How to Deal With Pregnancy Insomnia

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Some people like to quip that insomnia during pregnancy trains your body for the sleep deprivation that occurs once you have a baby who cries and needs to be fed during the night. Whether that's true or not, it doesn’t make the tossing and turning any less miserable. Insomnia during pregnancy can crop up for many reasons: hormonal changes, heartburn, frequent urination, anxiety about giving birth, or even just not being able to find a comfortable position. These are some key ways to get the zzz’s that you need.

  • What’s Keeping You Up: Baby Worries

Try this: Set the stage for sleep. It’s natural to feel nervous about the major way your life is going to change when the baby comes. But lying awake worrying about it won't help. To relax, baby yourself before bed. Take a bath and then ask your partner to give you a massage. If it helps, try talking about your worries or writing them down in a journal to get them off your chest. Whatever you do, stay off the Internet. Not only can the light from your screen keep you awake, but looking up strange pregnancy symptoms will only add to your stress.

  • What's Keeping You Up: Heartburn

Try this: Eat to tame the flame. Pregnancy can cause heartburn for a couple of reasons. For one, the hormones that relax your joints and ligaments to prepare for childbirth also relax the valve that keeps stomach acid from coming back up. Another reason: Your expanding uterus puts pressure on your digestive organs, pushing that stomach acid into your esophagus.How you eat can help to quell symptoms, though. Chow down on small, frequent meals to avoid further crowding the stomach, and pay attention to what foods seem to fan the flame. Chocolate, spicy foods, and greasy foods are often triggers. Stay upright after eating, too, and gravity will help keep things down. That means no late dinners or midnight snacks!

  • What’s Keeping You Up: Trips to the Bathroom

Try this: Drink earlier. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids when you’re pregnant. After all, your blood volume increases by some 50 percent between conception and birth. But if bathroom runs are keeping you from getting enough sleep, try drinking those fluids earlier in the day—most in the morning and afternoon and fewer in the evening (especially within an hour or two of your bedtime). Unfortunately, you may still have to get up—after all, pregnancy hormones contribute to the urge to pee—but by paring down the liquids at night you may just sleep more soundly.

  • What’s Keeping You Up: You Can’t Get Comfortable

Try this: Cozy up with extra pillows. Finding a comfortable sleeping position can get harder as your belly expands, but pillows can help support your changing shape. Try sleeping on your left side, which is ideal during pregnancy. Then place a pillow between your knees, under your belly, and behind your back to keep you from rolling over onto your back if you don’t naturally sleep on your side. Or consider purchasing a special pregnancy pillow.