Wednesday 8 July 2015

Sleeping So Much in the First Trimester? Needs to be Good Sleep

Honeymoon in Tunisia
I was lucky enough to receive a welcome bundle of sleep goodies from Hilary's. The timing of it's arrival, at the beginning of my first trimester could not have been better, as the first trimester is the one where I sleep the most. 

Most nights nowadays I am in bed by 21:30, even if not actually asleep. I literally reach the point at about 21:15 every night where I just HAVE to lie down, like it or not. I remember being exactly the same with Aaron, even though prior to getting pregnant, in 2009, I was never in bed before 11, 12 or 1 a.m. Despite having to be up early for work. Effectively now it is the same, except the alarm clock is now set for the school run.

They did warn me it would be unusually packed and so it was:

A photo posted by Liska (@newmumonline) on

#HillarysWeekOfSleep is a promotion that they have done to highlight their sleep tips, in partnership with Dr Lauren Kita.

I'll take Dr Lauren Kita's good sleep tips one at a time.

She explains that having a set bedtime helps to set your internal body clock. Well I can say, my first trimester experience really testifies to this. Aiming for being in bed by 21:30 every night has really got my body into a rhythm and it means my lie-ins at the weekend seem to be a thing of the past. I like it and may well keep it up even when the tiredness lessens. Sleeping in Sunday just means a late night Sunday night and the inevitable Monday grump as a result!

Get morning daylight
I didn't know this was an issue for me, but the school run proved it was. The minute we got to Autumn (I can't remember which month) it was nearly impossible to get up for the school run on time. I really really really struggle with getting up in the dark. Thankfully with the onset of Spring that struggle was over, but thank God that Hilary's sent me a daylight alarm clock. I have always wanted one, and it's Lumie, who I had the pleasure of meeting at BritMums Live :-) Dr Lauren Kita states that "morning light switches off melatonin production". I am really sensitive to this which is why, when Aaron wants to sleep with the corridor light on, it HAS to be the downstairs one, as the upstairs one seems to pour onto my third eye and keep me WIDE AWAKE.

She further states that a wake up lamp can be a great tool to set circadian rhythms. I hadn't heard this phrase before but can't wait to try my lamp.

She reminds me too that getting enough daylight exposure is also directly related to the production of serotonin (feel good hormone). Thankfully I get a lot of this with Aaron being SUCH an outdoorsie boy.

Avoid bright light in the evening
I am conscious of this, although I do use my phone in bed. Luckily it seems to have run out of charge most nights and the socket on my side is not near the bed, so insomnia and late night tweeting seems to be a thing of the past. Once upon a time I used to tweet until 1,2 or 3 a.m. every night, meaning my blog used to be read 24 hours a day, as much in the USA as in the UK. Not so much a night owl now, and I hate automated tweets so do not do them.

Make your bedroom a sleep nest
Investing in a comfortable bed is something I did years ago and I've never looked back. We have a sprung mattress but with a memory foam topper. It's like the ones that two hotels went on to design, after advice from sleep experts and I looked on with pride thinking "I've already got one just like that". I blogged about it years ago in a reasons to be cheerful post. I do ensure that the bedroom is only used for sleep. We do have a radio (I cannot sleep without my LBC in the background) but would never have a TV in the bedroom. Reading the sleep tips reminds me I need to use the lavender that they sent me.

Find healthy ways of winding down
The good Dr's legs up the wall tip sounds like a good one, but I always do unwind before sleep and very much get Aaron to do the same. A long time ago he'd insist on watching You Tube on the phone every night. When I insisted on stories instead I found that even after 5 stories he'd still be awake (unless it was a rare day that he was VERY tired and would sleep on second book) and still insist on then seeing the phone. After fine tuning over time, I now have a method that 100% works for us. (1) He has stories., he then goes on (2) to have one/two episodes of Horrid Henry on You Tube and then (3) I sing to him. Yep you read right ha ha! Watching the same thing every night keeps an element of routine and things he watched before were too stimulating. As for the songs, I do the same ones EVERY night, so at a cellular level, it's like he starts to get relaxed, and he starts to fade, as he consciously makes the decision to switch off. After 5 long years as a Mum, I've realised that with little boys, they can actually DECIDE to sleep or decide to be awake. It's hitting that switch that says "time to sleep" where they give their body permission to be STILL and sleepy. The songs, for us, are THAT trigger point. It's been working for a very long time now. I'm thrilled. Not a Mummy fail for once.

