processing the physical and emotional changes that you are going through.
You are likely to feel especially tired during this trimester even if you are managing to sleep through the night so a short nap in the afternoon or after work can do wonders and make you feel human again. Just remember to avoid napping to late or for too long as this may disrupt your nighttime sleep pattern.
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