Getting a good night’s sleep through pregnancy can be —challenging — you toss and turn, wake up on your belly and have a midnight freak out, wake up to pee multiple times per night, and jostle around while the baby has a 3 a.m. kicking party. Data from different scientific studies have shown that up to 94% of pregnant people experience sleep disturbances during pregnancy, including insomnia. And things often get worse the closer it gets to your due date, as your belly becomes larger and your joints and muscles become even achier.
Sometimes the key to restful sleep is easing worries before bed. Nwegbo-Banks says that pregnant people can focus on improving their sleep hygiene to get more Zzz’s at night. This can include avoiding blue light from devices later in the evening, sleeping in a dark and comfortable room, and taking a warm bath or shower prior to going to bed, which she says can be “of great benefit.”
If anxiety is a major reason a patient isn’t getting enough sleep, she recommends counseling or psychotherapy to handle underlying concerns. Finally, she recommends trying to sleep on your left side as much as possible “to avoid compressing large blood vessels that nourish the fetus and placenta.” She also suggests placing pillows between the knees to get more comfortable in that position.
Whether you’re pregnant, or you’re helping the pregnant person in your life get better sleep by gifting them some better Zzz’s, here are our favorite innovative and classic pregnancy sleep products.
For people who sleep with a partner, the full-body pregnancy pillow can feel like there’s a third person occupying your bed. But ask anyone who’s used one while experiencing back and hip pain during pregnancy and they’ll tell you it’s worth the space it takes up. This particular option is shaped like a capital C, which cocoons you from head to knees, rather than having to pile up multiple pillows in your problem areas. Because who needs an obstacle course when they’re pregnant and trying to get in or out of bed? It also has a firmer feel than some other options.
Dr. Peace Nwegbo-Banks, an OBGYN in Pearland, Texas, noted that pillows can help stabilize your back and hips, making them a good option for anyone looking to get better sleep.
$59.99 | Find out more
Sleeping on the left side all night is easier said than done, but it’s the ideal position for blood flow for mother and baby. This product makes it more bearable, especially for those who have achy hip and back joints or sore muscles. The gel foam topper isn’t thick enough to add any significant height to the bed, but it gives just enough support to make a pregnant person feel like they’re lying on a cloud instead of a painful hip. This option is a great addition to a stiffer mattress. Some might feel as though this product can generate additional warmth, so consider pairing with cooling sheets or adding a fan to the room.
Starting at $65.99 | Find out more
While the idea of a weighted blanket during pregnancy might seem bizarre — given that you are likely already going through night sweats and hot flashes — this cooling version is not too toasty. If the idea of the weight causes you some stress, Nwegbo-Banks says weighted blankets are safe to use in pregnancy, and could possibly help with a few medical conditions too.
“Some research suggests that restless legs syndrome may be connected to anxiety. So if it helps manage anxiety, it may help with restless legs,” she explains. Opt for a blanket that is 10% of your overall weight so it won’t feel much different from a heavy blanket or extra pillows.
$299.99 | Find out more
These pajamas have a cult-like following amongst pregnant people, even though, technically, they aren’t maternity clothes. The Cool Nights material is silky but still feels like cotton, and never gets hot — even through nightly toss and turn sessions . One of the most pregnancy-friendly aspects is the adjustable drawstring waistband that sits comfortably under a protruding belly, and remains forgiving during the postpartum period too. Finally, these are customizable and come in shorts, capris, pants, night dresses, tanks, and more. The button-down t-shirt is one of the most nursing-friendly options, if you are looking for items that will continue to help you after the baby is born.
Starting at $28 | Find out more
Another way to help a pregnant person stay cool at night without freezing the rest of their household with a blasting air conditioner is to gift them a new set of sheets. As soon as you open this linen set, you’ll notice that the moisture-wicking fabric feels similar to your favorite workout shirt, which makes sense, because both are meant to be breathable. These sheets are 10 times more breathable than normal cotton sheets, which allows the body to naturally cool itself. With an almost silky feel, these sheets seem more like the type of bedding one would find in a luxury hotel, making any pregnant person want to climb into bed at the end of the day instead of dreading difficult sleeping at night. Extra deep pockets mean you can still use a mattress topper without the sheets falling short on the bed corners and popping off overnight.
Starting at $143.99 | Find out more
Essential oils, like lavender, can be a great addition to anyone’s sleep-supporting toolkit. One study suggests that lavender may help decrease the time it takes to get to sleep, as well as increase sleep duration and slow-wave sleep. Additionally, pregnant people often experience pregnancy rhinitis, which means they have a stuffy nose as a result of increased blood flow, making them feel they are always battling allergies or a low-level cold. So, an essential oil diffuser that works while they sleep has a doubly-beneficial effect.
The PureSpa Natural Essential Oil Diffuser is whisper-quiet, using ultrasonic technology to dispense subtle, but long-lasting aromas with just three to five drops of oil.
$49.99 | Find out more
If you are looking to gift an experience rather than an item, the Expectful app might help. The app offers a variety of meditations and sleep sounds specially geared towards pregnancy. If you are experiencing anxiety, there’s a meditation for that. If you simply need some sounds to zone out to, there’s something for that as well.
Subscriptions start at $5.83/year | Find out more
Heating pads are a must-have for sore pelvic bones, achy backs, and even a tight neck after a restless night. But not all heating pads are the same. PureRelief Deluxe Heating Pad offers four levels of therapeutic warmth that are ideal for soothing your back, shoulders, or lap.
$64.99 | Find out more