You are pregnant and so. darn. tired.
No matter what you try you just can’t get any sleep at night. You still hve 1,256,893 days left of pregnancy and you just need to figure out how to sleep comfortably so you can actually accomplish something the next day.
Trust me, I’ve been there too!
Sleeping comfortably during pregnancy are four little words that are almost criminal to put in the same sentence.
But there are some things we can do during pregnancy to help us sleep a little better.
I am going to share some tips for how to reduce pain & help your body relax at night so you can be as comfortable as possible and get some sleep!
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All About Sleep in Pregnancy
During the first trimester of pregnancy, your uterus will grow to the size of a grapefruit and still sit nicely inside your pelvis.
There are no restrictions for safe sleeping positions during this portion of pregnancy. Feel free to toss and turn without worrying that you are going to do any damage your baby.
During the first trimester you will probably feel fatigued and sleep more than ever. You can thank all the raging hormones for this one and you will miss all the amazing naps!
So don’t feel guity! Just enjoy napping as much as you can!
Some of the things that could contribute to poor sleep during the first trimester of pregnancy include nausea, vomiting, and an increased urge to urinate.
-Sleep loss from nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are miserable reasons to be losing sleep so I am going to suggest some safe remedies for this.
Studies actually link morning sickness to signs of a healthy pregnancy. It means you have plenty of the hormones that support pregnancy flowing through your body.
You may have not heard of homeopathic remedies yet, but they work wonderfully for pregnancy symptoms!
Dr. Axe does a great explanation of what is homeopathy for those who have never heard of it.
If your nausea is worse in the morning and vomiting is occurring at random times, try taking Nux Vomica 6C 3 times a day. Nux Vomica can be ordered on Amazon.
If you have non-stop nausea and are even vomiting, try taking the homeopathic preparation of Ipecac 30C 3 times a day. Ipecac can be ordered on Amazon.
It is also helpful to each small frequent meals and keep ginger chew by your bedside at night. You can suck on these as soon as you wake up which will start to raise your blood sugar and soothe your stomach.
-Sleep loss from frequent urination
You might think peeing all the time is only for when your uterus is huge.
Well for some women (like me) your increased need to pee starts at the very beginning.
This is because of the increase in blood production and once again, the hormones.
Unfortunately for us, the bigger our uterus gets, the more it pushes on our already overactive bladder, so this problem never really goes away until MONTHS into the postpartum period.
If you can, try to drink less water as it gets closer to bedtime.
This was a real struggle for me. The evening seemed to be the time I finally slowed down and was able to concentrate on hydrating.
One thing that did help was leaning forward when I was peeing so that I could completely empty my bladder.
My husband and I actually switched sides of the bed. His side was closer to the bathroom and I wanted to shorten the distance so I wouldn’t wake up as much.
This is definitely worth a try because you may find that you are able to go to the bathroom half asleep.
The secome trimester is really the cream filling in the middle of the ice cream sandwich. And that’s to say, it’s the best part.
You start to feel your baby move which is so exciting, but your uterus is still relatively small for the majority of the second trimester.
Here are some sleep tips for the second trimester:
-Practice sleeping on your left side
You will absolutely need to do this for the health of your baby during the last trimester. Sleeping on your back will impede the blood return to your heart during the third trimester because your uterus is so big and heavy.
If you are a tummy sleeper like me, it may take a while to get used to a new position.
If you practice sleeping on the left side while you are still relatively comfortable, it will be much easier when your whole body seems to hurt.
-You might start getting heartburn
If you notice a burning sensation in your throat every time you lay down, it will probably prevent you from falling asleep.
Try eating dinner a little early so you can fully digest your food before bed. Another thing that helps digestion is to chew your food more before you swallow.
This will break it up so it can move through your digestive tract faster.
-Get ready for some crazy pregnancy dreams
Depending on the type of person you are, pregnancy dreams will be a good or a bad thing.
I found them to be super entertaining half the time. Don’t be surprised if you even have some sex dreams!
Alright now we are getting to the good stuff. You are almost done with this pregnancy and likely you are finding this post now.
I hope you stayed with me through all the early stuff. I wanted to be all-inclusive but the reality is, the third trimester of pregnancy is a really trying time in the sleep department!
Your belly is just….THERE! It’s so hard to get comfortable!
Here are my best tips for sleeping comfortable in the third trimester of pregnancy:
-Safe sleeping positions for late pregnancy
Hopefully you practice safe sleeping positions during your second trimester.
During the third trimester of pregnancy, it becomes impairative to understand safe sleeping positions.
There is a major blood vessel sandwiched in between your uterus and spine. As your uterus gets bigger and heavier, it can cause compression and impede the blood flow.
This happens when you lay on your back for extended periods of time.
Not enough blood getting to your baby increases the risk of brain damage.
The best position to sleep in the third trimester is with your left side down.
This works with your anatomy to open up that major blood vessel.
Sleeping on the right side during late pregnancy is better than sleeping on your back, but you may find that it worsens reflux as your uterus presses on your stomach.
