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How to sleep when pregnant

Last updated: August 2023

Sleeping pregnant woman

Pregnancy is a truly magical experience, but it does come with its fair share of unexpected changes to your body and in your daily routine. Sleep is just one of the things that can be affected, and it often comes as quite a revelation that it can present so many new challenges during this special time. It’s ironic that just as you need it most, sleep can become ever more elusive. Here’s some advice and tips that should go some way towards helping you sleep better through each of the different stages of your pregnancy.

The best sleeping positions for each trimester

The first trimester

The little life inside you has only just made itself known and yet for some reason you're so exhausted. All that you've read says you won't be sleeping much in the first year your child is born, so it seems a little unfair that you're not able to sleep now either!

At such an important time in your baby's growth it's crucial you're rested and healthy. Ensuring you don't drink too many fluids close to your bedtime is beneficial, as is exercising early on in the day. What is particularly important though, is taking a regularly planned afternoon nap. Ensuring that you have a properly supportive mattress for this is a must. In this article we'll take a look at the best options to guarantee you a restful sleep throughout your pregnancy.

How to sleep

If you're a stomach sleeper make the most of this position whilst you can, as soon your growing bump will make it impossible. It's generally recommended that you sleep on your left-hand side as this position helps blood and nutrients to flow to your baby and womb and helps your kidneys get rid of waste and fluids.

The second trimester

At this stage your body has become more accustomed to being pregnant, but there are still certain issues. Heartburn as the baby leans on the stomach can be aggravated as you lie down, and leg cramps and vivid dreams can all disrupt your sleep.

Eating lighter foods towards the end of the day, avoiding spicy foods and staying upright for a few hours after eating can help to ease some of the heartburn that you're suffering from. At this stage in your pregnancy the pressure of your baby's weight in your body may be making you feel uncomfortable and the only way to relieve this is by having the best possible support. A soft mattress is recommended to take some of the strain away from your body and give you a restful night's sleep.

How to sleep

As you enter the most intensive stage of your pregnancy it's time to start considering improving your sleep environment. Softer bedding and supportive cushions will make a big difference to your overall comfort. Memory foam mattresses can be beneficial, as they contour to the curves of your body to provide you with complete support.

The third trimester

The end of your pregnancy often means waking up multiple times in the night but right now is when you need it most for a safe and easy labour. Lower back pain may now begin to aggravate you as a heavy baby weighs on your spine.

You may find that you and your partner have very different sleep requirements at this stage in pregnancy and getting out of bed can be a particularly strenuous activity. Adjustable beds with individual settings allow you to get comfortable at any angle and also help to propel yourself from your mattress.

How to sleep

To take stress off your lower back and increase circulation to your baby try to sleep on your left side. Pillows between knees, behind your back and under a heavy stomach will ease discomfort, as will frequent stretching.

During this life-changing process it's crucial that your sleep isn't hampered in any way. Following our helpful solutions should relieve some of the sleeping problems commonly associated with pregnancy. However, it's important to be aware of the effect your mattress may be having on your sleep at this time, too. Making sure you and your baby are properly supported is the only certain way to achieve essential rest.

For more information and advice about sleeping when pregnant check out our Dreams guide to Sleeping Position During Pregnancy and How to Sleep After Giving Birth.

Common sleep issues during pregnancy

If you’re struggling to sleep well during pregnancy, you’re definitely not alone. It’s perfectly normal to feel tired when you’re expecting, so try not to get frustrated with yourself – getting worked up can even cause more sleeplessness.

This issue is so crucial because when you’re pregnant, sleep is more vital than ever for many different reasons. Sleep keeps your immune system healthy when it is suppressed to support your pregnancy. It’s also how your blood vessels restore themselves, which is especially significant now they’re under increased pressure from the extra blood flow needed to support your baby.

And sleep controls how your body reacts to insulin. Not getting enough, results in a higher blood sugar level, raising your risk of gestational diabetes. All of this makes overcoming the hurdles to sleep during pregnancy of utmost importance.

So what are some of the main issues that cause problems for expectant mothers when it comes to getting enough sleep, and what can you do about them?


It’s common to feel warmer than you normally do usual during pregnancy. This is due to hormonal changes and an increase in blood supply to the skin. You're also likely to sweat more. As a result, you may want to sleep in loose clothing made of natural fibres, as these are more absorbent and breathable than synthetic fibres.


One of the most important things when it comes to getting a good night's sleep is having a comfortable bed. It’s important to ensure your bed’s as comfortable as possible while you’re pregnant. Consider using extra pillows, soft sheets and making sure you’ve plenty of room to spread your arms and legs.

Changing sleeping position

As an expectant mum you may find it becomes more uncomfortable for you to sleep on your stomach the further along you are in your pregnancy. And sleeping on your back when you’re pregnant can lead to backaches, breathing issues, hemorrhoids and low blood pressure, according to the American Pregnancy Association. For this reason, it’s commonly recommended to sleep on your side.

Sleep tips for expectant mothers

Here are five helpful tips to help soon-to-be mums get a better night’s rest:

  • Create the right mood. A quiet and relaxing environment and a comfortable temperature can help encourage you’re sleep. Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day should also improve your sleep health. Prioritise sleep, scheduling naps earlier in the day so they don’t interfere with your night-time sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water. Make sure to consume lots of water throughout the day, limiting your intake a couple of hours before bedtime so you don’t have to wake up and go to the bathroom.
Pregnant woman
  • Change your diet. Try cutting out caffeine, refined sugars, spicy foods, and other foods that can cause digestive problems. Once your diet improves, you’ll likely find that your sleep improves too.
  • Consider investing in a mattress that adapts to the changing contours of your body for pregnancy and far beyond, such as memory foam, latex and pocket sprung mattresses. If your mattress is uncomfortable it can cause you to toss and turn and wake up during the night.
  • Avoid taking technology into the bedroom and turn off screens at least an hour before trying to sleep.
Woman fruit

Other sleep solutions for pregnant mothers


One really effective and affordable way to increase the comfort of your bed is using mattress toppers. If your mattress is old or causing discomfort, adding extra support and padding from a topper could offer a comfortable night’s rest without you having to pay for a new mattress.

Another favourite sleeping aid used by expectant mums are dedicated pregnancy pillows or even just an extra regular pillow. These can help support your legs or bump when you’re in bed and keep you comfy while your tummy grows bigger. They’re also great for relaxing on the sofa while you’re watching television or reading and double up as breastfeeding support cushions too.

To further help transform your slumber, discover your personalised sleep cycle with our Sleep Cycle Calculator. It will help you understand the perfect time to go to sleep and wake up in the morning. As did you know, to wake up completely revitalised, an average individual requires approximately 5-6 complete cycles of snooze?