December 28, 2021 6 min read

As your baby grows, your body will go through several changes that may impact your ability to achieve a good night’s rest. From heartburn to various aches and pains, it can be challenging to rest up before the baby arrives, especially if you’re in the third trimester. This is because your body ramps up estrogen production during this time, causing many women to experience sleep apnea or frequent snoring.

If you’re looking for some nighttime relief so you can sleep well, we’ve compiled some of the best tips in one convenient location. In this guide, we’ll go over the top 8 ways to rest during pregnancy and highlight the benefits for you and your baby. Read on to learn ways to achieve a peaceful slumber, or use the links below to navigate the post. 

The Importance Of Sleep While Pregnant

If you’re wondering why sleep is important, the short answer is that sleep allows the body to repair itself and retain information for a fresh start the following day. Not getting an adequate amount of rest can make you feel drowsy, impacting your memory and mood. Besides making you feel tired throughout the day, not sleeping enough while pregnant can increase your risk of developing pregnancy complications. This includes:

  • High blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Longer labor times
  • Increased chances of cesarean section

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should receive seven or more hours of sleep nightly for optimal health. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take if you’re obtaining less sleep than the recommended amount.

Lack of sleep during pregnancy infographic

8 Tips For Getting Quality Sleep During Pregnancy

Let’s face it; once your baby makes their way into the world, sleep deprivation is going to be the new norm. So, it’s vital to get as much sleep as you can before then. If you’re tossing and turning well into the night while pregnant, consider implementing one or more of the tips below into your nighttime routine.

1. Find a Comfortable Sleeping Position

Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be extremely difficult as an expectant mother, especially as your bundle of joy continues to grow larger and larger with every passing day. But, how exactly should you sleep while pregnant?

The American Pregnancy Association suggests pregnant women sleep on their side to sleep comfortably while pregnant. Doing so can relieve lower back pain, minimize snoring, improve circulation, and ease heartburn symptoms. While it can be tempting to sleep on your back or stomach, avoid doing so to prevent further discomfort or complications.

For example, sleeping on your back can lead to low pressure and backaches, while sleeping on your stomach can be uncomfortable with a larger midsection. If you must sleep on your stomach while pregnant, you can use a donut-shaped pillow.

Adjust your eating and drinking schedules

2. Adjust Your Eating And Drinking Schedule

Eating or drinking too close to your bedtime can keep you up at night due to heartburn or frequent trips to the bathroom. Here are a few eating and drinking recommendations that can help you avoid this:

  • Limit caffeine intake, particularly after 3 p.m.
  • Avoid eating large meals before bedtime to prevent heartburn
  • Drink water between meals instead of after
  • Avoid heart heartburn triggers, such as greasy or spicy food

Manage disordered breathing

3. Manage Disordered Breathing

As your weight increases, you can develop sleep apnea, which is a common sleep disorder that causes your airway to become blocked. In most cases, this prompts individuals to wake up throughout the night due to insufficient oxygen. Another example of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is snoring. Here’s how you can manage disordered breathing:

 

  • Use a dehumidifier to prevent your nasal passages from becoming irritated and drying out
  • Use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to keep your airways open (make sure to consult your doctor prior to doing so)
  • Keep your head elevated as you sleep

 Prevent leg cramping

4. Prevent Leg Cramping

During pregnancy, your legs work harder to support you and your developing baby, leading to cramping and even RLS. Restless Leg Syndrome is another fairly common sleep disorder that can cause your feet to continuously move as your sleep. Other symptoms of RLS include feelings of crawling, itching, or burning.

Pregnant woman rubbing cramping leg

You can ease leg cramps with the following tips:

  • Increase blood flow to your legs
  • Stretch and massage your legs before bedtime
  • Stay physically active
  • Take magnesium supplements
  • Drink water
  • Choose comfortable shoes
  • Increase your calcium intake

Avoid sleep aids

5. Avoid Sleep Aids

Certain sleeping aids, regardless of whether they’re prescribed or over-the-counter, should be avoided while pregnant since they can hurt the baby. However, other aids for sleeping can be used safely and are a viable option for getting a good night’s rest. Before introducing a new medication, sleeping supplement, or natural remedy into your life, make sure to speak with a doctor.

