It’s one of the great cosmic jokes of pregnancy; instead of allowing you to stock up on as much rest as possible before newborn nocturnal antics keep you up all night, hormonal crazy dreams, a pea-sized bladder, a giant bump, and miscellaneous aches and pains pretty much prevent you from getting a single decent snatch of sleep – especially in the final trimester.
But according to nutritional therapist Chloe Bowler, some simple additions to your dinner plate can help maximise both the amount and quality of your zzz’s while pregnant.
Any oily fish is an excellent source of omega 3 fats – not just incredibly important for baby brain development, but also a great sleep aid: “They are thought to help promote rest and good sleep,” explains Chloe. “Salmon also makes the perfect supper as it is full of protein to help regulate blood sugar levels throughout the night.”
A glass of milk – or a cheeky mug of hot choc – is a favourite bedtime beverage, and here’s why it’s helpful, too: “Milk, along with all dairy, contains an important amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan helps increase the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone,” says Chloe.
Pregnant women are usually advised to boost their iron levels with iron-rich foods, like leafy greens. Plus, spinach in particular is a super-source of magnesium. This beneficial mineral is an effective sleep enhancer, because, as Chloe explains, it “decrease[s] stress hormones in the body, which helps you relax and unwind.”
“Chickpeas are a great source of vitamin B6 which is involved in melatonin production,” says Chloe. Roast ’em with savoury or sweet spices, add to tagines or curries, or tuck in to a bowl of hummus and dipping veg for supper.
Sweet potatoes are the healthier cousin of regular spuds – because they won’t spike your sugar levels. “It also contains magnesium and potassium, so helps relax muscles,” says Chloe – so you can treat your sweet craving and restless legs all at once.