Night Shift

February 16, 2009 12:00 AM

Q: I’m having trouble staying asleep. What can I do?

A: Have you considered that your interrupted sleep could be preparing you to meet your baby’s needs? Human babies are dependent creatures who need lots of attention, often in the middle of the night, which seems to me a valid enough reason for pregnancy’s strange sleep patterns, especially in the third trimester. According to yogic thought, the early morning-between 2 and 5 a.m.- is when the separations between mother and fetus are thinnest.

If you look at your sleep difficulties like this, they transform from a frustration into an opportunity. Rather than fight your body’s need to be awake, embrace the space to connect with your growing baby. Take a bath, color, journal, or write positive thoughts for your labor and first few weeks as a parent. You can even try meditative, contemplative household tasks such as sweeping the floor.

Of course, you’ll need to set up your schedule so you can nap or rest in the afternoon. Ask your boss about altering your workday so you can take a break between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Tell your partner you’ll need this quiet time on the weekends, too. Try using a pregnancy relaxation audio CD like my Prenatal Peace & Calming to generate deeper levels of rest-it works well in your parked car or an office “nap room.”

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