Sleeplessness During Pregnancy

Sleeplessness is a common problem observed in most expecting mothers. You may be tired, but still could not manage to sleep. You can consider this as a trial period for you where the Mother Nature is preparing you for the upcoming sleepless nights you will need to spend for your new baby.

Reasons for Sleeplessness

During pregnancy, nights will appear long which will pass with several tosses and turns. There can be several reasons resulting in this frustrating situation; a few of these are mentioned below.

Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy
  • This is the most common cause as hormonal changes keep on occurring during pregnancy. These changes make women feel fatigued and tired.
  • The progesterone hormone levels raise in the body system and this creates a sedative effect in women.
  • The prolonged tiredness causes a change in sleep patterns of pregnant women, especially during their first trimester. Even taking more amount of rest during the daytime can cause insomnia in pregnant women.
  • Anxiety can also cause insomnia during early stages of pregnancy.
  • Worries about the baby’s future, health and/or parenting responsibilities can make a good night’s sleep for a pregnant woman quite difficult.
  • Even the good news that you are going to become a mother makes you anxious as the pregnancy continues and this can also be a factor for causing insomnia.
Frequent Urination
  • The frequent urge to urinate is the biggest problem one faces during pregnancy. This is due to the expansion of the uterus on the bladder demanding frequent emptying of the bladder.
  • In cases, where the baby is exceptionally active inside the womb, night time urination will be frequent.
  • When the amount of blood increases in the body during pregnancy, it leads to extra fluid accumulation through the kidneys and then the bladder. An urge to urinate during the nights can wake you up and it really makes you feel very hard to get back to sleep again.
General Discomfort
  • Sometimes, when the baby kicks or makes movement, the heartbeat of the mother increases. Such rise in heartbeat can make sleeping highly uncomfortable. The mother’s body pumps more blood to the uterus, increasing the heart rate.
  • A good sleeping position can help in preventing cramps, soreness, pain and discomfort of muscles.
  • The expanding uterus generally exerts pressure on the diaphragm. This restricts the airflow, resulting in short breaths.
Vivid Dreams
  • Vivid dreams resulting in wakefulness are reported by countless expecting moms.
  • This is the result of the hormone (progesterone).
  • Dreaming is a way of processing our feelings and thoughts of the whole day. And anxiety is often found resulting in bad dreams more frequently.
Heartburn, Indigestion and Constipation
  • The increasing size of the uterus shifts other internal organs around the stomach. The stomach also gets pushed from the underneath.
  • During the bed time, the digestion slows down but the stomach gets cramped making the flap between the stomach and the esophagus difficult to get closed.
  • The unclosed flap allows the food forced back up. This results in pain and heartburn.
  • The hormones in the body makes the process of digestion slower and also forces the food to stay longer time in the stomach resulting in heartburn and indigestion.
Obsessive Thinking
  • This is though not frequent but occurs in majority of cases.
  • The worry, obsessive thought and planning for the impeding delivery can also be a culprit. This can also cause wakefulness.

Sleepless Nights in Expecting Moms – Causes and Solutions:Table

S.No. Pregnancy Phase Causes Solution
1. First Trimester Anguish, emotions, excitement
2. Morning Sickness at night Ginger tea, Relief Band and Ginger Root
3. Hot flashes
4. Internal changes
5. Frequent urination Pelvic rocking
6. Second Trimester Breasts leaking Breast Pads
7. Baby moving
8. Frequent urination Pelvic rocking
9. Hot flashes
10. Third trimester Backache Pregnancy Pillow, recommended exercises
11. Body ache Pregnancy Pillow, recommended exercises
12. Breasts leaking Breast Pads
13. Baby kicking
14. Frequent urination Pelvic rocking
15. Braxton Hicks Contractions
16. Hot Flashes

Comfortable Pregnancy Sleeping Positions

Sleeping during pregnancy can be quite challenging. The increased belly size does not allow you to lie properly. However, some comfortable pregnancy sleeping positions can help to a certain extent.

