Pregnant woman laying on her side.

8 Reasons You Aren't Sleeping at 8 Months Pregnant

One of the most common pieces of advice that expecting mothers receive is to sleep as much as possible now, because pretty soon it won’t be an option. Unfortunately, that’s a lot harder said than done, especially once you get into your third trimester. Pregnancy brings about drastic changes to your body, hormones, and digestive system. As you get closer to your due date, your belly grows larger to accommodate your developing baby. This can be fairly uncomfortable, which is one of the biggest reasons for sleep deprivation towards the end of your pregnancy. However, the size of your belly isn’t the only reason you might be missing your REM cycles. To help you better understand your body and improve your overall wellness, here we’ll discuss eight reasons you aren’t sleeping at 8 months pregnant.

The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

During sleep, your body works to repair cells, muscles, and organs. Your brain processes information and gets rid of the accumulation of harmful waste products while chemicals that help strengthen your immune system circulate throughout your body. It’s an important part of your daily routine and should therefore, always be prioritized—especially when you’re pregnant. In fact, women who suffer from sleep deprivation during pregnancy are more likely to experience preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and longer labors with higher rates of cesarean sections. If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider the cause so you can take preventative measures and reduce your risk factors for complications.

8 Common Pregnancy Related Sleep Problems

Exhaustion is customary during the third trimester and sleeping doesn’t come easy. When you’re 8 months pregnant, you’ll likely experience varying symptoms such as shortness of breath, hemorrhoids, leg cramps, general fatigue, increased urination, stress, or occasional Braxton Hicks contractions. All of these changes, alongside your growing belly, can contribute to a lack of sleep. To better understand your body, here are eight potential reasons you aren’t sleeping at 8 months pregnant.


  1. Nocturnal Baby

    For some reason, babies love to move the most when their mother is resting. This means that towards the end of your pregnancy, it will likely feel like your baby is dancing in the womb as you’re trying to go to sleep. While there’s not much you can do to stop this, try to see it as a positive sign and enjoy their reassuring movements. Do your best to try and sleep regardless.


  2. Frequent Need to Pee

    The closer you are to your delivery date, the more often you’ll need to use the bathroom. As your baby grows, an increasing amount of pressure is placed on your bladder. Therefore, one of the most common reasons that you may not be sleeping through the night is due to the incessant need to empty your bladder. While it can be difficult, if not impossible, to completely eliminate this problem, you can reduce the number of times that you wake up throughout the night by reaching your daily water intake earlier in the day. It’s still important that you stay hydrated but drinking more water early and slowly decreasing intake can help you avoid too many late-night bathroom breaks. When you do need to get up, try to avoid turning on bright LED lights that can disrupt your circadian rhythm and rely on nightlights or dim lamps to guide the way.


  3. Anxiety or Insomnia

    Your upcoming delivery date can cause a lot of anxiety for new mothers. Whether it be a growing to-do list, the demands of motherhood, or general fears of becoming a parent, anxiety is guaranteed to ruin your sleep. This can lead to ongoing bouts of insomnia, which fuels your anxiety even further during the day. Try to relax and if you can’t sleep, avoid turning to your phone for distractions. Instead, take a warm shower or bath, read a book, or listen to soothing music.

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  4. General Discomfort

    Close to 80% of pregnant women have difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position, especially when in the third trimester. While you can sleep safely on your left side, using a pregnancy pillow will provide you with more options for getting comfortable enough to fall asleep.


  5. Nasal Congestion

    Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone increase the amount of blood flow throughout your body. This includes the membranes in your nose, which can lead to swelling and higher mucus production. If nasal congestion is keeping you awake throughout the night, try using a saline nasal spray or a nose strip. These are considered safe for pregnancy, but any other treatment options should be discussed in detail with your doctor.


  6. Hunger

    If you’re having trouble sleeping while pregnant due to a gnawing hunger that never seems to go away, you’re not alone. While eating a big meal right before bed can make it more difficult to sleep, you don’t want to go to bed hungry. Instead, have a light snack that’s rich in healthy fat before your bedtime routine to help ward off impending hunger.


  7. Heartburn

    Indigestion is common throughout pregnancy due to the hormones coursing through your body. These hormones relax the muscle that keeps stomach acid inside, creating enough room for your baby to develop. While not always preventable, you can reduce your risk of experiencing heartburn by not eating two hours before going to sleep. If you need a snack to curb your hunger, eat something cool or refreshing and avoid spicy foods or other heartburn triggering items. You may also find relief by propping your head up on a few pillows to help raise the esophageal pathway.


  8. Restless Leg Syndrome and Cramping

Restless leg syndrome, an uncontrollable urge to move your legs, occurs in roughly one in four pregnant women. You may feel like your skin is crawling when you’re still, causing you to continue moving your legs for hours. One of the best ways to address restless leg syndrome is to do what you can to prepare your body for sleep and try to resist the urge to move your legs.

Leg cramping is another thing that most expecting women experience in the second half of their pregnancy. While the cause is generally unknown, many doctors believe it has to do with the compression of blood vessels caused by weight gain during pregnancy. Cramping often feels like a painful spasm and while it can occur at any time, it tends to be more common at night. To help, eat a diet that’s high in calcium and magnesium and discuss any concerns with your doctor.


Ways to Help Improve Pregnancy Sleep Problems

Take the time to listen to your body when your restless so you can take a strategic approach to improving your sleeping habits. Some of the best ways to improve pregnancy sleep problems include the following.

Avoid Excess Sugar

Sugar causes a spike in energy and can create unstable blood glucose levels that keep you awake. Avoid excess sugar throughout your pregnancy, especially in the afternoons and evenings.

Stay Hydrated

Water helps you regulate your energy levels and promotes healthy cellular functioning. To avoid using the bathroom several times throughout the night, focus on getting your daily water intake early and slowly tapering off consumption.

Get Some Exercise

Exercising during the mornings will help you regulate your circadian rhythm and improve your overall quality of sleep. Aim to do something active every day but avoid exercising in the evening as it energizes you and could have the opposite effect.

Avoid Screens

Blue light from technology sends the same signal to our brain as sunlight, which causes an internal shift in your circadian rhythm. Eliminate screen use at least one hour before bedtime for healthy melatonin levels and more restful sleep.

Try Deep Relaxation Exercises

Deep relaxation techniques can be used during your pregnancy to help you fall asleep and ease your anxiety. They will also come in handy during parenthood and other stressful situations in your life, so the benefits are long-lasting. Some exercises that help promote relaxation include yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, and more.


Once your baby comes, sleep deprivation is inevitable—at least while they adjust to a schedule. To make sure that you get all of the sleep you need, supplement nursing sessions with breast pumping so you can share nighttime feedings with your partner. Byram Healthcare has plenty of insurance covered breast pumps available to help you find exactly what you need. View our comparison chart and order your breast pump today.