I’ve always been someone who has trouble falling asleep at night and pregnancy definitely contributes to sleep feeling like an uphill battle for me. When I was pregnant with Teddy, I would often find myself on my phone late at night perusing various pregnancy apps, reading a zillion articles I’d hardly remember by morning, and generally stressing about every little thing that could happen to the baby or me in the ensuing months. I’d inevitably wake up exhausted, but between being self-employed, Will commuting to the city, and having only our dog Rory to care for during the day, it wasn’t the end of the world if I needed to nap for an hour in the middle of the day. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to be spared from hyperemesis in this pregnancy, but the opportunity cost of every hour is much higher with a busy one-year-old running around and it’s not nearly as easy (or guilt-free) to carve out time for a solo nap if I’ve stayed up half the night before. All that to say I knew sleep would be a major priority during this pregnancy and I’ve adopted some helpful habits that I thought could be helpful to share whether you’re pregnant or not. One nice thing about being pregnant a second time is I’m infinitely less sucked in by all the pregnancy content I thought I needed to consume during my first pregnancy — if I have a question, I google it or make a note in my phone to mention it to my OBGYN, but other than that it’s just something I refuse to drive myself crazy over this time around. Other than that, here are the sleep habits I’ve made part of my routine to make sure I’m spending less time falling asleep and more time actually resting and recharging!

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1. Spend as little time on my phone as possible leading up to bedtime. God knows I’ve watched more Netflix during this quarantine than I have in my life, but instead of “multitasking” (mindlessly scrolling on my phone) while watching TV, I pick up a needlepoint canvas instead to keep my hands busy and attention more focused. This time to lounge on the couch and work on a project just for me is so much more restful than being on my phone and it’s amazing how many more needlepoint projects I’ve completed as a result! Here are some tips for getting started with needlepoint as well as my last batch of finished needlepoint projects if you’re looking for a new project.

2. Plug in my phone across the room. This one is key — it massively reduces the temptation to pick up my phone the second I’m having trouble sleeping if I know I have to get out of my cozy bed to retrieve it. I plug my phone in on our dresser instead of my bedside table and ordered this affordable alarm clock/speaker so I can see the time if I wake up in the middle of the night without having to check my phone. The bonus is this also makes it easier to wake up — you have to get out of bed to turn off your alarm and that activity reduces the temptation to hit snooze and stay in bed!

3. Sleep with a fan on. We had a ceiling fan in the bedroom of the house we rented before we bought this house and I loved the cool breeze and white noise for helping me fall asleep. Will brought an old tabletop fan (I think we have this one but I imagine anything similar would do the trick) down from our attic to see if it might have the same effect and it has been an absolute game-changer for me. Both this addition and sleeping with my phone across the room are only possible because Teddy’s reliably sleeping through the night so I imagine I’ll have to make some changes when we’re keeping an ear out for newborn cries in a few months, but for now I’m stockpiling all the sleep I can get!

Any tips or tricks you have for falling asleep, pregnant or not? Do tell!

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  1. The strategy that seems to work for me in the moment is to force myself to get out of the bedroom and read a light book in another area of the house. The explanation is psychological – first, shifting your focus to doing another activity and taking the pressure off yourself to fall asleep. Second, the last thing we want is for our brain to see bed = not being able to sleep, so this strategy helps break that association. Good luck!

  2. I highly recommend a reconsideration of the phone at bed for using the Apps Inscape or Calm, I cannot get to bed without them- they are amazing! Thankfully my husband is tolerant and understanding of my struggles to get to sleep…. All the best blessings of health, happiness and of course, SLEEP to you!

  3. These are excellent tips, even speaking as a non-pregnant person! I have so much trouble falling asleep as well and turning my brain off at night. My husband can fall asleep in about five minutes (not sure if Will is the same way but this feels like such a guy thing to me…) and I’m incredibly jealous.

  4. I downloaded a habit tracker app and added “no phone in bed” as one of the goals. It’s crazy how motivated I am to want to be able to check the box on the app saying I completed that goal for the day, and then keep my streak going. In a week I had totally kicked the habit and now don’t even feel the temptation!

  5. don’t hang out in your bed unless you’re actually winding down and going to sleep! used to do this all the time and could never sleep. helped me a lot!