Lady in bed gently holding her belly, depicting comfort and care during pregnancy.

Being pregnant is an exciting, life changing experience that has a huge impact on your life. It can also affect the quality of your sleep, from trying to find a comfortable position to accommodate your growing bump, to what feels like a constantly full bladder, or experiencing heartburn.

Why am I finding it difficult to sleep during my pregnancy? 

There are all the practical things to think of too, such as getting everything ready for your baby, organising maternity leave and carrying out your day-to-day chores – all whilst experiencing periods of low energy and poor sleep. Changes and increases in certain hormones can lead to tiredness, feeling hot and mood swings and nearly 70% of pregnant mums also experience ‘morning sickness’, which can actually happen at other times of the day too!

We’ve found some useful tips that will help you to sleep better during your pregnancy.

Fresh air and exercise during pregnancy

Getting outside for some fresh air and doing gentle exercise for as long as you feel comfortable can contribute to you feeling sleepier at night. One study found that 35-90 minutes of aerobic exercise (for example, walking or swimming), 3 – 4 times a week during pregnancy is associated with a higher chance of natural birth and a lower chance of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.

Try to relax

Practicing relaxation techniques before bed may help lessen the number of times you waken each night and can help to lower anxiety. Antenatal teacher and expert Jenny Barrett says that some pregnant mums find that Yoga classes specifically designed for pregnancy can help in terms of exercise and in learning relaxation techniques that could help not only with sleep but also during labour.

Cut out caffeine

You may not be able to cut it out altogether but work at reducing your daily intake. Try to avoid caffeine later in the day as this can keep you awake during the night. Caffeine isn’t just found in coffee, but also in tea, hot chocolate, and energy drinks. It can also be found in some medicines, such as cold and flu remedies. Herbal teas are an alternative but research the ingredients before you brew up. White ginger or peppermint teas can also help to ease morning sickness.

Booze and the Bump

The NHS recommendation is to avoid alcohol when you are pregnant – or even planning to become pregnant. When you drink, alcohol passes from your blood, through the placenta to your baby. It can also lead to disrupted sleep.

Eat healthily and avoid sugary foods

The NSH information states that you make sure you include plenty of fresh fruit and veg in your daily diet as these include vitamins and minerals - as well as fibre, which helps digestion and can help prevent constipation. Starchy foods can help maintain energy levels, such as (brown) rice, (wholemeal) pasta, potatoes (with skin left on), and cornmeal. Eat some protein-rich foods every day, such as beans, pulses, fish or poultry – but ensure that any poultry you eat is cooked very thoroughly. Dairy foods such as milk, some (pasteurised) cheeses and yoghurt are important because they contain calcium. A small percentage of unsaturated fats, such as those found in oily fish, avocado and nuts are also important for a balanced diet. Try to limit foods that contain a high amount of sugar as these can contribute to unnecessary weight gain and if eaten too close to bedtime are likely to cause disrupted sleep.

Create a relaxing sleeping environment

Put away devices at least an hour before bedtime and turn off the TV. You will sleep better if you have a relaxing sleeping environment with low lighting. To help with fluctuating temperatures caused by hormones throughout pregnancy, opt for sleepwear that is loose and made with 100% natural fibres, such as cotton. Natural bedding will also help; use 100% cotton bedlinen and opt for a wool duvet and pillows. Wool is a wonderful fibre that’s breathable and temperature regulating, working with you to keep your core body temperature balanced throughout the night. You can find out more about our gorgeous, individually handcrafted British wool duvets and pillows on our website. You can also use our pillows to help support your bump or legs whilst you sleep.

Helping with heartburn

This is a common issue with pregnancy and is caused by a relaxation of the valve between your stomach and the tube leading to it, caused by hormonal changes. This means that small amounts of stomach acid can pass into the tube, and this causes a burning sensation. Your growing bump will also push on your stomach, which can make this worse in the later stages of your pregnancy. Avoiding spicy foods close to bedtime and eating little and often can help to reduce heartburn. Try not to rush your meals but take time to eat slowly. You might also find that raising the head of your bed will help. If you are experiencing severe issues with heartburn, then seek advice from your doctor or midwife who may be able to prescribe an antacid that’s safe to use during pregnancy.

Reducing ‘morning’ sickness

As mentioned previously, this can happen at any time of the day - or night. Eating a small quantity of plain food, such as toast or rice crackers before you go to bed can help, as going to bed on a completely empty stomach can make you feel even more sick. Keep hydrated throughout the day and avoid very greasy or sugary food.


If you have any concerns, always consult your doctor or midwife for advice about issues related to your pregnancy.

Ref: National Childbirth Trust; NHS.