Sleep and Pregnancy: How to Get Sleep as Your Discomfort Grows

It’s no secret that a growing pregnant body can make it hard to sleep. When you’re pregnant, you’re dealing with normal sleep disturbances like noise, a restless partner, or an uncomfortable mattress while experiencing leg cramps, backaches, and heartburn. But, there are things you can do to improve the quality and, hopefully, the quantity of your sleep.

Pregnancy Sleep Challenges

The sleep problems associated with pregnancy change with each trimester. You may experience one or all of the following at any time during your pregnancy (this list is by no means exhaustive):

  • Increased Urination: Three or four bathroom trips a night isn’t unusual in the third trimester. If you have trouble falling back asleep, you’re looking at serious sleep deprivation.

  • Heartburn: Heartburn usually rears its ugly head during the third trimester but for some women, it lasts the full nine months.

  • Back Pain: Your body is working hard to support more weight and a changing center of gravity, which puts more pressure on the back.

  • Leg Cramps: Weight gain contributes to leg cramps, and they tend to increase during the third trimester.

  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS): Do your legs need to keep moving all the time as soon as you lie down? You’re not alone, many women struggle with RLS when pregnant. Luckily, it usually subsides after birth.  

  • Non-Pregnancy Sleep Issues: If you already had sleep issues like insomnia, teeth grinding, or restlessness those issues will probably continue during pregnancy.

Sleep Solutions for Pregnancy

All hope is not lost. Your sleep cycle is responsive to personal habits and behaviors, which gives you more control over the quality of your sleep. Couple good sleep habits with a few changes that target pregnancy-related sleep problems and you’ll be resting easy before you know it.

Try a Body Pillow

A body pillow addresses a few comfort issues at once. These long pillows can be placed between the knees, underneath the belly, or behind the back for extra support. It might take some trial and error to find a position that alleviates your back and/or knee pain, but a body pillow is one of the simplest solutions to nighttime discomfort.

Hydrate Early in the Day

Good hydration keeps you and your baby healthy just be sure to drink most of your water early in the day and slow down in the late afternoon. If you can, avoid drinking anything a couple of hours before bed to reduce nighttime bathroom trips.

Eat Small, Frequent Meals

Like the rest of your internal organs, your stomach comes under increased pressure as your baby grows, which also increases your chances of heartburn. Instead of eating three large meals a day, try eating smaller, more frequent meals. Avoid stomach-irritating foods that contain high amounts of oil and fat and watch out for acidic foods like lemons and tomatoes, too.

Use Your Bedtime Routine Wisely

Your bedtime routine is the time to deal with issues that may have built up throughout the day. A warm bath can help an aching back and leg cramps, while some gentle yoga stretches and meditation can relieve other sources of physical tension.

Turn Down the Thermostat

A room temperature of 60 to 68 degrees helps most people sleep comfortably at night. However, you may need even lower temperatures during pregnancy due to an increase in blood supply and weight that leaves many women warmer than usual.


A few simple changes might be all it takes to get the full seven to nine hours of sleep you need. It’s worth making an extra effort to get a good night’s rest because, as you already know, once your baby is here, sleep will be harder to come by.