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How to Sleep Better During Pregnancy

How to Sleep Better During Pregnancy

Having trouble sleeping is common during pregnancy. Getting enough sleep during pregnancy can feel challenging, especially when your bump may feel like more of a mountain. Physical discomfort, hormonal changes, your bladder, and more can keep you awake at night. And unfortunately, maternity pajamas can only do so much to make you cozy.

Learning to sleep better during pregnancy comes from strategies that help improve your sleep quality. Moms-to-be need bedtime routines, too and creating a comfortable, relaxing environment can help you achieve the sleep you need. 

Why is Good Sleep Essential When You’re Pregnant?

When you're pregnant, a good night's rest is much more than simply recharging after a long day. Better sleep contributes to a healthier pregnancy and helps you care for yourself.

These are just some of the benefits when moms-to-be get better sleep:

  • Better Physical Health: When pregnant moms get quality sleep, it supports their physical health and the health of their growing little bubs. During sleep, the body repairs and regenerates tissues, supports immune function, and helps regulate hormones essential for a healthy pregnancy.
  • Potentially Fewer Complications: Research suggests that inadequate sleep during pregnancy may be linked to higher risks of developing pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, longer labours, and higher rates of C-sections. 
  • Comfort for You: Pregnancy typically comes with physical symptoms such as back pain, heartburn, and frequent urination, which can disrupt sleep. Getting enough rest helps alleviate these discomforts and allows expectant mothers to feel more comfortable throughout pregnancy.
  • Support for Your Mental Wellbeing: Good sleep helps support your mental and emotional health during pregnancy. Common pregnancy symptoms, such as hormonal changes, stress, and anxiety, can negatively impact your sleep. Getting quality sleep helps regulate your mood, reduce stress, and improve overall mental health.
  • Improved Energy Levels: Growing a baby is hard work, which is why pregnancy often leads to increased fatigue. Good sleep helps recharge your energy levels and make you alert and active throughout the day.
  • Fewer memory issues and better concentration: A good night’s sleep supports cognitive function, memory consolidation, and mental sharpness.
Woman sleeping

What are Common Reasons it’s Hard to Sleep When You're Pregnant?

Tossing and turning is very common when you’re pregnant. There are several reasons that you may not achieve the blissful slumber you seek.

  1. You are physically uncomfortable. As your baby grows, you may experience back pain, leg cramps, and heartburn, and you may have to pee frequently. 
    1. Your hormones are in a state of flux. Progesterone, estrogen, and other hormone levels shift, disrupting your usual sleep-wake cycle, making you feel exhausted throughout the day and making it difficult to sleep properly at night.

    2. Your baby’s keeping you up. Your growing little bub is getting stronger by the day. The baby may become active when you’re trying to get some rest—and their acrobatics can keep you awake.

    3. You feel stressed or worried. It’s common for parents, especially first-time parents, to keep themselves up at night thinking about their baby’s health, childbirth, parenting, and other details of this big (but exciting) life change.

    4. You can’t seem to regulate your temperature. Your usual sleep environment may not feel as comfortable throughout pregnancy, and you may feel too hot or cold due to changing hormones. Many women often feel warmer during pregnancy because of increased blood supply to the skin.

    5. You’re experiencing a pregnancy-related sleep disorder. Some moms-to-be develop pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Existing sleep disorders, like insomnia, sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome (RLS), may also worsen during pregnancy.

Understanding why you’re having a hard time falling or staying asleep while pregnant can help you try some strategies to help you sleep better during pregnancy (more on that below).

If your sleep issues impact daily functioning, make an appointment with your healthcare provider for their expert guidance and support.

What Clothing Fabrics Help with Sleep When You’re Pregnant?

When it comes to sleepwear during pregnancy, choosing the right fabrics can enhance your comfort and sleep quality. Here are some clothing fabrics that can help with sleep when you're pregnant:

Cotton is a popular choice for sleepwear due to its breathability, softness, and ability to wick moisture away from the skin. It helps regulate body temperature, keeping you cool in warmer weather and cozy in cooler temperatures—an excellent option for mamas who experience temperature fluctuations through the night. Choosing a sustainable GOTS-certified organic cotton is even better as it’s made without harmful toxins, making it one of the healthiest fabrics for moms-to-be.

