If you’re looking for help getting some sleep while pregnant – you’re in the right place
I have ALWAYS struggled to sleep. I don’t know what my deal is – sometimes it’s insomnia, sometimes it’s back pain, sometimes it’s anxiety… and, sometimes it’s just BEING PREGNANT. Getting a decent night’s sleep while pregnant is it’s own kind of hell for me.
Talk about doing the impossible!
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
When I’m not pregnant, if I’m desperate to get to sleep, I take unisom. Despite the fact that some sleep aids are considered safe in pregnancy, I’m in the “less chemicals for my baby is always best” camp, so I haven’t gone that route.
It doesn’t help AT ALL that after a certain point (20 weeks, they say) we’re supposed to not to sleep on our backs (this is the ONLY WAY I sleep). I asked my doctor about this at my last pre-natal and he said, “well, yeah, pregnant women aren’t really supposed to sleep on their backs, but it’s the same as babies. They’re not really supposed to sleep on their stomachs… but what are you gonna do if baby rolls onto their tummy and insists on sleeping that way?”
I get that he was saying if it’s beyond my control I shouldn’t worry about it, but that doesn’t make it EASY to not worry about. (It is good to note though, that the risks of sleeping on your back while pregnant are probably slim, and MOST pregnant women sleep on their backs at least sometimes with no ill effects. I’m nearing 30 weeks now, and still wake up on my back every morning.)
Lately, the NEW impossible thing is that I just lay there awake, no matter what position I’m trying to sleep it, NOT feeling tired. Just thinking about thigngs, like… oh I dunno, the way a baby is going to change our lives, wondering when will I go into labor – all that good stuff! (But I know I’m tired, because if I sit down to watch TV with my kiddo in the day, my eyes close almost instantly. But I seem to have a good dose of pregnancy insomnia happening at night.)
Well, last night I slept for 5.5 hours in a row – and then went back to sleep for 2 more hours. That’s over 7 hours of sleep while pregnant – something that has literally never happened to me before!
What did I do differently?
You won’t believe it:
Magnesium supplements are helping me to FINALLY get some sleep during pregnancy
Yeah – I know. That doesn’t sound ground breaking in any way…
Since I started taking them last week – I take them right at bed time – I still go to bed feeling wide awake and frustrated like always, but within a half hour my eyes are so heavy I can’t possibly keep them open… I can even fall asleep ON MY SIDE. For me, it seems like the secret to getting some sleep while pregnant is as simple as magnesium supplements!
Obviously, before we go any farther, this needs to be said:
Under no circumstances should you ever take ANYTHING while pregnant before you talk to your doctor, your midwife, your healthcare provider. I am not telling you to take magnesium supplements while pregnant – I am telling you to talk to your doctor about them.
Pregnant women DO need magnesium, but often it’s included in your prenatal vitamin – and you want to be sure that you’re taking the recommended amount.
All that said, it’s sure making a difference for me. 7 hours of sleep in one night, while pregnant, has made me feel like a new person! (Not all supplements are created equal, and this is the one I’m taking because it is a good quality supplement from a company that my naturopath recommends.)
If you’re really struggling to find a way to sleep better during pregnancy, I’d consider trying magnesium supplements.
A few other solutions to help you sleep better during pregnancy:
Pillows – lots and lots of pillows
I find that being surrounded by pillows is the ONLY way to sleep while you’re pregnant. One behind my back so I can “lean” on it – that keeps me from rolling flat onto my back. One between my knees, one under the side of my tummy so it’s not “hanging” onto the bed – put pillows where ever you need them to support yourself!
Try a pregnancy pillow – one of those giant C shaped things – they can be expensive, but you can save 50$ on one here with the code mommyonpurpose50.
Try essential oils for getting a better sleep no matter which trimester of pregnancy you’re in
Lavender oil can really help me drift off.
If you’re hesitant to use essential oils on your body while pregnant, you can just diffuse them near your bed. As long as you use a diffuser made for essential oils, you’re good. You don’t need to buy an uber expensive one from an oil company either – a cheapy like this works just fine!
Try sleeping alone – or where ever you need to!
This was one of the most important things I did during my first pregnancy to help me sleep.
We’ve never been a “sleep separately” couple, but while I was pregnant I needed to be able to sprawl out, surround myself with my pillows, not worry about waking someone else up with my tossing and turning… and I REALLY didn’t need to be woken up by his alarm at 6 – when I had just finally fallen asleep at 4.
We slept separately for the last 3 months of pregnancy and it was a good thing to do.
I have a cousin who slept… ON THE FLOOR while she was pregnant, because it was the only place she could get comfy.
Do what works!
Deal with anxiety and stress – and avoid things that cause pregnancy worries!
I have bad anxiety all the time, but being pregnant can really compound it.
Dealing with anxiety (and stress) is important if you want to have a truly peaceful sleep. For me, that meant not reading many pregnancy books – even though it was tempting, I found them to be just far too worry-causing… thinking about all the things that could go wrong.
Use heat or ice for back pain
It’s almost impossible to sleep when you’re pregnant if your back hurts – and I know this first hand. My back ached for six solid months my last pregnancy, and laying on an ice pack for 2o minutes before bed REALLY helped ease the pain.
(Tylenol is also suggested to be safe by most doctors – but always ask yours before you take anything.)
Eat before bed
Obviously anything heavy, greasy, or spicy would be a bad idea – you don’t need to wake up at midnight with heartburn… but I wake up STARVING if I don’t eat something light before bed. I’ve found that these protein bars or a yogurt is a safe bet for me. It also seems to help me fall asleep faster!
Try apple cider vinegar for heartburn
On the other hand, sometimes no matter how careful you are about what you eat, heartburn just happens when you lay down.
I have a small glass of apple cider vinegar every evening while pregnant and it is really great for preventing heartburn! It’s also an option that allows you to skip medication, which is always preferential when pregnant in my opinion. Make sure you’re using a good quality apple cider vinegar like this one (it’s what I use).
Drink plenty of water early in the day, so you can avoid drinking much before bed
Nothing makes me thirsty like being pregnant… but thirst is also a sign that we NEED water.
So make a point to drink plenty of water between morning and supper time – so you’re less likely to be parched into the evening. The less you can drink in the evening, the fewer trips to the bathroom you’ll need to make in the middle of the night.
Drinking lots of water also helps with muscle cramps, and not being woke with muscle cramps is always a good thing.
If you do wake up in the night to pee, DO NOT look at your phone
NO! It just wakes you up.
Keep a small night light in the hall if you have to, but don’t pick up your phone.
Try to avoid daytime naps
I know this is rough when you are just. so. tired. (and possibly not sleeping well at night either), but napping in the day will make it harder to fall asleep at night.
Limit caffeine and blue light
Obviously this is the same as when you’re NOT pregnant and trying to sleep, but it’s even more important when you’re pregnant and everything else is working against you for sleeping as well.
We know these things. We just have to be responsible enough to put down the coffee and our phones.
Do you have great tips for how to sleep while pregnant? Share them with us!
Expecting a baby? You might be interesting in these related articles: