The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) says that one of the ways for
expectant mothers to help give their baby a better chance of a healthy and
full-term birth is to practice good sleep hygiene.
Not sleeping well can lead to a number of problems. Expectant mothers who
have poor nighttime sleep are more likely to have a depressed mood,
attention and memory problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, more nighttime
falls, and use more over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids, all of
which may adversely affect the healthy development of her baby. In addition,
recent studies associate lack of sleep with serious health problems such as
an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, a professor of psychology at St. Joseph’s University
in Philadelphia, and associate director of the Sleep Center at the
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says that keeping good sleep habits is
especially essential when a woman is pregnant. On behalf of the AASM,
Mindell offers the following sleep hygiene tips for all moms-to-be:
1. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule.
2. Make your bedroom dark, cool and comfortable.
3. Sleep on the left side, which is best for the developing baby.
4. Don’t clock-watch.
5. Don’t stay in bed and try to sleep. If, in 10-15 minutes, you are
struggling to fall asleep, get up and move to another room and do something
distracting, but not stimulating. Read or perhaps listen to soft music.
6. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
7. Allow yourself time to unwind before bed.