Did you know that it’s believed that at least 50 percent of pregnant women suffer from insomnia?  Sleep problems arise during pregnancy for many women due to their physical discomfort, changing hormones, excitement or anxiety about becoming a new mother.
Sleep is a vital part of prenatal care, and if you are not sleeping well during pregnancy, then you’re not alone. Read on to learn about sleep and pregnancy and ways that you may be able to have a better night’s sleep.
Why does your sleep change during pregnancy?
A multitude of factors lead to insomnia during pregnancy. Beginning in the first trimester, fluctuating hormone levels cause generalized discomfort and other problems that can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. These may include:
- Breast tenderness
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Higher body temperature
- Frequent nighttime urination
- Leg cramps 
During the first trimester, your body releases progesterone, a hormone that can act as a natural sedative. This can cause you to feel groggy all day long and interfere with your body’s natural sleep rhythms at night. 
As your pregnancy progresses, back pain and stress can also cause sleep issues and irregularities.
How can I make sure I get enough sleep during pregnancy?
- Choose the right pillow type: It is recommended during pregnancy to sleep on your side so utilizing a pillow between your legs can help support your lower back.
- Nutrition: Drinking a glass of warm milk might help bring on sleep. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as a small bowl of dry cereal with a small four-ounce cup of milk, a slice of toast, bread or crackers, can promote sleep because they increase the level of sleep-inducing tryptophan. A snack high in protein (like one teaspoon of peanut butter or a low-fat cheese slice with whole grain crackers) can keep blood sugar levels up, and could help prevent bad dreams, headaches, and hot flashes. Avoid foods containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, caffeine-containing soft drinks, and chocolate. 
- Regular exercise: Exercising regularly during pregnancy promotes your physical and mental health, as well as aids you in sleeping more deeply and falling asleep faster.
- Prioritize relaxation: Techniques such as stretching, yoga, massages, deep breathing or a warm bath can all help you to sleep better during pregnancy.
If you are having any difficulty sleeping during your pregnancy, please contact Dr. Hill for an appointment at his OBGYN office in Youngstown, Ohio. He can address any concerns about your pregnancy sleep issues as well as any other uncomfortable symptoms that you may be experiencing.
- National Library of Medicine, “Sleep Disorder Diagnosis During Pregnancy and Risk of Preterm Birth”, accessed May 3, 2021,
- Sleep Foundation, “Pregnancy and Sleep”, accessed May 3, 2021,
- Mustela, “13 Ways To Sleep Better While Pregnant”, accessed May 3, 2021,
- Cleveland Clinic, “Sleep During Pregnancy”, accessed May 3, 2021,