Pregnancy is NOT the most comfortable time in your life, and that can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s normal if you can’t sleep while pregnant, but there are some hacks you can try to catch a few more zzz’s.
Of course, I’m not a medical professional. I am just sharing what has worked for me and you should consult with your doctor or midwife before trying anything new.
I also included some affiliate links below for your convenience. If you purchase any products I recommend through my link, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Why can’t you sleep while pregnant?
In the first trimester, it’s nausea or even acid reflux, that won’t let you rest. Then as the baby grows, and you grow too, your body starts getting random aches and pains all over.
From SPD to round ligament pain to hips and back being out of alignment, it can be hard to find a comfortable position.
Oh, and if you’re a stomach sleeper? Forget about getting cozied up in your normal position. It’s side sleeping for you now.
Besides the physical discomfort and inconvenience of getting up to pee all the time, there is also the insomnia.
You’re tired but you just can’t quite sleep.
The hormonal changes can bring tons of sleep disturbance between waking up in the night to not being able to fall asleep easily.
For me, just falling to sleep seemed to take forever. I’d just lay there waiting and waiting and waiting, but even though I was exhausted and dreamed of sleep all day, I just couldn’t fall asleep.
The closest thing I can compare pregnant dreams to is when I occasionally take cold medicine that knocks me out, but keeps my brain in this weird conscious state where I am almost lucid dreaming.
When pregnant, the hormones can create super real and vivid dreams that leave you with little rest.
Instead of getting restful sleep, you are in the dream state for a lot of the night.
How I get some zzz’s when I can’t sleep while pregnant
After two pregnancies now, I’ve gotten my bedtime routines down to a science. After trial and error, I’ve been able to create practices and routines that help me to *usually* get a good night’s sleep.
The first thing that all pregnant women absolutely NEED is a pregnancy pillow.
You’ll have to play around with what works best for you at the stage of pregnancy you’re in. Some moms like a legit pregnancy pillow and some just like to build a little nest of a ton of pillows to conk out in.
This one below is my favorite! I use it for 90% of my pregnancy, and it helps a ton with my hip pain that inevitably comes up with each pregnancy.
The Leachco Back n Belly pillow does just what the name would suggest. It supports BOTH the back and belly. What’s even cooler is that when you are in the earlier stages before your belly is too big you can use it to sleep face down!
This pillow ensures that if I can’t sleep while pregnant, it isn’t because I’m not comfy.
Start (or continue) a yoga practice
Yoga is such an amazing tool for pregnancy. Not only is the meditative quality great for relaxation and calming an active mine, but it helps alleviate a lot of the aches and pains of pregnancy.
During my first pregnancy with my daughter, I stuck to just simple routines I found on YouTube, but with my twins pregnancy, I got more serious about it.
When I was pregnant with the boys I attended 3-4 yoga classes per week at a local spot. I especially loved yin yoga, which is slow and easy-going. Perfect for when your belly is getting a bit too big for some of the poses.
Go for walks
Walking outdoor is like a magical drug in my opinion.
Assuming you don’t have any specific conditions that prohibit you from walking or getting much exercise, I would really recommend getting outside for walks as much as you can.
Not only does it strengthen your muscles that will be needed for birth, but it keeps you active, your body supple, and getting outside can help with your mood AND sleep. When you can’t sleep while pregnant, it’s super helpful to get lots of sunshine and fresh air.
Drink some herbal tea
You’ll have to consult with your doc or midwife on what you believe is safe for you, but I enjoyed herbal teas while pregnant.
I mostly stuck with widely used teas like chamomile and red raspberry leaf.
There’s something to soothing about a hot cup of tea before bed.
My favorite teas are these:
Take a hot bath or shower
For some, a shower is invigorating and wakes them up, but for me, I love a hot shower or bath!
Take caution because it isn’t recommended to use water that is TOO hot during pregnancy for the safety of mama and baby. But I always just use common sense and monitor how my body is feeling.
Essential oils for relaxation
Lavender essential oil is widely known to be incredibly relaxing, helping decrease stress and help people fall asleep.
The baby shampoo I even use on my kids has lavender in it to help them chill out a little bit.
Making a bedtime spray with lavender oil for your bed can help soothe you and lull you into a restful sleep.
If all else fails, try some medicine
Some nights are just tough.
As much as I love being as natural as possible, if I have been having trouble sleeping for multiple nights in a row and just really need a good rest, I will turn to more mainstream medicines.
In the first trimester, I take Unisom at night and B6 in order to help with nausea and morning sickness. I then wean off of it as the first trimester symptoms start to fade.
But sometimes I will try Unisom again if I just can’t seem to get some sleep.
Then if my hips or back are so painful, and the yoga and other natural methods don’t work, I will try a pain reliever like Tylenol.
Please do your own research on which medications you feel comfortable taking, and check with your medical team too. Medical recommendations may have changed since this post was published. So make sure you have current info.
I would love to know if this helps you when you can’t sleep while pregnant. Do you have any key tips to share with other mamas? Share them in the comments!
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