If you’re reading this article, you likely are pregnant and can’t sleep. And I am so, so sorry! Not being able to sleep is one of the most frustrating parts of pregnancy. Solidarity, sister! Just for you, I asked the Mother Rising readers how to sleep better when pregnant and got some really good ideas.
The following are tips on how to sleep better when pregnant and have been broken down by…
- General pregnancy sleep tips
- Essential oils for better sleep during pregnancy
- Early pregnancy sleep tips
- Second trimester sleep tips
- Third trimester sleep tips
How to Sleep Better When Pregnant
General Pregnancy Sleep Tips
The following are general sleep tips to follow at any point in pregnancy to help you sleep better.
Did you know that caffeine is a stimulant? When ingested, it stimulates mom and baby’s nervous system. If taken too close to bed time, it will likely keep you AND your baby awake. A good rule of thumb is to not have any caffeine after 12 pm. That way, when bed time rolls around, you’ll be good and tired… and not wired!
Limit Liquids Before Bed
If you go to bed at 10 pm, starting around 7 – 8 pm, limit water and other liquids so that a full bladder won’t wake you during the night. Do, however, keep water on your nightstand so that if you do get thirsty it will be right there. Getting up out of bed and getting a glass of water is a good way to wake yourself up.
TIP: The OGGI is my new favorite water bottle. It’s stainless steel, small and it keeps cold drinks cold. Cold water is so helpful during pregnancy, especially when nauseated.
Eat a Light Snack Before Bed
Sometimes pregnant women wake up at night because they’re hungry. Before bed, eat a healthy, light snack to “get you through the night”. Yogurt with granola, cottage cheese, cereal, nuts and fruit are some good choices!
Wear Comfortable Clothes
The pregnant body is constantly changing, which means what was comfortable to wear yesterday might not work today. Some pregnant women prefer sleeping in the nude, while for others, that would drive them insane. Some women need a good sleep bra, where others swear by soft pajama pants. Whatever you wear, however, make sure it doesn’t have a tight waistband. Those are the worst.
Take a Epsom Salt Bath
When I asked the Mother Rising community how to sleep better when pregnant, one tip that came up often was to take an epsom salt bath before bed. Epsom salts will boost magnesium levels, decrease pregnancy aches and pains (naturally!), help relax and improve the mood, remove toxins and can even help with hemorrhoids!
TIP: Make sure to dry your hair completely before going to bed. For some women, wet hair is a barrier to good sleep!
Positive Affirmations, Meditation, and Prayer
Sometimes our worries and anxieties are what keeps us awake at night. One way to beat anxiety is to meditate on scripture and take everything to the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7).
Another idea, that I got from a Mother Rising reader, is to listen to the Andrew Johnson Meditation App called “Positive Pregnancy”. What a great idea!
Adjust the Air Quality
Depending on where you live, you may need to adjust the air quality. This might mean turning the heat or air conditioning on or off or up or down, using a humidifier, or maybe even a dehumidifier. And then pray for those that live in your home, that they may have a good attitude about all these changes. 😉
Essential Oils for Better Sleep During Pregnancy
Want more tips about how to sleep better when pregnant? Essential oils are a fun way to get more sleep during the long 9 (or 10!) months of pregnancy.
Lavender essential oil is my go-to for better sleep during pregnancy. It’s a safe essential oil for pregnancy, but it also has soothing, calming and anti-anxiety properties. Lavender is perfect for getting better sleep during pregnancy.
When buying lavender essential oils, you can’t go wrong with Plant Therapy and Aura Cacia!
An easy way to use lavender essential oil for better sleep during pregnancy is to simply diffuse 3-5 drops in the bedroom at bedtime. Amazon sells lots of highly rated, inexpensive essential oils diffusers that would work very well. At the end of your pregnancy, you could even use essential oils and a diffuser during labor!
Lavender on the Pillow
Another way to use lavender during pregnancy for better sleep is to place a few drops on the pillow. Some women love this, and others find the scent to be too powerful. Try it out and see what you think!
Lavender on the Temples
Rubbing lavender on the temples is another way to use lavender to get to sleep. Of course, you’ll want to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil. (For pregnancy, use a 1% dilution or 6 drops for every one fluid ounce.)
One of my favorite carrier oils is apricot kernel oil (it’s in my exfoliating facial cleanser), but there are lots of options! Coconut or olive oil would work great too!
Lavender Belly Butter
A really delicious and amazing way of incorporating lavender to sleep better is to make and use lavender belly butter every evening before bed. The recipe is pretty simple and can be made at home!
Early Pregnancy Sleep Tips
One of my quirky very early pregnancy symptoms… that seems to last for months, is pregnancy insomnia. I will start not sleeping well even before I get a positive pregnancy test. It’s insane!
One way I combatted pregnancy insomnia was, oddly enough, a morning sickness remedy – half a Unisom and B6. This remedy worked great for me. I felt less nauseous AND slept like a rock. Score!
Second Trimester Sleep Tips
You may have heard that when pregnant you’re not supposed to sleep on your back. Well, it’s true. Starting in the second trimester, but definitely by 20 weeks, when sleeping in bed you need to be on your right or your left side. Sleeping on the back during pregnancy is not good for proper circulation.
Also, beginning in the second trimester, a smattering of pregnancy pillows will become one of the most important players in how to sleep better when pregnant.
The Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow has around one million amazing reviews so I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s amazing.
TIP: Have multiple types of pillows on hand. What works one night may not work the next. Sometimes a body pillow will do the trick, while other times a configuration of 3 smaller pillows may be more comfortable.
If you haven’t started yet, the second trimester is a great time to get started with chiropractic care. A chiropractor can help relieve hip pain and sciatica, to name a few, which all impair sleep while pregnant.
Third Trimester Sleep Tips
If you’re in the third trimester and are on this page, you’re likely fed up and really needing to know how to sleep better when pregnant.
Heartburn is the worst and can absolutely prevent sleep from happening. I found that by cutting back on certain foods (processed, sugary foods were the worst, especially before bed) helped keep heartburn away. Also, I had decent luck with papaya enzymes and Tums.
Mama Natural has a good post all about pregnancy, heartburn and getting rid of it naturally.
Restless leg syndrome is one of the strangest, most aggrivating sensations I’ve ever experienced. I’d get all ready for sleep, climb in my bed and while focusing on going to sleep I repeatedly had the urge to move my legs, yet moving them never satisfied the urge. Obviously, restless legs is a hindrance to sleep when pregnant.
I found that taking CALM, a calcium and magnesium supplement, helped to resolve that problem AND it helped me to sleep better.
Especially in the third trimester, it’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to sleep in different places. The couch and guest bedroom might be just what you need to get better rest!
How to Sleep Better When Pregnant
Knowing how to sleep better when pregnant can literally change everything. When good (or even decent) sleep happens, mama’s happy and everybody’s happy. Best of luck to you!
Leave a comment and let me know your best sleep tips for pregnancy. Thank you!
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I've had CHRONIC sinus problems during this pregnancy. Took me forever to figure out a good situation for me, so I actually made a video of what worked for me, in case any of it will work for another struggling mama: https://youtu.be/Ju9X6LoKzk4