The Best Way to Sleep While Pregnant

Sleeping on your side while pregnant is the most comfortable and, according to experts, the best way to sleep while pregnant.

There is a debate about whether sleeping on the left side is better than the right but everybody agrees, pregnant women included, that sleeping on your side is best.

First-trimester sleep

Progesterone, a sleep inducing hormone, starts to surge through your body in the first trimester. You will start feeling very sleepy during the day. You may even feel worn out and think you’re coming down with the flu.

Constant sleepiness, tender breasts, and the frequent need to pee makes a good night’s sleep almost impossible. Here’s a couple of tips:

  • Rest and take naps during the day, if possible.
  • Drink most of your fluids in the morning and cut down as the day winds down. This may help with the waking up to pee.

Tender breasts may also make it hard to sleep. If you’re usually a stomach sleeper, this is a good thing. This will force you to start sleeping on your side. Pretty soon, your growing belly will make it impossible to sleep on your stomach!

Remember that many pregnant women are awake at night and exhausted during the day. You’re not alone. Expect to be tired during your first trimester and give your body plenty of rest.

Second-trimester sleep

Most women consider this the best phase of pregnancy. Morning sickness (if you experience any) is usually over by now. You’re feeling better, eating better, and life almost seems normal again. Chances are you’re sleeping better as well, although not as well as you did before you got pregnant.

Establish good sleeping habits now. Have a schedule, remove the television from the bedroom, and practice a form of intentional relaxation that works for you.

You will have more energy at this point so exercise regularly, if possible. Exercise as simple as walking will help you sleep better. Make sure that it’s not done too close too bedtime, though, as this may simply rev you up.

Read our article on morning sickness “How Early Can You Have Morning Sickness in a New Pregnancy?

Second-trimester pregnancy sleep problems include:

  • Snoring and congestion

Higher estrogen levels contribute to the swelling of mucus membranes in the nose. The heavier you are the more likely you are to start snoring.

  • Sleep Apnea

Loud, frequent snoring causes sleep apnea. It is characterized by breathing pauses during sleep. Sleep apnea sufferers don’t know they have these episodes but may wonder why they wake up feeling tired.

Obesity is the biggest risk factor for sleep apnea.

  • Leg cramps

Leg cramps are quite common during pregnancy. For some women, leg cramps begin during the second trimester and get worse as your pregnancy progresses. To avoid and treat leg cramps:

  1. Stretch during the day and avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes and rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes when you sit.
  3. Take frequent warm baths to relax your muscles.
  • Restless legs syndrome

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is an uncontrollable urge to move your legs so as to relieve burning, tingling, or crawling sensations in your leg.

RLS during pregnancy is temporary.

  • Vivid dreams

Blame progesterone again. Are your dreams “crazier” or more vivid during pregnancy? One theory is that you’re constantly getting up from heart burn, to pee, ease a cramp, or whatever else so you are disturbing your REM sleep, which you usually wouldn’t if you were sleeping more peacefully.

Enjoy it.

u shape pillow great way to sleep when pregnant

Third-trimester sleep

All good things must come to an end and so does sleeping for moms-to-be, starting with the third trimester. Be comforted that you will think of this time fondly when your children are older.

  • You will wake up more often during the night in your third trimester.
  • Your belly will simply be too big to be comfortable in any position.
  • You may feel better propped up so head for a recliner if you have one and wedge as many pillows everywhere to get you comfortable.

Remember always going to the bathroom during your first trimester? Now imagine doing it when you feel like you swallowed three watermelons whole. Completely empty your bladder and cut back on fluids as the day wears on.

Heartburn, restless legs syndrome, and snoring may be keeping you up even more now. Oh, and don’t forget your little bundle of joy kicking and squirming in your belly. That’s one of the best reasons to lose a little sleep at night!

Read our list of the best body pillows for pregnancy.

Always avoid sleeping on your stomach while pregnant and avoid sleeping on your back the further along in your pregnancy you get.

What is your favorite sleep position during pregnancy? If you have any tips for your fellow readers, please share in the comments.


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