I have always been a tummy sleeper and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep on my side. I started practicing when I knew it wouldn’t be critical and by the time I had a big belly, I found sleeping on my left side very comfortable.
-Use a pregnancy pillow
This is an absolute MUST-HAVE for mid to late pregnancy. All that extra weight causes so much strain!
The pregnancy hormone Relaxin causes the ligaments and tendons in your pelvis to loosen up so the bones can separate during birth.
Your legs will actually be further apart. It is no longer comfortable to sleep without something in between them for support.
Pregnancy pillows are amazing for providing comfort not only for sleep but also for extra support when laying on the couch. I used my pregnancy pillow all the time even postpartum when I was lounging with my little man.
-Get a good heating pad
A heating pad can be safely used during pregnancy to alleviate localized aches and pains.
Topical heat will cause vasodilation to the area, increasing blood flow which contains healing cells and nutrients. Heating pads are especially great for your lower back and hips during pregnancy.
I found my heating pad to be very soothing when I finally laid down for the day. It was a great way to prep my mind and body to relax before going to sleep.
– Ask your man to give you a massage
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to ask? If your hubby doesn’t think to offer you a massage before bed, it’s a great idea to just constantly nag him until he does it!
Eventually it could become a nightly ritual.
Massage is one of the best ways to relax your growing body and release all the tension that built up from the day. We moms know this but we need a compelling way to convince our men to put forth the effort to massage us.
Tell him that by giving you a massage, he is not only helping you sleep, but is contributing to the vitality of his child by improving your circulation.
Hand him the massage oil and don’t give him a chance to say no!
-Make the ultimate mattress upgrade
If there was ever the time to make sure you are sleeping on the RIGHT mattress, pregnancy is the time to do it! You will be spending 1/3 of your baby’s development on this mattress and the best thing you will ever do for yourself is invest in a mattress that lifts like a hospital bed does.
This was honestly the MAIN reason I managed to sleep comfortably while pregnant.
Being able to elevate your legs really helps take the edge off those throbbing feet. Do this for about 30 minutes before you fall asleep and you will have one less thing keeping you up at night.
Upgrading my mattress was the best thing I ever did.
If you are shopping for a mattress and a bedframe that lifts be aware that many of them contain unsafe chemicals like flame retardants. If you are already spending money on a mattress, you might as well get one that is going to be safer.
Naturepedic mattresses are made from GOTS certified organic non-GMO cotton and contains no fire retardant chemicals.
Check out their amazing products and minimize your exposure to terrible chemicals! After all, you will spend 1/3 of your pregnancy in your bed. (Or if you are me about half of your pregnancy.)
For more information on the GOTS certification check out the Ultimate Organic Baby Registry post.
-Take an epsom salt bath before bed
Epsom salt baths are so great for pregnancy and just a very relaxing way to end the day.
Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate. This important mineral will absorb through your skin during the bath and give your body a little boost in magnesium.
Magnesium reduces muscle cramps and Braxton Hicks contractions. If you have ever woken up in the middle of the night with a painful charlie horse cramp, it’s time to take some epsom salt baths!
I suggest buying epsom salt in bulk for pregnancy because you will use it a lot during the last trimester.
-Get regular exercise and don’t forget to stretch!
If you truly want to sleep better at night you have to get out and get moving during the day!
Even if you weren’t much of an athlete before pregnancy, set a goal for yourself to take a 30 minute walk every day.
Exercise releases endorphins which reduces the brain’s perception of pain. It keeps your body strong and limber and help you sleep better at night.
-Design an environment that promotes sleep
Set yourself up for success for sleeping during pregnancy by getting your room as dark as possible with blackout shades.
This way even if you do take a while to fall asleep, the morning sun won’t wake you up and you can catch a few more ZZZs on the tail end.
Keep a diffuser in your room and diffuse some lavender essential oil.
Get a smart thermostat and have it automatically cool the house around 8 pm.
You could even invest in a white noise machine or app on your phone that plays the sound of rain or something soothing to your ear.
-Wear compression gear during the day
If you want to be more comfortable at night, you have to use compression gear during the day!
Wearing compression gear during the day helps to promote blood return to the heart and reduces swelling in your feet, ankles, and legs.
It also may minimize the amount of varicose veins you develop during pregnancy.
Being upright all day causes your blood to pool in your lower extremities.
When you lay down for the night that blood gets returned to the heart. The heart pumps the blood to the kidneys, the kidneys make even more urine, and you are waking up to pee all night long!
Instead, you can wear compression gear during the day so you are peeing your extra fluid out during the day instead of all night long.
Take home message
Getting comfortable enough to sleep in pregnancy is tough. Try to minimize your stress and don’t over schedule yourself.
The little things make all the difference. As uncomfortable as you are right now, just keep positivity in your heart because soon you will be holding the sweetest little babe.
Related: Best apps for pregnant women
I really hope you get to sleeping more comfortably during your pregnancy!
Feel free to comment and let me know if these tips helped you!
Related: Our labor induction story