Everyone tells you to get as much sleep as you can now because once the baby is born it won’t come as easily. Well, sleep during pregnancy can be a challenge too. It starts with needing to go to the bathroom every five minutes and progresses into the discomfort of having a huge belly.
Pregnancy insomnia is pretty common. This is defined by having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both and is most likely to happen in the 1st and 3rd trimesters. With all of the unpleasant first trimester symptoms and the discomfort of a growing belly in the third trimester, it’s no wonder why pregnant women have a hard time sleeping.
In addition to the physical discomfort, many women feel anxious or stressed about preparing for a baby and the future which only leads to more difficulty sleeping.
I had a hard time sleeping, especially during my last trimester of pregnancy. Between my mind racing about all the things I needed to get ready for the baby and not being able to sleep on my stomach (I was a stomach sleeper before pregnancy), I just couldn’t get comfortable. Not to mention the fact that my baby was most active during the night. It felt like she was doing jumping jacks for hours every night!
Luckily, there are a few ways to help you get a better night’s sleep during pregnancy!
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What can you do to sleep better during pregnancy?
Don’t drink as much water at night
In the first trimester, the hormone changes happening in your body cause increased urine production, and, in the third trimester, your enlarged uterus puts pressure on your bladder. Both of these contribute to the annoying need to pee every five minutes.
As long as you’ve drank the recommended about of water during the day, cut back before bedtime so you can sleep for longer periods of time before being woken up by the need to pee.
I would drink a huge glass of water before bed every night because I was SO thirsty and ended up having to get up to use the bathroom within an hour of going to bed. Turns out, I was thirsty at night because I wasn’t drinking enough during the day. As soon as I started drinking more water throughout the day, that nighttime thirst went away and I was able to sleep a little better!
Use a nightlight
It’s inevitable that you’re going to have to use the bathroom at some point during the night. By putting a nightlight in the bathroom, you won’t have to turn on the blindingly bright lights and wake yourself up even more.
Stay active and stretch during the day
Leg cramps are common during pregnancy, especially when you’re lying down. It’s pretty uncomfortable being woken up because you have a massive cramp in your leg!
Staying active as well as hydrated can help ease leg cramps. Another way to get relief is by stretching your calf muscles before bed.
Take a warm shower before bed
A warm shower can help with leg cramps as well as congestion – another pregnancy symptom that affects a fair amount of women and can cause difficulty sleeping. The steam from the warm shower can help relieve congestion.
Another benefit of a warm shower at night is that it can help you relax. If you’re feeling anxious and stressed, try taking a shower before bed to see if it helps you fall asleep more easily.
Elevate your head with extra pillows when you sleep
If you’re one of the unlucky women who experiences congestion during pregnancy try propping your head up with pillows to help you breathe better.
Avoid spicy food and caffeine too close to bedtime
Heartburn can be a major cause of difficulty sleeping in pregnant women. It can be described as a burning sensation in the chest and tends to get worse when lying down.
By avoiding spicy food and caffeine close to bedtime, you can help eliminate this unpleasant feeling.
Don’t go to bed really full
Indigestion is more likely to happen when you’re full. So, try not to eat a big meal within 3 hours of going to bed. This will give your stomach time to settle and digest, hopefully making you more comfortable when it’s time to go to bed.
Find something that helps you relax
I know it feels like there are a million things to do in order to be prepared for your new baby. It’s okay to take a break from all the organizing and preparing.
If you’re feeling anxious and stressed, find something to take your mind off of it. Read a book, do yoga, or take a warm shower before you go to bed to help you relax.
Use a pregnancy pillow
As your baby bump grows, it can be difficult to get comfortable when lying down.
There are all kinds of pregnancy pillows to ease the tension in your hips, back, stomach, and sides. You can get a full-body pillow, wedge pillow, or just prop your legs and stomach up with extra bed pillows. Test out a few options and see what works best for you.
Sleep when you can
It’s well-known that sleeping gets more difficult and uncomfortable as pregnancy progresses. Your body will tell you when it needs sleep. So, if you feel tired at 2pm and need an afternoon nap, take it!
With time, you’ll learn what works best for you and what your new nightly routine looks like in order to sleep better throughout the night. I know those long sleepless nights are hard, but they’ll be worth it when you’re holding your newborn baby in a few short months – hang in there, momma!