Practice mindfulness
I don't really have anything to add to what the good Dr says here.

Journal before bed
Hilary's have sent me a beautiful notepad for just this purpose. I used to find that blogging got thoughts out of my head and was great for easing a racing mind. Unfortunately morning sickness in recent weeks did not tolerate Wifi levels at all and I could not BARE to sit in front of a laptop. My bump posture wouldn't tolerate it either. But some magic switch seems to mean I have moved out of this phase and can now tolerate the computer. So my thoughts on Bounty for example will no longer keep me awake as thanks to being able to blog again, I just had the cathartic process in the post before this one, of journalling what exactly went on there. It gets it out of my head, flags the issue to the brand and hopefully draws attention to other people who feel the same, people who only have forums (and not blogs or Twitter) to vent it on.

I've always journalled things out of my head and into the blog. Less so in the past year. But I've never had a blogging vanilla voice, because how I see it is how I state it. I'm a bit of a call a spade a spade person and respect that in others too.

As for noting things you have to do tomorrow, I tend to use the notes section of my phone for this, which is great as it means you are not looking for a lost scrap of paper. We always know where our phone is right?

I love her tip of writing 3 things you are grateful for, every night. I may use the book they sent me, just for this purpose, especially given that it has such a sunny cover.

Don't nap in the daytime
I like her technical sounding advice here. I must have intuitively somehow known this, as no matter HOW bad my first trimester tiredness has got, I have avoided having any afternoon naps.

Reduce stimulants such as caffeine and sugar
Automatically in pregnancy, my body tells me to ease off on the caffeine, so I am already on point with this one, and thanks to a very recent trip to the Foodies Festival I have a GREAT 99% caffeine free solution for my hot drink addiction. Drink Me Chai is just DIVINE! I just had to take a picture of my Aaron as he went up to the stand and made those 5 towers you see behind him. The team were so thrilled (and accommodating) that they gave him the apron you see below, to model for a photo, and made him the complimentary drink he is holding. Ahhhhh my boy:
Do read what the good Dr says on this point though as she is dead right.

Do things that energise you
Being active in a healthy way, does aid sleep, as does making sure that you get a daily dose of fresh air. We haven't cycled to school since December but we do have a very brisk walk there and back, which we get SO many benefits from. At my midwife appointment on Monday she did a CO2 breath test and I am very proud to say that I scored a "1" which is the lowest score which means I am not smoking, passive smoking, nor am I breathing in polluted air. Thrilled with that as it will be good for my placenta and baby and good for oxygenating the extra blood that pregnancy entails.

Oh dear she mentions yoga here, and I haven't done much yoga since Aaron was born, despite having been a teacher for 6 years beforehand (in addition to working full time as a HR Manager). I'm even qualified in Pregnancy Yoga I really need to sort my life out LOL!

About Dr Lauren Kita
Dr Lauren Kita is a psychologist and yoga therapist with a PhD focused on sleep and wellbeing. She specialises in helping busy, stressed out people to find ways of reducing anxiety and improving their sleep, integrating scientific and holistic approaches.

For more inspiration, you can download the free Ultimate Wind-down Guide for the Best Night’s Sleep on her website

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Disclosure: I was sent a sleep parcel, so that I could experience a good night's sleep. As stated the timing was perfect being the start of my first trimester.

How do you sleep? Right, I am off to find that notebook and lavender.
Having this alarm clock will be GREAT as it will mean I don't have to have my phone as an alarm clock right by my bed or head. I am very conscious of the rays/signal it gives off possibly being harmful. So actually regardless of the fact that the mornings are bright, I am setting up my Lumie Bodyclock today.


  1. Hi Liska So glad to see you now have a Lumie light and thanks for the lovely mention! Look forward to hearing how you get on with it. Will be great for providing a soft low light for night time feeds later on as well... Ruth x

  2. Great tips here and so pleased you're getting some early nights! XX

  3. Reallly useful tips Liska! Love the pug eyes on your eye mask!

  4. I remember being so tired in my first trimester, I could literally sleep at my desk. Those Lumie clocks are supposed to be excellent. I sure you hep middle trimester is a good oen for you and you feel energised. Mich x


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