10 Ways to Improve Your Sleep When Pregnant

by Martin Reed Patient Advocate

Your hormones are in overdrive and you may be experiencing headaches, nausea, back pain, frequent urination, and anxiety. Little wonder that you're finding sleep a little difficult! Here are some tips on how to improve your sleep when you're expecting!

Try sleeping on your side

Your body is changing, so your preferred sleeping position may no longer be comfortable or even possible! Try sleeping on your side to relieve pressure on your back. It may also help to place a cushion under your belly or sleep with a specially-designed maternity pillow.

Try consuming carbohydrates as nighttime snacks

Light snacks that contain carbohydrates (especially when combined with calcium or tryptophan) can boost serotonin levels, helping you feel calm, relaxed and better prepared for sleep. Think cheese and crackers, a banana, or a piece of fruit with natural yogurt.

Avoid foods associated with indigestion and heartburn

Indigestion and heartburn are common during pregnancy since all your internal organs are getting squished together to make room for your baby! Try to avoid foods that are known to cause indigestion and heartburn. Common culprits include citrus, garlic, onion, sugar, chili, caffeine, and foods high in fat such as fried foods.

Give music a chance!

Music can help increase relaxation and distract a racing mind. Give nature sounds or classical music a try – you don't want to be listening to the latest techno release when you're trying to sleep!

Try some aromatherapy

The scent of lavender in particular is thought to relieve anxiety and insomnia symptoms. Try adding lavender oil to a diffuser, or simply keep a small bunch of lavender next to the bed. If using lavender scented candles, make sure they contain real lavender oil and not a synthetic blend.

Watch your water intake

Staying hydrated during pregnancy is important - but repeatedly waking during the night to use the bathroom is tiresome! Try to limit your fluid intake an hour before bed and see if that helps reduce nighttime trips to the bathroom. If it doesn't, add an extra half an hour until you're able to get through the night.

Try to stick to a schedule

Having a regular schedule will help teach your body when it's time for sleep. Try to go to bed at around the same time each day, and get out of bed around the same time every morning. This includes weekends!

Remember to exercise

Of course, you're not going to feel up to some marathon training, but it's still important to exercise during pregnancy to ease aches and pains and boost relaxation hormones. Yoga is particularly beneficial – a number of prenatal yoga and pilates DVDs are available to purchase or stream.

Avoid bedroom gadgets

Every time you check your email or browse the internet in your bedroom, you're telling your brain that the bedroom is for wakefulness, not sleep. Furthermore, those electronic devices emit lightwaves that hinder sleep. Keep them out of the bedroom.

Get a massage

Encourage your significant other to give you a relaxing massage before bed. Not only does this aid relaxation, it increases bonding during what can be an emotionally stressful time. If you don't have a partner (or your partner is unwilling), treat yourself to a professional massage, or try a massage chair or pillow.

Martin Reed
Meet Our Writer
Martin Reed

Martin is the creator of Insomnia Coach, an eight-week course that combines online sleep education with individual sleep coaching. His course helps clients improve their sleep so they can enjoy a better life with more energy and start each day feeling happy, healthy, rested, and refreshed. Martin also runs a free sleep training course that has helped over 5,000 insomniacs. He holds a master’s degree in health and wellness education and studied clinical sleep health at the University of Delaware.