Third Trimester Insomnia: Causes and Strategies

Insomnia during pregnancy can keep you up all night and give you the time you don’t want to worry about many other things. Instead of letting your thoughts wander and cause stress to build up, let’s delve deeper into the reasons why third-trimester insomnia happens to some moms – hopefully knowing why will set you at ease and help you fall asleep tonight!

Causes of third trimester insomnia

pregnant woman sleeping bed


Unable to toss and turn comfortably

Tossing, turning or changing your sleeping positions can become uncomfortable when your belly becomes bigger and moving about might disrupt your sleep.


Frequent urination

When your uterus expands, you’ll need to answer nature’s call and go to the restroom more often – even at night.


Awakened by strong fetal movements

Strong fetal movements can make the quality of your sleep go down. You might be rudely awakened by kicks from your fetus.


Effects of hormones

Estrogen is secreted in high amounts in the third trimester. It has the effect of making you feel more awake and thus can cause insomnia.

Strategies to deal with third trimester insomnia

pregnant woman sleeping

How did other expectant moms deal with third trimester insomnia? They tried all means and ways to go about dealing with it – so, what did they do?


1. Sleep when you’re tired regardless of the time

“I woke up after every 1 to 2 hours of sleep at night. It was tiring in the day, but when it became night time, it was such an uphill task trying to fall asleep. I decided not to get stressed about not being able to sleep and it became so much better! I think there isn’t any point stressing over it. Just let it be.”

If you start accepting third-trimester insomnia as a fact that you cannot change, that might provide you with some mental relief. Instead of treating it as a problem you must “cure”, letting it be and accepting what comes your way can make each day must easier to bear. This will help baby too!


2. Exercise

“I was more careful and tried to reduce the number of times I went out in the third trimester. After that, I starting having insomnia. The doctor warned me that I should be moving my body around to keep my muscles strong, so I decided to start taking walks. That got rid of the insomnia problem and I started sleeping well again.”

Trying to stay still because it’s too tough otherwise? When you exercise, your muscles get stronger and you’ll be able to expend the extra energy you have, making it easier to fall asleep at night.

However, if you’re at risk of a threatened preterm birth or a threatened miscarriage, then exercise is off limits to you. Remember to take into consideration your current condition and your practitioner’s advice.
If you can’t do much, talk short walks. That might help you feel mentally refreshed.


3. Sleeping when you feel like it and relaxing when you can

“Bringing up a child starting from the in utero days is actually a really long journey, so it’s best to enjoy everything while you can. What I do is this: when I wake up at night, I go on to listen to the music I’ve been wanting to listen to, do some reading and go about my life. It helps calm me down and pass each day as well as I possibly can.”

“Prioritize your mental health. When I couldn’t sleep, I tried different therapies like aromatherapy, music therapy, et cetera.”

Telling yourself to relax instead of telling yourself to sleep might be a much more effective way of combating insomnia. You might fall asleep to the music or book you’re reading. Try to avoid using your phone, the television or the computer just before bedtime as the light from these screens activate your brain and might be you more awake than before.


4. Find a sleeping position you’re comfortable with

“My stomach was so heavy, I woke up every time my body turned itself around. I started using another pillow to support the weight of my belly while I slept on my side. It helped to get rid of the back pain and now I’m able to sleep just fine!”

Have you heard of the Sim’s’ position for sleeping? You might want to give it a shot so that you can still have a good night’s rest even when the estrogen is working against you and keeping you awake in the third trimester.


5. Taking naps in the day

“Since I couldn’t sleep in the day, I figured that I should just sleep in the day. I usually had naps at around 3 to 4 in the day when I become sleepy.”

Becoming a nocturnal animal and sleeping in the day won’t harm your baby or change their sleep patterns. So, if you have to, sleep in the day and don’t fight insomnia at night. This will make you feel less stressed and you’ll be able to rest and give your body the time it needs to strengthen itself.

No stress, more rest

woman reading book night

The third trimester can be exhausting when you have to deal with a rapidly growing baby, nausea and now, insomnia.

That said, no stress! Take time to do what you like, sleep when you want to, and try not to let it affect you too much emotionally. Remember that labor and delivery is approaching and you have to stay on top of things. Think of your baby and all will be fine. If you used to complain about not having enough time, that 24 hours is too short – you finally got what you wanted! Make use of the time to prepare for parenthood; don’t let it take you by surprise!