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How to Sleep When Pregnant?

6 min read
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A pregnant woman sleeping in her bed with blanket

Being pregnant is an exciting period of life. However, pregnancy requires you to be extra cautious all the time, even during your sleep. Your sleeping position for pregnancy can affect the baby. Sleeping during pregnancy is a task in itself. You have to find a position that is convenient as well as safe for your baby.

 As per a survey, 78% of pregnant women find it difficult to sleep, and 15% suffer from restless leg syndrome. 

Here’s a guide about how to sleep when pregnant, pregnancy postures, and best ways to sleep while pregnant.

How to Sleep Comfortably While Pregnant

Sleeping comfortably during pregnancy becomes a difficult task. Here are some ways to sleep while pregnant. 

Use Lots of Pillows

You can have a pillow, below your back, between your legs, or any combination according to your convenience. You can also use pregnancy pillows and comfortable mattresses, which are readily available in the market.

It’s normal if you feel uncomfortable most of the time. Your body will get adjusted to it over time.

Create a Suitable Environment

Keep your room quiet, calm, and dark to have a good quality sleep. Extremely hot or freezing temperatures can disturb your sleep. Make sure there is no television in your room. Make sure there is no television in your room.

If the noise is unavoidable, you can listen to white music to calm your mind.

Keep a Consistent Bedtime

Try to sleep and wake up at the same time daily. Having a consistent bedtime helps you fall asleep quickly. You can avoid taking naps after 4 PM to sleep well at night. 

Check Your Food Habits

Consumption of caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, and heavy food around bedtime may make it harder for you to fall asleep. These food items increase the risk of GERD and consequently prevent you from sleeping.

Drink Plenty Water

Drink enough water throughout the day. But reduce your water intake around bedtime to avoid waking up to urinating at night.

Do Something Else

If you cannot sleep for some reason, and none of the pregnancy sleeping aid work, get up and try to indulge in something else. 

You can try doing the following:

  • Write your thoughts down in a journal. 
  • Read a book in bed.
  • Listen to white noise.
  • Or anything else until you fall asleep.

Best Sleeping Position While Pregnant

There’s always a conflict between pregnancy and sleeping. You may toss and turn to find the most comfortable position but end up staying awake all night. 

During the initial three months of pregnancy, it’s alright to sleep in any position one wishes to. After three months, it’s essential to be careful of how you sleep as it may affect your baby. 

Which side should you sleep on? There is no one answer to the best way to sleep during pregnancy; however, the best direction to sleep in the next two trimesters is on your left side.  This position increases blood flow to the uterus without pressuring the liver. Usually, sleeping on the right side during pregnancy is not recommended. 

If you suffer from hip or back pain, placing a pillow between the knees or bending your keep may help you in relieving the pain.  

Other Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy:

  • Raising upper body with pillows. This helps in avoiding heartburn.
  • Raising legs with pillows. This helps with leg swelling and pain.
  • Using a body pillow or pregnancy pillow for back support.

Sleeping on Back While Pregnant

Many women often ask this common question, “how to sleep on your back”. Medical experts advise women to avoid sleeping on their back during pregnancy after the second and third trimesters. It’s not a great sleeping position during pregnancy second trimester as this position puts pressure on your uterus, baby, and the vena cava. This central vein carries blood from the lower body to your heart.

Sleeping on Your Stomach While Pregnant

This is the most comfortable sleeping position when pregnant, but until you have a huge baby bump. A large tummy will make this position uncomfortable and impossible. If someday you find yourself sleeping on your stomach, there is nothing to worry about. Sleeping on your stomach won’t hurt your body. 

Importance of Sleep During Pregnancy

Pregnancy insomnia is common but sleeping well is good for the mother as well as the baby. Sleep helps in memory, appetite, mood, decision making, and more– everything is crucial when you are pregnant. According to many researchers, sleep deprivation is harmful to maternal and baby health

  • Sleep deprivation is terrible for immunity.
  • Sleep controls blood sugar; hence the lack of sleep can lead to gestational diabetes mellitus.  
  • Pregnant women with unhealthy sleep patterns have the risk of developing high blood pressure
  • Chronic sleep deprivation during pregnancy may also lead to preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a condition of premature delivery that is unhealthy for a mother’s heart, kidney, and other organs.
  • As per studies, poor sleep may also lead to premature birth, low weight birth, painful labor, and depression. 
  • Ongoing studies suggest that poor sleep may lead to sleeping and crying problems in babies. 

Why Does Sleep Change When Pregnant

How to sleep better while pregnant? Sleeping during pregnancy becomes a difficult task with time. Insomnia and pregnancy go hand in hand. Many factors contribute to this insomnia while pregnant. The change in hormones can cause various discomfort and transitions in your body, making sleeping difficult. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • High body temperature
  • Leg cramps
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breast tenderness
  • Back pain
  • Disturbing pregnancy dreams include nightmares during pregnancy and vivid dreams during pregnancy. 

As the baby bump grows big, it also becomes difficult to sleep comfortably on the bed. Most pregnant women face some of these symptoms from time to time. Sometimes these symptoms can be related to a sleep disorder. 

Common Sleeping Disorders and Problems During Pregnancy

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Weight gain and nasal congestion during pregnancy can lead to snoring. This can be risky for high blood pressure. Some of them may develop Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is characterized by snoring and disrupting sleep quality. 

OSA may disturb oxygen flow to the fetus and increase the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and cesarean sections

Restless Leg Syndrome

People with restless leg syndrome feel sensations like tickling and itching that cause an uncontrollable urge to move the legs throughout the night. This condition does not allow people to sleep comfortably at night.

One-third of women suffer from RLS in the third trimester of pregnancy. 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder

GRA causes discomfort, especially while sleeping. It causes a burning sensation in the food pipe. It is a common reason causing insomnia in pregnant ladies for all trimesters

Risks of Not Getting Enough Sleep When Pregnant

Sleeping is crucial in all stages of life, but especially pregnancy. Sleeping well is vital for the physical and mental well-being of the mother and the baby. Poor sleep can cause physical and psychological fatigue as well. You can also experience fatigue-related incidents. 

According to some researchers, sleep loss can lead to mood disorders like depression and pregnancy problems like fetus growth and preeclampsia. 

If you face any sleeping-related problems, you must consult a doctor to sleep well every night.

Conclusion

I hope the article answered the most critical question, ‘how to sleep when pregnant. There are a lot of things you may worry about during pregnancy. You don’t have to worry much about your sleeping position. Although, you need to worry about poor sleep. Give your body enough rest, sleep enough for the well-being of yourself and your baby.

FAQs

As your body works to develop and nurture the fetus, it’s normal to feel tired. In the first trimester, you may feel more sleepy than usual. 

A woman who generally sleeps for 8 hours might need to rest for 10 hours during pregnancy. Although, due to discomfort and other factors, she may sleep even less than 8 hours.

Sleeping with a pillow between your legs makes the position more comfortable, and it reduces back pain by keeping your spine neutral. 

There is no standard way of using a pregnancy pillow. However,  keeping the pillow between your legs will support your belly. Also, keeping it under your back helps you too.

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Sleep trainer working in New York City in a voluntary orthopaedic practise. Also an independent medical writer and designer.
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Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by healh experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians