It’s time to answer another yoga pregnancy question. This time Jane Austin is giving tips on a better night’s sleep. It looks like yoga might be helpful.
I’m in my 5th month and lately I’ve been having bouts with nightmares. I hear this is a common issue with pregnant women? Are there any poses or meditations I can do at night before bedtime that will help avoid these bad dreams so I can get a good night’s sleep?
I’m so sorry to hear you are having disturbing dreams. Lucid dreaming can be common in pregnancy as many women find their sleep is disrupted and therefore lighter. Bizarre dreams such as giving birth to puppies are not that uncommon. I remember dreaming that I gave birth to a piglet, that was disturbing. Unfortunately some women do experience scary dreams or even nightmares.
There are many factors that can lead to bouts of insomnia through out pregnancy, physical discomfort, frequent need to pee and even hunger. Many mamas find that along with the joy and excitement that a pregnancy can bring there can also be some anxiety and stress. These intrusive negative feeling can creep into pregnant women’s dreams perhaps compounding already compromised sleep.
Simple yoga postures, breathing and relaxation techniques are helpful to calm the body and mind before bedtime.
1. Create a bed time routine:
Start with a warm bath to help wash way the stress of the day. I also recommend eating just a little bit of protein before bed. Just something small; half a handful of nuts or seeds or a cup of yogurt. A strong cup of of chamomile tea an hour before bed can do wonders to sooth the mind. Reading a book or singing to your baby before sleep can also relaxing.
2. Incorporate simple yoga practice:
- Start by sitting on the side of your bed, spine long, eyes closed. Allow your awareness to turn to your breath. Feel your spine lengthen as you inhale, top of your head reaching toward the ceiling keeping the spine long exhale your breath all the way out. Using your breath move deeper inside yourself and as you do so begin to let go of the stresses of your day. Take the next few moments to simply sitting with your conscious breath. Keeping you focus inward transition onto hands and knees.
- Coming into cat stretch, from hands and knees lengthen the spine as you inhale and then round your spine over your babe. For the next few minutes move your spine with your breath. If you wish imagine you could see your baby inside of you gently rocking with your movement. Slowly transition into Child’s posture. Knees wide, big toes together press your hips back toward you feet. Child’s pose helps to maintain this inward focus. Making sure your knees are wide enough to make plenty of room for your baby, put the support of a pillow under your chest if you need more room. Forward folds are soothing to the nervous system, stay in the pose along enough to feel these benefits.
- Return to hands and knees. From hands and knees begin to move your hips in circles again letting your focus stay inside. Letting your hips get softer and suppler with each movement. See your babe, they love this movement! Return to Child’s pose. Slowly come to a seated position, keeping the eyes closed. Maintain the full deep breath; place your hands on your belly. With each inhale allow your belly to expand with each exhale feel your belly sink back toward your spine. As you breathe deeply know that just as you receive the benefits of a full deep breath so does your baby inside of you. Maintaining this awareness let yourself move into your side laying position for a deep restful sleep. This simple, yet effective sleep preparation yoga sequence can be practiced before bed and repeated if need be in the middle of the night. Be reminded that a regular prenatal yoga practice may help reduce the stresses of your day, clear your mind and make sleeping easier.
Jane Austin specializes in teaching prenatal and postnatal yoga. For two decades she has worked with mamas, not only as a yoga teacher but also as a midwife, doula and childbirth educator. She has developed a Prenatal/Postnatal Teacher Training for yoga teachers as well as birth professionals in order to make yoga accessible to women in many different settings.