As many as 78 percent of pregnant women experience insomnia at some point during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Many factors may contribute to a loss of sleep or low sleep quality during pregnancy including:
- Changed sleeping position. The simple logistics of growing another human inside your belly leads to a lot of structural changes in the body, which may mean your normal sleeping positions are no longer comfortable. For example, if you prefer to sleep on your stomach, as your pregnancy progresses, you may not be able to assume that sleeping position. This can disrupt your ability to sleep and may make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Dimitriu says these structural changes in your body are one of the biggest reasons why pregnant women experience insomnia. “Being larger and trying to sleep with a big belly can be challenging.”
- Anxiety. Pregnancy can be a stressful time for many women, and we all know how being anxious can cause sleepless nights. Depression is also often associated with insomnia. Anxiety-related pregnancy insomnia is often linked with a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night, Mindel says. This is the same for non-pregnant people who have anxiety-related insomnia. When these individuals wake up in the middle of the night, “instead of going back to sleep, the things they tend to be anxious about tend to come out at that time. It can become a habit,” and over time, your brain becomes accustomed to this “dysfunctional sleep pattern.”