Practice relaxation techniques

6. Practice Relaxation Techniques

If you’re having trouble staying asleep, it can be due to chronic stress. While pregnancy is an incredibly exciting time, it’s also full of uncertainty and stress, especially for new parents. Stress can cause complications for you and your baby. For instance, premature birth, elevated blood pressure, and low birth weight. Not getting enough sleep can also exasperate stress further. A few relaxation techniques to practice that can lower your stress include:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Daily walks
  • Self-care
  • Breathing exercises

Optimize your sleep environment

7. Optimize Your Sleep Environment

One essential component of proper sleep hygiene is having a comfortable and soothing sleep environment. Optimizing your bedroom for sleep can allow you to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

  • Keep your sleeping space clean and tidy
  • Invest in comfortable bedding (this includes mattresses, sheets, and pillows), especially a Pregnancy and Maternity Body Pillow.
  • Eliminate outside noises with earplugs
  • Set your thermostat to the ideal temperature for sleep
  • Ensure your room is dark and free of distractions
  • Limit exposure to harsh light from phones, TVs, tablets, or computers
  • Use your room only for sleeping

Creating the best sleeping environment will take some trial and error, but you’ll be glad once you find a method that works for you.

Invest in a pregnancy pillow

8. Invest In A Pregnancy Pillow

While a pregnancy pillow may seem like a luxury or unnecessary purchase, it can actually do wonders for your sleep. This is because pregnancy pillows are often designed with a pregnant women’s unique needs in mind. Pillows for pregnant women are typically long to accommodate your entire body and will come in different shapes, including C-shaped, U-shaped, J-shaped, and wedge-shaped.

MedCline’s Therapeutic Body Pillow can provide comfort as you continue your pregnancy journey. It’s unique J-shape can help relieve discomfort, reduce gestational acid reflux, and ease back pain. Plus, you can continue to use it post-pregnancy for support during nursing.

If you’re still struggling to get enough sleep despite using the tips above, consider reaching out to your doctor. As mentioned, lack of sleep during pregnancy can cause several pregnancy-related complications, including pre-term birth and preeclampsia. So, it’s crucial to get any sleeping issues taken care of as soon as possible. Your doctor will also be able to provide guidelines for common causes of sleep problems, such as pain, heartburn, and insomnia, to help you sleep better.

Pregnant woman on bed

How to Sleep While Pregnant: Frequently Asked Questions

Sleeping while pregnant is no easy feat. Whether you’re suffering from pain or just can’t find a comfortable position to sleep in, the frequently asked questions below should help guide you in the right direction.

What is the most comfortable sleeping position while pregnant?

Ultimately, the most comfortable sleeping position will depend on your specific needs and situation. For example, you may not mind sleeping on your stomach during the start of your pregnancy. But, as the baby grows, sleeping this way can become much harder due to tender breasts and a larger midsection. If you’re having a difficult time sleeping comfortably, side sleeping is recommended by many experts.

Which sleep positions should I avoid while pregnant?

Sleeping positions that should be avoided during pregnancy include back and stomach positions. Sleeping on your back can decrease your circulation, limiting the amount of oxygen your heart and baby receive. It can also affect your digestive system and cause back pain. On the other hand, sleeping on your stomach can generally be uncomfortable.

Is not getting enough sleep harmful to your baby?

Unfortunately, not receiving a sufficient amount of sleep can cause harm to you and your baby. Not sleeping can lead expectant mothers to develop high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. It can also cause premature birth.

Final Notes

Sleep is incredibly important to your health and your baby’s development, so consider using the tips mentioned in this article to ensure you get a peaceful slumber once and for all. There are enough trials and tribulations of pregnancy, and we believe sleep shouldn’t be one of them. With our therapeutic body pillow, your belly, knees, back, hips, and necks will receive the necessary support for a good night’s rest.