5 Natural Remedies for Pregnancy Insomnia

Pregnancy insomnia is when you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or both, especially during pregnancy. Sleepless nights are common during pregnancy. Up to 78% of pregnant women experience sleep disturbances during pregnancy.

Pregnancy insomnia can be caused by hormonal changes, mood disorders, or physical discomfort. Regular use of sleep medication during pregnancy is not recommended.

This article will give you an overview of pregnancy insomnia, and provide natural remedies.


Justin Paget / Getty Images


What is Pregnancy Insomnia and How Can It Be Helped?

Pregnancy insomnia refers to a condition that causes difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or both during pregnancy. Most pregnant women experience some sleep disturbances during their pregnancy.

A study concluded that it is important to intervene early in the process, as insomnia can increase the likelihood of complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Women who sleep less than six hours a night during pregnancy are more likely have prolonged labors. They are also 4.5 times more likely than others to need a Cesarean Section (C-section), which is a surgical procedure that allows for the delivery of the baby through incisions in the abdomen or uterus.

Lack of sleep during pregnancy can also increase the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. This is a condition that causes high blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine.(pregnancy-related diabetes).


Pregnancy sleep disturbances may be due to hormonal, physiological, metabolic, or psychological changes. These changes may increase the likelihood of developing conditions that can cause insomnia. These conditions can include anxiety, mood disorders, breathing disorders and restless legs syndrome (RLS).

Different factors contribute to sleep problems during pregnancy. A spike in progesterone levels during the first trimester can cause:

These new symptoms can all contribute to nighttime sleep problems. A higher level of progesterone can increase the risk for sleep apnea or snoring.

You can feel and sleep better in the second trimester. Sleep disturbances may return in the third trimester. Heartburn, muscle aches and urinary frequency can all be caused by the growing fetus. The third trimester sees an increase in estrogen levels, which can lead to rhinitis, nasal congestion, sneezing, and obstructive sleeping apnea (muscles at the back of your throat relax and disrupt breathing).

Regular use of sleep medication during pregnancy is not recommended by most healthcare providers due to the possibility of birth defects or other health complications. Many medications used for sleep or RLS pose risks to the developing foetus. Preterm labor, low birthweight, C-section and neonatal abstinence Syndrome (withdrawal symptoms that the baby experiences from drugs taken while in the womb) may be increased by sleeping medications.


Natural Remedies

Many pregnant women turn to natural sleep remedies because they are not advised to take sleep medication during pregnancy. You should remember that not all natural remedies can be used during pregnancy. Discuss the options with your healthcare provider.


There are many reasons that acupuncture can be used during pregnancy. Acupuncture is safe for use during pregnancy in the treatment of:

One study showed that acupuncture significantly improves sleep quality for pregnant women. It may be because of its effects on melatonin. The body naturally produces melatonin, which helps us fall asleep and relax. The body can increase its serum level of melatonin by using acupuncture, according to research.

Increased melatonin levels can not only improve sleep quality but also may be beneficial for the baby. The placenta is crossed by melatonin and it plays an important role for the brain development of the fetal brain.


Prenatal yoga classes are a great option for those who have had trouble sleeping during pregnancy. Study participants who started yoga regularly in their second trimester experienced a decrease in nighttime awakenings, and more time awakened. People who started yoga in their second trimester experienced better sleep quality than those who started it in their third.


People suffering from insomnia during pregnancy may find it helpful to exercise regularly. Regular physical activity can improve the quality of your sleep, according to a review. A reduction in anxiety symptoms was also observed. In the third trimester of pregnancy, insomnia was particularly treated with regular exercise.


Pregnant women who have used massage therapy report positive effects on stress, mood, sleep, and mood. According to a review, pregnant women who participated in a relaxation and massage program reported less sleep disturbances.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Sleep quality can be improved by reducing stress. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches people to recognize and alter negative thoughts and behavior, is known as cognitive behavioral therapy.

CBT was found to significantly improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia symptoms in pregnant women in a clinical trial. Participants in the CBT program reported less time spent in bed, and they also had fewer anxiety symptoms. Participants were also less likely than the control to need sleep medication.

CBT can also be used during pregnancy to reduce anxiety and depression.

Prescription sleep aids are not the only option. Avoiding over-the-counter medication during pregnancy is also a good idea.

  • Motrin (ibuprofen), Advil, or Motrin
  • Aleve (naproxen)
  • Sudafed (phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine).
  • Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)


Although it is impossible to completely prevent pregnancy insomnia, there are steps you can take that will reduce your chances. Sleep hygiene is the first line treatment for pregnancy insomnia according to most healthcare professionals. The practice of sleep hygiene is about creating a conducive environment for good quality sleep. It can significantly improve the quality of life for pregnant women.

Try one or all of these sleep hygiene techniques.

  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and cool, and only use a dimming nightlight in your bathroom.
  • Take out any screens and don’t look at them before you go to bed.
  • Every day, try to get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
  • Avoid spicy and fried foods at night. Reduce your evening fluid intake.
  • Do 30 minutes of exercise per day, at least 4 to 6 hours before you go to bed.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
  • Plan your daytime naps earlier in the morning.
  • Place your left side down, with your hips bent and your knees bent. To prevent low back or hip pain, keep a pillow between you legs.


Pregnancy insomnia refers to difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or both. The hormonal, physiologic and metabolic changes that occur during pregnancy can cause insomnia. Avoiding regular use of sleeping medication during pregnancy is not recommended. The following natural remedies have been shown to improve the quality of sleep during pregnancy: acupuncture and yoga; exercise; massage; cognitive behavioral therapy.

A word from Verywell

New parents often expect to lose sleep after their baby is born. However, insomnia can lead to sleepless nights long before that time. Early treatment is important because pregnancy insomnia can increase the chance of serious complications. Discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider and discuss your options for treatment. You don’t have to suffer from pregnancy insomnia just because it is common. There are many natural ways to get some sleep relief.


Most Frequently Asked Questions

Related Articles

Back to top button