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How to naturally get sleep while you're pregnant

Updated on March 29, 2012

Before you have your first baby, everyone tells you “You need to get all the rest you can while you still have the chance!” This may be true, but what about when you simply cannot turn off your mind or get comfortable to sleep at night? Here are some tips that can help you sleep soundly until your bundle of joy arrives;

  • Invest in a good body pillow, or surrounding yourself with pillows to prop yourself up into that ever so hard to find comfortable position. Place a pillow under your hips to relieve hip pressure/pain that you may experience later in your pregnancy.
  • You’re probably not going to feel like jumping up and doing some intense exercise if you’re sleep deprived, anyway, but make sure that you get in your activities early in the day, and avoid doing it two-three hours before time for bed.
  • Make sure the room temperature is just where you want it. Your husband is just going to have to accept that during this time in your life, YOU are in control of the thermostat.
  • Speaking of husband, have your servant rub your back, or play with your hair to lull you to sleep. (Totally kidding about the servant thing, by the way.)
  • If heartburn is keeping you up, skip the snack and opt for some warm milk, instead.
  • If you really just cannot sleep, don’t dwell on it. Get up for a few minutes, do something you were going to do tomorrow, and return to bed in about thirty minutes. Hopefully by this time you’ll be sleepy and will have one less thing to worry about accomplishing the next day.
  • Taking a warm bath should help relieve any muscle tension you have and bring your blood pressure down just a bit, making you sleepier. Try some aromatherapy, if you can handle the smells.
  • While you’re still in charge of the sleep schedule (that will change once baby makes their debut!), take half-hour to an hour long naps during the day to supplement what sleep you’re not getting at night.
  • Have some warm milk with honey or herbal tea (avoid caffeine). Some doctors will recommend that you avoid chamomile during the first trimester, since there has been a slight (very, very slight) correlation between chamomile and miscarriage.
  • If your leg muscles are cramping you into submission, man up and stand up on them. Better to go ahead and work it out than to lie in bed and suffer with it. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium in your diet. It’s good for baby, and can help prevent cramps.
  • Give up the caffeine altogether. It’s not healthy for baby, anyway. If you must have it, though, make sure it is limited amounts and you are only consuming it in the morning and early afternoon.
  • If you’re like me, and have been an insomniac for years, you’re going to have to give up your prescription sleep aids and opt for something safer for baby. Benadryl, Tylenol, (or a mixture of the two…Tylenol PM) are considered safe. Avoid anything with motrin (ibuprofen), or NSAIDs, and obviously steer clear of any narcotics. Search online for Category A and Category B pregnancy medications to see if what you want to take is on the approved list. (Hint: Basically nothing makes it onto Category A except pre-natal vitamins, so you may as well clump lists A and B together.)


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