7 Reasons You Can't Sleep When Pregnant

7 Reasons You Can't Sleep When Pregnant

21 Dec 2017

What could be causing this lack of sleep and how can you remedy it?

Lack of sleep during pregnancy can be caused by many reasons and can occur at any point in the pregnancy, although it is more common in the first and third trimesters. In fact, insomnia is considered normal during pregnancy and about 78% of pregnant women are affected.

However, as there are many reasons why you can’t stay asleep during the night, there are also things you can do to reduce it.

Causes of insomnia during pregnancy


  • Hormonal changes


Pregnancy comes with hormonal imbalances. In the first trimester, there are many physiological changes associated with levels of prolactin, cortisol, melatonin and other hormones and in body temperature.

These can end up affecting sleeping patterns where you can feel sleepy and fatigued during the day but lacking sleep at night. This is one of the reasons you can’t stay asleep during early pregnancy.


  • Late naps


Pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, is associated with feeling fatigued and therefore, you may need to take naps during the day. If you take naps late in the day or take too long naps, you may interfere with your night sleep.


  • Bathroom breaks


You will find that you need to pee more often when you are pregnant. This is caused by the compressed bladder that stores less urine and the fact that you are now peeing for two. Waking up constantly at night to pee may affect your sleep and you may end up not falling asleep again.


  • Back pain, vomiting, and nausea, abdominal discomfort, leg cramps


Some of the symptoms of pregnancy are vomiting, leg cramps, abdominal discomfort and back pain. If you encounter any of these at night, you will find that you can’t stay asleep during the night. Back pain and leg cramps are common in the late stages of pregnancy while nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort may occur from the onset of pregnancy.


  • Heartburn


Heartburn is common in pregnancy and can strike just before you go to sleep. Sadly, it can be so uncomfortable such that you can’t stay asleep during the night.


  • Stress-related


Yes, bringing forth a new life can take a toll on your mind. What with all the thinking about the motherhood demands, all the things you will be required to do once the baby is born, about the delivery, the health of the baby and about balancing your career when the baby comes.

These can cause you to have sleepless nights such that you get can’t stay asleep depression. Too much worrying can cause you to be stressed and can even lead to depression, which can be detrimental to you and the unborn child.


  • Discomfort


As the pregnancy progresses, so does the discomfort. You may find it difficult to get into a comfortable sleeping position, which can result in turns and tosses. Eventually, you may end up not falling asleep or you keep waking up to find comfort.

How to deal with lack of sleep during pregnancy

There are steps you can take to ensure that you stay asleep for longer at night when pregnant.


  • Reduce heartburn


Ensure you take a healthy diet to minimize the chances of heartburn. Avoid taking spicy foods and do not eat within two hours of going to bed. If you need to eat when it is late, take a light snack.

Also, try to sleep on your left side so that stomach acid can remain in place.

You may also use some of the over-the-counter anti-acids but make sure to check with your obstetrician.


  • Have a bedtime routine


Create a routine such that you sleep at the same time every night. Your routine should start with an activity that enables you to unwind and get into the sleep mode such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, playing relaxing music or meditating. You should start the routine once you realize you are pregnant so that you avoid a situation where you can’t stay asleep early pregnancy.


  • Reduce bathroom breaks


You can reduce the night runs by taking more water during the day and reducing the intake at night. Also, when you wake up, try to use dim lights in the bathroom, hallway and in the bedroom since bright lights can interfere with your sleep because they are stimulating.


  • Ensure comfort


Discomfort is one of the causes of sleeplessness. Before you sleep, make sure you are comfortable in bed. You can try different sleeping positions. Have the room cool, dark, and quiet so that you can get into rest mode.


  • Exercise


You can help your body to relax by taking exercises. Just make sure you consult with your doctor on the right exercises to take.


  • Relax


If you find you are struggling to fall asleep or you keep waking up, try to relax. You can take breathing exercises, meditation or even practice yoga. Try some of the relaxation methods taught in childbirth class.

You can also take chamomile and non-caffeinated tea so that it can help you to relax and fall asleep more easily.


  • Avoid late naps


While it is important to take power naps during the day, try to take naps before 3 pm and they should not last more than 20 minutes. This way, you will not lose sleep at night.


  • Try not to be stressed


While it is good to plan for the newborn, you should try not to let a lot of stress and worry gets into you.

If you find your mind wandering and causing you sleeplessness, try to relax. Remember that worrying does not solve anything. You can try writing down what is worrying you and the likely solutions.

You may also read a book that is not related to pregnancy or take a warm bath to help you relax.

Conclusion: It is common for women to lack sleep during pregnancy. Some of the women find that they can’t fall asleep during early pregnancy. However, there are ways you can manage insomnia to ensure you stay asleep for longer and that you get the full dose of sleep at night.

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