May 12, 2019

8 Best Ways to Improve Sleep During Your Pregnancy

Pregnant women lacking sleep more likely to have complications

Pregnant woman sleeping on side with maternity pillow

Newborns have a certain reputation for keeping people up at odd hours with late-night feedings — but the sleepless nights can begin long before your baby arrives.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Figuring out how to get better sleep during pregnancy is not just important for your energy and mood. Pregnant women who get less sleep are more likely to have complications, according to sleep disorders specialist Sally Ibrahim, MD.

Find out what sleep disrupters are common throughout your pregnancy, as well as ways to get better rest.

Sleep by trimester

First trimester: Women tend to crave a significant amount of sleep while the placenta grows. Don’t be surprised if you feel sleepier overall, need to go to bed earlier and take naps. At this stage, the best thing you can do is to give into this urge, and get the rest your body needs.

Second trimester: The amount of sleep normalizes to the amount you needed before your pregnancy. But, as the baby and abdomen grow, there may be things that start to effect sleep, such as getting up and using the restroom.

Third trimester: Tiredness can come from poor quality sleep. Women tend to have less quality sleep due to factors such as:

  • Back pain
  • Baby kicks
  • Leg cramps
  • More frequent urination urges
  • Substantial weight gain
  • Congestion associated with late-term pregnancy

Learn the tips and tricks to getting sleep during pregnancy.

8 tips to help you get better sleep

Although it’s impossible for women to avoid many of the things that limit sleep during pregnancy, there are ways to get more (and better) rest:

  1. Develop a relaxing bedtime routine.
  2. Keep a regular bed and wake time.
  3. Avoid electronics for at least an hour before bedtime. If that’s not possible, turn down the screen’s brightness and avoid bright light.
  4. Limit caffeine in your diet.
  5. Relieve stress with exercise, yoga, mindfulness meditation or massage therapy.
  6. Sleep on your side. You may need a maternity pillow to support your back and knees.
  7. Limit breathing problems by elevating your head when you sleep.
  8. Stay well-hydrated to help reduce leg cramping.

Sleep disorders in pregnancy

Sleep disorders may start or worsen during the course of pregnancy. “Someone might not have these conditions before pregnancy, and they might develop during any trimester but especially by the end of pregnancy.” Sleep problems during pregnancy are not inevitable. They can, and should be addressed

Restless leg syndrome: If a woman has restless leg syndrome (RLS), it may get worse during pregnancy. The condition also may appear for the first time. Once RLS shows up, it is more likely to recur in later pregnancies. However, symptoms return to normal (for pre-existing cases) or disappear (for new cases) moments after delivery.

Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is particularly dangerous for pregnant women.


Research shows negative effects for both the mother and for fetal development. The full extent of the problem isn’t fully known yet, but there is substantial evidence pointing to the association of sleep apnea with:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pre-eclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension

Talk to your doctor if you continue to struggle to get enough sleep. They can help pinpoint the cause and offer more tips to overcome it.

Related Articles

Male with eyes closed sitting hunched over, pinching area between their eyes
January 29, 2024
Headache and Fatigue: 11 Possible Causes That Can Trigger Both

Many factors, like dehydration, a cold or even your medication, can result in these common symptoms

pregnant mother with father on couch with son
January 25, 2024
Baby on the Way? Here’s How To Prepare Siblings for Their Arrival

Talk with them about their new sibling early and often

Pregnant patient lying in dentist chair during examination with dentist beside her
January 1, 2024
Is It Safe To Go to the Dentist While Pregnant?

Dental care is not only safe during pregnancy, but it’s also highly recommended

Pregnant person thinking about food choices as they circle their head.
November 6, 2023
Nutrition During Pregnancy: Foods To Include and Foods To Avoid

A healthy pregnancy diet includes good amounts of folic acid, DHA, calcium and more

doctor talking to pregnant couple outside office
October 15, 2023
Understanding the Risks of STIs While Pregnant

If left untreated, you risk complications, early labor and passing the infection to your baby

PCOS and weight
September 12, 2023
Getting Pregnant With PCOS

Lifestyle changes, like a healthy diet and exercise, can help with fertility issues

pregnant woman holding pill container
September 6, 2023
Your Guide to Pregnancy-Safe Medications

Always talk with your doctor for advice, too

woman holding baby while talking to doctor
September 4, 2023
Breastfeeding? Yes, You Can Still Get Pregnant

Popular myth says breastfeeding prevents pregnancy, but that’s not the whole story

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture