Pregnancy Insomnia: Causes, Complications, Ways To Sleep Better

What is pregnancy insomnia?

During pregnancy sleep schedule for these 9 months might be less due to a growing belly, pain, discomfort, etc.

For all these reasons many women experience less sleep at night, which may lead to insomnia, in both acute and chronic terms.

Insomnia during pregnancy normally affects about 80% of pregnant women (1).

A study at the University of California, San Francisco found that women who slept less than 6 hours per night are more likely to have a longer labor

Check Out – Obesity, And Pregnancy, Is Any Relation B/W Them, Risk

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder, like sleep apnea where a person faces difficulty in falling asleep.

Whereas in sleep apnea person’s breathing stops and restarts many times during sleep at night.

During insomnia person’s lack of sleep or waking too early can affect their life quality, and increase the risk of accidents, and mental disorders.

Women can experience it during stages of pregnancy, which is often more common in the first and third trimesters (2).

NOTE: Insomnia is not harmful to your baby, however, lack of sleep can affect your overall health, as we know.

Causes of insomnia during pregnancy

There are many causes of insomnia during pregnancy which include:

  • Growing belly discomfort
  • frequent urination
  • nausea and vomiting
  • heartburn
  • pain
  • hormonal changes (a big factor during pregnancy) progesterone, estrogen
  • anxiety feeling
  • hot flashes
  • breasts might feel sore and tender during pregnancy
  • weird dreams
  • stress due to not getting enough sleep, for future delivery, etc

High levels of estrogen also cause some women to develop swelling in nasal tissue, which is allied with snoring and OSP (4)

NIght walking is the most common sleep disturbance by the end of a pregnancy almost all women are walking up and for a longer time (5)


Daily lack of sleep or some factors can make pregnancy with insomnia situation worse, that affect overall health which includes:

  • headache
  • feel restlessness
  • high blood pressure
  • irritable, angry even in small things
  • hunger
  • longer labors pain
  • nausea
  • breathing problem
  • depression, and anxiety
  • spicy food can leads to – heartburn, stomach pain, gas, etc
  • restless leg syndrome (RLS)

RLS is an uncomfortable urge to move the legs, and usually happens in the nighttime hours when you’re sitting or lying down.

But is also one of the most common reasons for sleeplessness during pregnancy (6)

It doesn’t last forever, and get better after delivery and actually pretty quickly, within the first week or so,” Pien says.

Insomnia and frequent snoring also have been linked to an increased risk of baby birth being too large or too small (7).

NOTE: However, late sleep in pregnancy has been linked to longer labor and a greater need for a C-section delivery.

Sleep changes during Pregnancy every trimester

Your sleep pattern change during every trimester of pregnancy. here is the sleep and their 1, 2, and 3-trimester change including:

1st Trimester

During the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman is most likely affected by the rapid changes in reproductive hormones (8)

There are 2 main hormones include – progesterone and estrogen, where progesterone levels increase at 10x greater than normal.

Whereas, estrogen reduces the amount of REM sleep (rapid eye movement) (9).

Sleep during the first trimester is also disturbed due to fatigue as well as nausea or vomiting

During this, when the uterus is a pelvic organ, it has not been clear in the stomach, so you can sleep in your preferred position.

Also less aerated drinks, you should take a light dinner, with less oily and spicy.

Sleepiness is a common complaint during 1 trimester, during a survey, women saw an increase in their sleep by about 0.7 hours.

2rd, and 3rd Trimester

In this, sleep is on the sides, more on the left (you can also sleep on the right side) is a great way.

By late in the second trimester (23-24 weeks of pregnancy), total night-time sleep time is reduced.

In the 3rd trimester, the majority of women face sleep difficulties (10), with over 98% reporting nocturnal awakenings.

During this position, your baby is getting better nutrition and oxygen supply because the pregnant uterus is shifted towards that particular side.