As mentioned above, the body goes through a lot of changes which might disturb the sleeping pattern. Reasons like back-pain, shortness of breath, heartburn etc., also add to the misery of sleeplessness. Still taking rest during pregnancy is of paramount importance. You may want to try some of the below suggested sleeping postures during pregnancy to get a peaceful sleep.

The following positions are recommended for expecting mothers:

  • The best posture to sleep during pregnancy is “SOS”, i.e. sleep on side. This will help in relieving the back pain.
  • You can try placing a pillow under your growing belly for that extra support. Sleeping on the left side is advised. This will increase the flow of nutrients and blood to the placenta. Bend your knees and legs and place a pillow in between. This is one of the best pregnancy sleeping positions, providing the much-needed comfort.
  • In case of a heartburn, elevate the upper body by placing some soft pillows underneath.
  • When you experience shortness of breath, lie on your side. You may even place some pillow underneath.
Sleep Positions You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

Sleeping on the Back

Lying on your back can cause backaches, breathing and digestive problems, low blood pressure, hemorrhoids, decreased blood circulation to the heart and the fetus. This happens as the abdomen rests on the intestines and the blood vessels.

Sleeping on the Stomach

The growing stomach prevents you from lying on the stomach. This is a very uncomfortable position to sleep during pregnancy.

Besides these pregnancy sleeping positions, you need to take care of your diet. Make sure to use proper mattresses and comfortable bed. Wear loose clothes when you go to bed. Make the sleeping atmosphere calm and inviting.

Tips for Sound Sleep

    • Consume water in abundant amounts, i.e. about 8 glasses a day but, try to drink less during the nights. Staying hydrated reduces the symptoms like swelling, fever, etc and therefore, gives better sleep at nights with less wake ups. Drink only when you feel thirsty during nights.


    • Avoid taking caffeine and all forms of chocolates especially after noon, since they raise the blood sugar levels, especially during nights.


    • See to it that you take light snacks before going to bed to stay away from hunger pains. You can take warm milk or decaffeinated tea as well as a complex carbohydrates and protein diet such as whole-grain muffin and cheese. Avoid alcohol completely to stay away from sleeplessness. If you are feeling nauseated, munch on bland snacks such as crackers the whole day. Take a well-balanced healthy diet. This not only helps you with good health, but also protects your child’s health. Getting essential nutrients keeps your body satisfied and less prone to sleeplessness nights.


    • Perform regular exercises at day and early evening times. Exercising helps improve your blood circulation and can help you get a good night’s sleep. It also reduces the frequency of leg cramps that are quite common in pregnant women. Do not exercise just before the bedtime as it results in release of adrenaline and endorphins into the body that can keep you awake all night.


    • Make sure the room has comfortable temperature and should have access to fresh air that is calming and sleep-inducing.


    • Make the habit of taking a warm shower just before the bedtime. It gives a relaxing and soothing effect and thus provides a sound sleep.


    • Follow some relaxation techniques, especially before the bedtime. Reading a book, listening to music, afoot massage by your partner or meditation are some of the ways that help in providing relaxation before the bedtime. Yoga is considered a good form of both relaxation and exercise. These techniques help in leaving away all the worries and stresses and give you a good night’s sleep.


    • Calming sounds or “white noise” are also good ideas that provide calming effect and make a person fall asleep. They include nature sounds of running water, birds, etc.


    • Pregnancy is the time you should go for new mattress as softness fits your preference. The bed should provide even and good support to your body. A suitable mattress can make you get better quality sleep and can make a huge difference. It is common that pregnant women take more space and accordingly choose comfy and soft bed linens. They help you in breathing well and also help you to be comfortable when you are prone to hot flashes.


    • Get some maternity pajamas especially designed for pregnant women for extra comfort. Elasticized pajama shorts, bottoms and sleep shirts all are effective in giving comfort. You need to wear breathable cotton clothes so as to stay warm as you often experience hot and cold flashes due to poor circulation and hormone fluctuations.


    • Use pillows to support your tummy and back while sleeping. Even keeping a pillow in between the legs supports your lower back and helps you sleep easier on the side. There are certain pillows that can be used to relieve sleep problems during pregnancy. They are full length body pillow and wedge-shaped pillow.


