Sleep problems during and after pregnancy is a common occurrence.

80% of women report neonatal sleep disturbances.

~National Sleep Foundation

By default of our sexual disposition women often endure hardship and 'just get on with it'! Our capacity for nurture and compassion extends to those around us rather than ourselves. Recently, however, in light of the wellbeing awareness surge, there is a call to action for women to carefully consider our self-care rituals if we are going to sustain optimal performance and skilfully navigate the vicissitudes of motherhood. What is central to the neonatal self-care revolution is the burgeoning research demonstrating that our behaviour during the gestation period directly impacts the infant's future physical and mental health.

A 2014 study revealed that chronic sleep disruption during pregnancy can lead to renal and cardiovascular in offspring. King's College London found that untreated mood disorders during pregnancy will subsequent to their children suffering from mental health issues later on in life.

During pregnancy, our body is working doubly hard to create new life so its no wonder our sleep demands alter as a result. However, there feels like a tug-of-war is happening inside our body; while are sleep requirements increase, specific processes interfere with this essential demand. Several functional changes such as hormonal changes, increases in core body temperature, and significant physical discomfort all interfere with a restful night's sleep. Chronic insomnia has been found to cause mood disorders and significantly impinge upon regeneration. The fear of taking prescribed medication during pregnancy is now outdated, and in fact, it is more harmful to your infant to refrain from taking meditation that supports you and your baby's healthy development.

But there are all sorts of other natural tips to send those sore eyes to slumber...

Keep it Cool!

Sleep experts agree that sleeping with a room temperature of 16 degrees centigrade or less significantly regulates temperature related sleep disturbances experienced by pregnant women. In addition, research shows that wearing natural fabrics have “moisture-wicking” properties, such as cotton, bamboo, silk, satin, absorb excess moisture thus regulating body temperature - whereas, synthetic fabrics trap moisture thus not regulating body temperature during the night. If our temperature spikes during the night we are innately programmed to wake up so doing all you can to avoid this is a must!

Touch to Tame!

There's a lot to be said for sleeping in the nude when the pregnancy furnaces are firing for two reasons: temperature regulation and getting your sleepy-happy hormone fix! Research reveals that touch from your loved ones sees a spike in the luscious love hormone, oxytocin, which is not only nature's antidote to insomnia but wonderfully natural analgesic. So bumping bodies in the night might not be a bad thing!

Carb to Comfort!

We're all familiar with the carb-crash, and it's no surprise that nature has thought of this one too. During the third trimester, pregnant women crave carbs so I suggest you get your hubby to curate you a complex carb loaded dinner to not only induce the carb coma but also combats the night-time sugar lows that might wake you up in the night hungry.

Beat the Bounce!

Physical comfort is not at its best when you're swelling all round rapidly. Get a mattress that supports your body and natural spinal alignment. You'll also find it easier to drift off laying on your left side propped up by a giant body pillow or two! This position activates the parasympathetic nervous system, the rest and digest physical state, aids the clearance of toxic byproducts in the brain and body, and also supports circulation throughout the body.

Meditate to Feel Safe!

Approaching motherhood is awash with anxious thoughts that wiz round your head. In 2008, and 2012 UCLA found that pregnant women who took part in the eight-week mindfulness course experienced significant reductions in stress levels, anxious thoughts, and mood modulation - all enemies of sleep. Meditation also has been found by the Wake Forest University and the John F Kennedy Institute significantly elevate our natural pain relief responses, endorphins and dopamine, by an attractive 65% giving us the ability to handle pain 27% better than control groups. But of note, participants reported a feeling of greater connection with their unborn child during pregnancy and a calm child after birth.

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