Sleep disturbances in the 3rd trimester are allied with an increased feeling of longer labor or pain and increased operative birth.

Rate of sleep disturbances during the 1st-trimester changes to about 13%, In the 2nd at 19%, and 66% in the third (11).

After childbirth

Sleep problems might also be seen in the first 6 months after childbirth with a total nocturnal sleep time of fewer than 6 hours.

Do not worry sleep efficiency improves over time (12).

Ways to get better sleep during pregnancy

There are many ways to get better sleep during pregnancy or how to kick insomnia during pregnancy which include:

Natural ways

According to research insomnia during pregnancy can be kicked out if women adopt this healthy lifestyle during this time.

Sleep Hygiene and before bedtime routine

Sleep hygiene methods can significantly improve the quality of sleep without the need to resort to medications including:

  • Prefer daytime naps, not in the evening
  • avoid caffeine
  • drink plenty of water in the daytime, which decreases 2 hours before bedtime
  • use dim lights in the bedroom because bright light makes it hard to fall asleep
  • avoid alcohol
  • trying to go to bed at the same time every night
  • avoid screen time at least an hour before bed like TV, mobile phone, and laptop.
  • avoid spicy, heavy, and oily food to decrease possible discomfort
  • take a warm bath, which stimulates your melatonin (a sleep hormone)

The bedroom environment is as vital as sleeping habits, which should be cool, and dark which should be cool, dark, and free of devices.

The best temperature has been found to be between 15.5 to 20 degrees.

Relaxing technique

A variety of relaxation techniques can be used in the treatment of insomnia, including yoga, and meditation.

The aim of relaxation is to reduce inner anxiety, and stress, which happen due to thoughts of delivery, pain, and more.

Tightening, relaxing, and breathing exercises like Anulom vilom, can be used before each sleep period.


Exercise, which makes you tired before you go to bed, but avoid 4 hours before bedtime.

Stay active with walking, swimming, Stationary cycling, and weight training (You can also do gyming but don’t go hard).

However, exercise during pregnancy became more complicated so precautions should be included:

  • Avoid being over-heated, or dehydrated
  • Wear good supporting clothing during running, swimming, and lifting weight.
  • Make sure don’t go with hard steps – means – don’t lift heavy weight, or overdo.

Check Out – Ideal Exercises During Pregnancy Plus FAQ

Get comfort

Make yourself more comfortable, and pregnancy position during sleep can be difficult due to pain and pressure (13).

Sleep on your left side or if you are a back sleeper use pillow or cushion to prop yourself up instead of lying flat for periods.

Sleep on a soft mattress, with several soft pillows, which you can place side your stomach to lift your stomach.

NOTE: For Restless Legs, the syndrome has your physician evaluate you for folic acid or iron deficiency.


4 and a half% of pregnant women admit to the use of sleep medication and 1.9% of natural remedies (14).

But before going on medication try all these natural ways to better sleep during pregnancy which have no side effects.

Several studies have shown that medication may lead to adverse effects on the body (15).

Doctors may consider low folate and iron supplement for better absorption in foods like grains, and cereals.

There is no OTC medicine for frequent nighttime urination during pregnancy so it is better to go before sleep or reduce water intake.

NOTE: Before taking any type of medicine whether it is herbal, or chemical, consult the doctor first.

Can you take melatonin for sleep during pregnancy? Is it safe?

Clinical studies data suggest that melatonin use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is probably safe in humans. 

Studies have shown that (MT) is safe in the short term but there is no clear confirmation for the long term.

However, Animal studies, it has shown some side effects of use during pregnancy which include:

  • nausea
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • dizziness

So consult your doctor about any supplement that you are going to use, because it may interact with the baby’s health.

Check Out – Foods Rich in Melatonin For a Good Night’s Sleep


Hello, I'm Sahil bisht, I am a Mechanical engineer, As well as, aspiring blogger with an obsession for health. This blog delicate to people who want to learn in health.

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