Nighttime sleep doesn’t always come easily, especially towards the end of pregnancy. I’d never struggled with insomnia until the end of my third trimester. So, through trial and error, I created a nighttime routine to help signal to my body that it was time to rest and to make myself as physically comfortable as possible.
8:00 pm: warm milk with molasses. I love having a warm, cozy beverage after supper. Since molasses is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium and other trace minerals, I started mixing it with warm milk over the stove (about a cup and a half of milk to a tablespoon of molasses). So relaxing and good for you as well!
9:00 pm: warm shower. I’ve always preferred to shower at night, but especially during pregnancy. It really helped put me in bedtime mode, and the warm water relaxed my muscles.
9:20 pm: tart cherry juice. I’ve written about tart cherry juice and its incredible sleep properties before. Every night, immediately before bed, I mixed about two tablespoons of tart cherry juice with warm water to help me sleep. I swear it works like a charm!
9:25 pm: heating pad. My neck, shoulders and upper back are my problem areas and where I hold tension. I kept this neck and shoulder heating pad plugged in beside my bed and fell asleep with it on low every night. It helped relieve my discomfort and felt so soothing.
9:30 pm: pregnancy pillow. This pregnancy pillow helped support my growing belly and aching back and hips during my last two trimesters. Highly recommend.
2:00 am: stretching. Inevitably after falling asleep, I would wake up several hours later with back and hip pain. The only thing that made me feel better was light stretching. My go-tos were a forward bend (with my hands on the edge of our bathtub), cat/cow, a deep squat, butterfly, head to knee pose and a figure-four stretch. That combination really worked for me.
4:00 am: Ensure Plus Nutrition Shakes. At least once during the night, I would wake up hungry. In the last few weeks of pregnancy, I kept a stash of Ensure Plus Shakes by my bed for convenience. They have 27 vitamins and minerals and 16 grams of protein. That was amazing for me because I struggled to get enough protein in my diet, and during pregnancy, you should aim for at least 50-75 grams of protein per day.