pregnant woman sleeping

Top Tips for Sleeping While Pregnant

Congrats, you’re pregnant! Literally everything is about change–including the way you sleep. Here’s how to make sure you get enough zzz’s for two.

First Trimester: Welcome to Sleepytown

During the first trimester of pregnancy, you may find that you’re tired all the time. That’s because your body is coping with major hormonal and metabolic changes. Progesterone in particular can make you feel sleepy all day.

Unfortunately, there’s no good solution other than giving your body the rest it needs. Since relying on caffeine is a no-go now that you’re pregnant, you’ll need to grab brief naps throughout the day. Just don’t nap after 4 p.m. or else you’ll have trouble sleeping at night.

Second Trimester: Cramps, Heartburn and Weird Dreams

In your second trimester, you’ll have gotten used to the hormones that made you so tired in the first trimester. Although many women find that they sleep great during this part of their pregnancy, you may still face certain issues.

Ugh, the leg cramps! Ladies, you may find that you get multiple “charley horses” throughout the night. One possible cause is that you aren’t getting enough calcium, so keep an eye on your intake. You should also try flexing your foot if one of these painful cramps hits; pointing your toes will only make it worse.

Heartburn is common as your uterus fights for space with your stomach. Try to stay sitting up for several hours after meals so that you have a chance to finish digestion before you lay down. It’s also a good idea to eat smaller meals later in the day. And even if you’re craving an extra-hot curry or burrito, maybe lay off the extreme spicy or acidic foods at night.

When you finally do fall asleep, expect weird, vivid dreams. Anxiety plays a large part in these dreams, so do what you can to chill out during the day. Yoga and meditation can help. So can staying educated about what your body is going through; that way, you’ll feel more in control and better prepared.

Third Trimester: Just the Worst

In your third trimester, you can look forward to back pain, constant trips to the bathroom, snoring and sleepless nights. Here’s how to cope.

The best position to sleep in during this time is lying on your left side. Bend your knees slightly and put a pillow between your legs. If you still feel uncomfortable, you may need a pillow under your belly, too. You can make your own pillow fort or buy a custom C-shaped pilled for a full-body cuddle.

It’s not a great idea to sleep on your back during pregnancy. It’s also a bad idea to try sleeping on your stomach–for obvious reasons.

If you’re still struggling with heartburn or epic snoring, try elevating your upper body. If those legs are still cramping–or worse, swelling like Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons–prop them up at night.

Honestly, sleep during the last trimester of pregnancy isn’t going to be great. Just think of it as training for when you’re up with the baby all night.

Erin Long