Pregnancy Insomnia: Why is it affecting you & how to stop it

With over three quarters of expectant mamas experiencing pregnancy insomnia, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that explains why it affects so many of you and how to put an end to it.

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is the term given to anyone that has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. It’s a common side effect of pregnancy, mostly occurring in the first and third trimesters. But try not to worry – it’s not harmful to your baby.

Why can’t I sleep when pregnant?

There are plenty of completely normal reasons why it becomes more difficult to get your shut eye whilst pregnant, throughout the first, second and third trimesters. In the early months, you’re going through hormonal changes, which lead to a drop in the quality of sleep. Towards the end of your pregnancy, bump can make it pretty impossible to get comfy!

What causes pregnancy insomnia?

  • Needing to urinate more frequently
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Back ache
  • Leg cramps and Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Heartburn & indigestion
  • Hormonal changes
  • Anxiety
  • Discomfort and a growing bump

How long does pregnancy insomnia last?

Pregnancy insomnia can occur in each trimester, but it’s most common in trimesters one and three. There really isn’t any steadfast rules for how early pregnancy insomnia can start or when it will subside – however the third trimester is when it really tends to kick in.

Tips to prevent pregnancy insomnia

You’ll probably feel like with all the tossing and turning and disrupted sleep pattern that you’re barely sleeping. But you will be getting more sleep than you think! Here are our top tips to prevent pregnancy insomnia:

  • Completely avoid caffeine and cut back on fatty, rich or spicy foods before bed
  • Eat early to combat heartburn and acid reflux (Check out the Top 5 foods to help you sleep!)
  • Exercise daily – the recommended thirty minutes of exercise will help you feel sleepier come bedtime
  • Switch off – put down all digital devices at least one hour before sleep
  • Use pillows to prop you into the perfect position (See our expert guide on which sleep position is best)
  • Use natural insomnia remedies such as Lavender (Read more about how lavender aids sleep)

How to help pregnancy insomnia

If you’re already struggling with sleepless nights, try and ease your mind. There’s nothing worse than not being able to sleep, then worrying about it even more! Set aside time for a bedtime regime (See our full post on the perfect bedtime routine) and stick to it – we instinctively enjoy routine so it will help put you in the right mind-set for sleep.

If you’re lying awake counting the hours go by, get up and move about for 20 or 30 minutes. Do a small, mundane task to distract your mind like paying a bill or unloading the dishwasher, then go back to bed. Hopefully this will reset your thinking as though you’re going to sleep afresh! Or try a rhythmic muscle relaxation or breathing technique to drift off.

Read more about our collaboration with sleep expert Sammy Margo here.



Writer and expert