How to Sleep Better While Pregnant

Tips for Dealing with Pregnancy Insomnia

For many expectant women, getting a good night’s sleep seems impossible. The pregnancy’s progression means that your belly gets bigger. The extra weight you’re carrying can contribute to pains and pressure in your back, hips, or legs. There is no doubt that sleeping with extra weight can be really uncomfortable.  Furthermore, your baby’s kicks get stronger and you feel like you need to use the bathroom every twenty minutes. Eventually, a lot of time is spent awake rather than sleeping during the night. The tossing and turning can really be stressful.

Fortunately, you are not alone. There are only a few expectant women who actually sleep during pregnancy. People often say that this is just training that the mother has to undergo in order to prepare her for the coming newborn. However, this does not make it easier for any expectant mother.

So if nausea, chronic back pain, fetal movement, and frequent trips to the bathroom weren’t discomforting enough, you should know that many women even develop sleep disorders. Here are the three most common:

Sleep Disorders in Pregnancy 


Insomnia is a condition when you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Women can experience insomnia during all stages of pregnancy, but it tends to be more common in the first and third trimesters. Between midnight bathroom breaks, out-of-control hormones, and pregnancy woes such as congestion and heartburn, you might be spending more time trying to fall asleep than sleeping. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep condition characterized by snoring, gasping, and repeated lapses in breathing that disrupt sleep quality. OSA occurs more often in women who are overweight or obese, and excessive weight gain during pregnancy may also increase risk. Nasal congestion due to high levels of progesterone can contribute to the condition. 

Restless Leg Syndrome 

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, usually because of an uncomfortable sensation. Nearly a third of pregnant women suffer from this condition. Women who have RLS describe it as an “itchy” feeling that disappears once they move their legs. In most cases, the cause of RLS is unknown, although genetics is probably a factor.  Other possible culprits include hormones, especially estradiol and progesterone, which surge during the third trimester of pregnancy and fall right after birth, following the same pattern as RLS. 

How to Sleep Better While Pregnant

If you’re an expectant mom you shouldn’t let the potential for developing a sleep disorder scare you too much! For many pregnant women, sleep troubles can be fixed by following a few simple practices that minimize the risk of developing a sleep disorder. You could use all the tips you can get when it comes to sleep during pregnancy. Here are 9 tips that may help:

#1. Cutback on fluids at night

Water is necessary for your body’s functioning so don’t avoid drinking it so that you won’t feel like urinating all the time during the night. Throughout the day, ensure that you drink plenty of fluids. When evening becomes to set in, cut down on the fluids. Completely minimize the amount of water you take before bedtime to reduce the frequent nighttime urination. You could cut down your bathroom breaks from 20 minutes to 40 minutes which is quite something.

#2. Keep moving even when you don’t want to

Exercise is an important aspect of healthy living, especially during pregnancy. The weight of the pregnancy may be challenging but moving around can improve circulation and reduce leg cramps. In fact, active women have better sleep during pregnancy. Try to create a regular exercise routine during pregnancy. Unless your doctor advises against it, regular exercise should be done at least 30 minutes a day. 

Safe exercises during pregnancy include:

  • Walking for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Swimming and water workouts
  • Riding a stationary bike (not regular bikes because you might fall off them). 
  • Yoga and Pilates classes.
  • Low-impact aerobics classes. 
  • Strength training.  

Here you can read more information about safe exercises during pregnancy and exercises to avoid during pregnancy.

#3. Go to bed with a clear head

Stress and anxiety during pregnancy will hinder you from sleeping. Unload your worries to a friend or through journaling so thought you don’t have any unresolved stresses as you head to sleep.

Here are 8 things you can do to relieve stress during pregnancy:

  • Do breathing exercises – Stress can have major effects on your breathing that can have major effects on your sleeping. Breathing exercises can help you relax.
  •  Stretch to feel better fast.
  • Get plenty of rest during the day.
  • De-stress with a massage that is allowed during pregnancy.
  • Meditate during pregnancy – Meditation can help you cope with a variety of physical and emotional stresses during pregnancy, enable you to relax and focus your concentration, reduce stress, lower your blood pressure and enhance your peace of mind. You can find free meditation sessions on YouTube. 
  • Employ positive self-talk.
  • Sip on peppermint tea.
  • Talk to someone else about what’s bothering you.

#4. Get a new bedtime routine

Establish an evening routine of soothing and comfort before you sleep. To develop a relaxing bedtime routine you can:

  • Drink a cup of caffeine-free tea
  • Take a small snack like peanuts or crackers
  • Read a chapter of a good book
  • Take a warm shower
  • Get a shoulder massage

Any of these activities can help you sleep better during pregnancy. It is also important to keep a regular bed and wake time – even on weekends – to maintain the timing of the body’s internal clock and help you fall asleep and wake up more easily. 

#5. Stack the pillows

Doctors recommend that you should sleep on your left side after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This allows the best blood flow to the fetus and your uterus and kidneys. The second half of your pregnancy will be uncomfortable. Use one pillow under your knee and another under your belly to support you.

Check out these two types of pillows to use during your pregnancy:

PharMeDoc Pregnancy Pillow

PharMeDoc Pregnancy Pillow, Amazon
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Back & Bump Comfort Blue Cozy Pregnancy Pillow

Back & Bump Comfort Blue Cozy Pregnancy Pillow, Amazon
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#6. Avoid heartburns

Avoid reclining for an hour or two after taking a meal. Use elevated pillows in case you have heartburn. Avoid spicy, fried or acidic foods. Click here to read more information about how to deal with heartburn during pregnancy.

#7. Nap during the day

When you don’t get enough rest during the day, take a nap during the day, and reduce fatigue.

#8. Chill out

Reduce the temperature in your room since your body temperature is higher during pregnancy. Reducing the temperature could help you sleep better.

#9. Avoid electronics

Avoid electronics for at least an hour before bedtime. If that’s not possible, turn down the screen’s brightness and avoid bright light.

Figuring out how to get better sleep during pregnancy is not just important for your energy and mood, it is also important for your developing baby. 

Sleep changes during pregnancy trimesters

First trimester:

During the first trimester, women tend to cave a significant amount of sleep while the placenta grows. It is very common for expected mothers to feel sleepy and sometimes even fall asleep as early as 8 am. But don’t worry this tiredness will go away in the second trimester. 

Second trimester:

During this trimester the amount of sleep normalized to the amount you needed before your pregnancy. Many moms tell that this trimester is the time in pregnancy when they feel the best. The energy is back, the nausea is usually gone, and you start feeling your baby kicks. In this trimester, as the baby grows, there may be things that start to affect sleep, such as getting up and using the restroom more often.

Third trimester:

This trimester is the most challenging trimester when it comes to trying to get a good sleep. Your bump is getting bigger every day, and this is the trimester when pregnant women gain most of the pregnancy weight and start having sleep troubles. Tiredness can come from poor quality sleep due to factors like back pain, leg cramps, baby kicks, frequent urination urges, and substantial weight gain.

If you didn’t try yet, now is a good time to use these tips that can help you sleep better during pregnancy. When all else fails, enjoy those moments of wakefulness. Try something else that will work for you. It is without a doubt difficult to get good sleep during pregnancy. But be encouraged that it is only for a while.