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Taking Care of Your Sleep While You're Pregnant: Importance of a Good Night's Sleep and How to Achieve It

June 21, 2021 2 min read

Taking Care of Your Sleep While You're Pregnant: Importance of a Good Night's Sleep and How to Achieve It

"Exhausted, she tossed and turned in bed. Kicking her restless legs in the air like a small child, she rolled from one side to another, facing her partner, who was asleep soundly. She sat up, propelling her head on two pillows, unknowingly stroking her belly as she did so. Wasn't she supposed to be sleep-deprived after the baby's birth? Why couldn't she sleep despite her exhaustion?"


"Dear sleep, I'm sorry we broke up this morning. I want you back!"Β 

β€” Anonymous


Pregnancy brings with it not just a new baby to cuddle but also many other (primarily unwanted) effects. Alterations in your sleep cycle and loss of sleep (or insomnia) are some of them. The first trimester (with elevated progesterone levels required for forming the placenta) is generally met with your body needing more and/or longer sleep. In contrast, trouble sleeping is more pronounced in the third trimester (as the baby grows closer to the due date). The growing baby cramps up the organs, including the lungs, which are eventually left with little space to expand. Hence, you experience snoring and sleep apnea. Cramping of the organs also leads to frequent urination, which is often a cause for sleep disruption. While sleep troubles are a part of pregnancy, it is essential to ensure that you are well-rested.


Not getting sufficient sleep during pregnancy may cause complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, prolonged labor, or an increased chance of a C-section. These complications are more likely seen in women who sleep fewer than 6 hours out of the 24 hours a day. A good night's sleep is a key factor in sustaining good health and the overall well-being of the mother and the growing fetus.


We list some pointers here on how best to catch up on sleep when pregnant:


  • Sleep on your side: Preferably on the left side (improves blood flow, providing nutrients to the fetus) and use a maternity pillow or put a pillow between your legs to accommodate your growing belly and support your back and knees.
  • Elevate your head: Use a pillow or two to elevate your head to avoid breathing problems and overall sleep duration and quality.
  • Reduce your evening snips: Try to reduce your evening water intake to avoid frequent trips to the bathroom. Make sure you are well hydrated during the day to prevent restless legs at night.
  • Meditation, prenatal yoga, massage therapy: Practice these relaxing techniques to reduce the stress/anxiety during pregnancy, mainly because of hormone fluctuations that accommodate your growing baby.
  • Electronic gadget use: Reduce it by an hour or two before your bedtime.
  • Healthy diet: Avoid caffeinated beverages and foods that cause acid reflux and/or stimulate you mentally later in the evenings.
  • Sleep schedule: Lastly, maintain a regular (relaxing) sleep schedule to maintain a healthy sleep cycle.

An Irish proverb rightly captures the importance of having a good night's sleep with,"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."



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