    • Avoid over-the-counter and prescription medications during pregnancy. There are even medications that can help you to provide good sleep during pregnancy. But see to it that you take your physician’s advice before taking any medications or any other therapies.


    • Taking one or two catnaps during the daytime improves sleep during pregnancy. Avoiding getting overtired keeps you relaxed and thus, the body does not put out adrenaline allowing you to have a good sleep.


    • Maintain a routine time to go to bed. Make sure you go to bed the same time every night as this can make your body accustomed to regular bedtime routine.


    • If you are sensitive to the noises that come from surroundings, it is better you wear ear plugs to avoid the noise.


Talk to your doctor if your sleep problems are severe. Know more about How to Treat Insomnia During Pregnancy.

Natural Remedies for Sleeplessness in Pregnant Women

An expecting mother requires more sleep to re-fuel and keep moving because the growing fetus puts a lot of strain on the woman’s body. The new hormones cycling in their bodies increase fatigue or tiredness. Symptoms vary in each trimester. Few such information are given below to fight insomnia in pregnant women naturally.

First Trimester

A woman is destined to go through a various phases of emotions. It is all due to the various hormones that play in her body during this period. So sleep can be a challenge during this period. Symptoms like blossoming breasts, constipation, nausea, frequent urination and signs of ever-expanding uterus can disturb your sleep. If you are a tummy-sleeper, then again your sleeping habit will make your sleep uncomfortable.

Tips to help Sleep in the First Trimester
    • Sleep whenever you feel like. Take as much rest as you need. This will prevent your symptoms from getting worse.
    • Take small power naps instead of long sleeping hours.
    • Drink a lot of water (of fluids) during the day, but cut them down during the nighttime.
    • Small snacks can combat nausea and prevent you from getting an empty tummy. Large meals must be avoided.
    • Prefer sleeping on your left side as this will improve blood circulation.
    • Using extra pillow under belly or between your legs would also promote a comfortable sleep.
    • Try to go to bed at the same time everyday.

Know more about Sleeplessness in Early Pregnancy.

Second Trimester

This phase involves least chances of miscarriage along with a lowered extremities of nausea, frequent urination, sleeplessness and other signs of pregnancy. Vivid dreams, heartburn, indigestion etc. are observed during this stage. But the only restriction is the enlarging uterus, which can make your sleep quite uncomfortable.

Natural remedies to help Sleep in the Second Trimester
  • Avoid eating foods that are spicy, fried or fatty.
  • Always sleep in such a position that would keep your stomach acid down. Keep your head and neck in an elevated position.
  • Eating frequent small meals are better than eating full larger meals.
  • You may use antacids under medical supervision to fight undesirable stomach conditions.
  • Lie on your side with hips and knees bent.
  • Pillows may be placed under the tummy or between your knees. Some may prefer using pillows behind your back.
  • Do not eat more before going to bed.
Third Trimester

The most sleep challenged phase is the third trimester. Extreme weight gain, severe discomfort, frequent urination and preparing for the new born can make you stay awake the whole night. Fetal hiccups, fetal movements can impede your sleep. Aches and pains are common conditions related to the struggle to sleep.

Natural Remedies to Overcome Insomnia in the Third Trimester
    • Sleep on your left side to promote blood flow to the fetus, kidneys and uterus.
    • Body pillow may be used to fight the discomfort.
    • Do not consume sodas or other carbonated drinks, as it can cause leg cramps.
    • In case of sudden snoring and swelling in the nasal passage, medical advise must be seeked immediately.
    • For Restless Legs Syndrome, iron deficiency can be a cause. So you may consult your gynaecologist.
    • Try to do something else to divert your attention if you are getting thoughts that are causing anxiety.
    • Some mild stretching exercises can help you fight the pain and cramps.

Find out more about Insomnia in Late Pregnancy.

1 response to Sleeplessness During Pregnancy

  1. what is the best position of lying during pregnancy? and can expecting mother takes sleeping tablet during sleepless night?

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