How Diet Affects Sleep Quality For Pregnant Women
Getting enough sleep is incredibly important. When you are in charge of another person's life, like you are when you are pregnant or nursing, it's even more important. However, that can be hard to do when exercise is difficult to get and your diet is limited, aside from those wacky combinations to satisfy your cravings.
What you do eat can have a huge impact on your energy levels as well as your sleep quality, not to mention the nutrition for yourself and for your infant. Here are some tips for your sleep that should go along with what your doctor recommends for your diet.
Reduce Meat Intake
The more protein you take in, the more likely you are to sleep well. However, eating a lot of meat has been found to worsen the quality of your sleep. Lowering your meat intake has also been found to help manage or lower the risk for diabetes.
Some scientists suggest replacing meat with fish like salmon for the evening meal in order to sleep well. Fish is a controversial topic for many pregnant women and their doctors, because while it has DHA, an essential nutrient for growing babies, many fish are carnivorous. This causes issues because fish contain mercury, which is also dangerous for growing babies.
Shellfish is perfectly safe to eat when it is cooked, and fish who are not carnivorous are better for you than their meat-eating counterparts. Some examples are salmon, tilapia, shrimp, canned light tuna, cod, and catfish. If you are eating local fish, make sure to find out if there are any environmental concerns you need to worry about. You should always avoid raw fish.
Try to add Dairy, But Be Careful with Cheeses
Adding dairy to your evening meal can help you with getting to sleep if that’s your struggle. Dairy contains a lot of tryptophan, which makes you feel tired. When you add carbs to that same meal, it makes it easier for your body to digest and use that tryptophan, making you sleepier. However, you should be careful with the cheese that you add to your diet if you decide that cheese that's the way you want to add dairy to it.
Hard cheeses are fine, whether they've been pasteurized or not. Soft cheeses that have been pasteurized are fine for you to eat as well while pregnant or nursing, because they do not put you at risk for listeria. You can talk to your doctor if you are concerned about them.
If you have a young one at home already while you’re pregnant, You might need some caffeine to help get you through the day. However, you should keep your caffeine intake to lower than 200mg a day for your own health and the baby’s. You should also make sure to drink it in the mornings or early afternoons, to avoid it keeping you up at night. Caffeine stays in your system for about 8 hours after you drink it.
If you find yourself struggling to get through the day, try taking a nap in the early afternoon and asking your family to be quiet so you can rest. You can plan this for your other children’s nap times if at all possible. That way, you’re as energized as they are when they wake up!
As you might know, alcohol can contribute to fetal alcohol syndrome in infants, putting them at a disadvantage when they come into the world. It can also cause problems when you are nursing since your baby will be taking in nutrients that you put into your body.
Drinking alcohol can also contribute to more disturbed sleep than you were already getting, especially if your baby is particularly active at night. When your sleep is disrupted like it is when you have to get up to go to the bathroom or when your baby is kicking, you miss out on REM sleep that you desperately need. It makes it harder for you to sleep well, making it harder for you to live well during your waking hours.
Adjust Your Bedroom
The last thing you should do is to make sure that your sleeping space is comfortable. If you aren’t comfortable, your body is going to resist going to sleep, and you need that sleep to help your baby grow. If you haven’t replaced your mattress in the last ten years, that needs to happen. Mattresses lose their supportiveness the more you use them, so make sure you purchase one that is comfortable and supportive for you and your partner.
You should also try to keep your bedroom dark and cool with constant airflow to ensure you get the highest quality sleep possible. Try adding blacklight curtains to block out extraneous light and a fan to the room to keep you comfortable.