Bamboo fabric comes from bamboo pulp and it’s known for its sustainability, softness, breathability, and hypoallergenic properties. It is naturally moisture-wicking, making it ideal for sleepwear, especially for pregnant women who may experience night sweats.

Jersey knit fabric is soft, stretchy, and comfortable, making it a popular choice for maternity sleepwear. It moves with your body and provides a snug yet flexible fit.

Lycra or spandex blends offer stretchiness and support during pregnancy, accommodating your growing baby bump and changing body shape. These flexible fabrics provide a comfortable fit without feeling constricting.

Flannel is a soft and cozy fabric known for its warmth, making it an excellent choice for maternity sleepwear during colder months of pregnancy. 

Fabric materials

Can Maternity Clothes Be Worn to Sleep?

Maternity clothes support pregnant women's changing bodies and provide comfort throughout the day, but not all pieces are well-suited for bedtime. Should you choose to sleep in your daytime clothes, maternity loungewear can be just as cozy as sleepwear.

If pregnancy discomfort keeps you from dreamland, you want to choose maternity sleepwear, like nursing PJs, with a comfortable fit and oh-so-soft, healthy fabric that helps prevent overheating.

Tight or restricting clothing during pregnancy is not recommended in general, as it can lead to some health issues such as pain, reduced blood circulation, and even yeast infections. If you choose to wear more form-fitting pieces during the day, make sure to take them off before bedtime.

Nest Designs nursing pajamas

Should I Wear a Maternity Bra at Night During Pregnancy?

Whether to wear a maternity bra at night during pregnancy is also a personal choice depending on what’s most comfortable for you. Some moms-to-be find sleeping without a bra more comfortable. Others may find that wearing a maternity bra provides additional support and comfort.

Maternity bras accommodate changes in breast size and offer features such as soft cups and stretchy fabrics. They often feature wider straps, softer fabrics, and adjustable closures to provide gentle support and alleviate discomfort. If you do wear a maternity bra at night, choose one made of soft, breathable material that provides sufficient support without being too tight.

General Tips for Sleeping Better During Pregnancy

There are several things you can try to help you sleep better while pregnant:

  • Establish a bedtime routine. Just like little bubs need a bedtime routine to wind down, it can be helpful for pregnant mamas, too. A bedtime routine signals your body that it's time to slow down and relax in preparation for bed. This could include activities such as having a bath, reading, meditation, or gentle prenatal yoga.
  • Cultivate a better sleep environment. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet for bedtime. Consider using blackout curtains, white noise machines, or earplugs to minimize disruptions and create a sense of calm. Avoid screens at least an hour before bed to help you slip into slumber.
  • Buffer with pillows. Use a pregnancy pillow or additional bed pillows to support your body and alleviate discomfort. Place pillows between your thighs or knees, slightly under your hips, and behind your back to provide support and promote better alignment. Finding which pillow positions work best for you can take some trial and error.
  • Sleep on your side. According to Stanford Medicine, sleeping on your side, particularly the left side, improves blood flow for your baby. If you're not used to side sleeping, try placing a pillow behind your back to help you stay in position.
  • Cut down on nighttime fluids. Limiting your fluid intake at night can minimize your nighttime bathroom visits and keep your bladder from waking you up. However, stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Stay active. Regular physical activity like walking or swimming helps you sleep better at night. Avoid higher-intensity exercise close to bedtime, as research shows it can make it take longer to fall asleep and contribute to poorer quality sleep. 
  • Get stress under control. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and anxiety—which can interfere with sleep.
  • Limit your nap time. During pregnancy, you need to rest when you're tired. A short nap (20 to 30 minutes) can help you recharge during the day without affecting your sleep at night.

  • Eat light meals or snacks at night. Avoid heavy or spicy foods close to bedtime, which may cause discomfort or heartburn. Choose light, easily digestible snacks (like apples and nut butter) if you're hungry before bed.

If you continue to have trouble sleeping despite trying these ideas, contact your healthcare provider. They can offer more recommendations and support to help you get the rest you need during pregnancy.

Nest Bump

Sleep Well, Mama

Quality sleep during pregnancy is essential for you and your growing baby. Remember that every pregnancy is unique, so find what works best for you and prioritize self-care. We hope these tips help you get the restful nights you need.

Shop Nest Bump maternity clothing.