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Monday 2 October 2023 Dublin: 11°C
# parents panel
11 tips for getting better sleep during pregnancy, according to women who've been there
Parents share their advice for sleeping like a baby (while growing one).

WHEN IT COMES to being pregnant, or parenting a newborn, everyone’s just figuring things out as they go. That’s why it can be so helpful to hear how other people are getting through the mess of it all, from the first nappy change to the countless sleepless nights.

Our Newborn and Baby Parents Panel is made up of parents and parents-to-be, all raising little ones aged up to 24 months.


This week, we asked our panel to weigh in on one of the toughest parts of pregnancy: sleep. 

What’s one thing that has made it easier to sleep during pregnancy?

Here are a few of the best responses:

Sleeping on your left side helps with heartburn: Between restless leg syndrome, nausea, needing to use the toilet more frequently, general pain and discomfort, and baby’s 2am Riverdance auditions, a good night’s sleep is hard to come by throughout pregnancy. I have found that sleeping on your left side helps with heartburn, sickness, and symptoms of low blood pressure. Two pillows between the knees help with lower back/hip pain. A slim pillow under your bump feels more comfortable too, and one or two tucked in under your back/side to stop you rolling onto your back. Definitely invest in a pregnancy pillow, I’d be lost without mine.

- Shauna Buggy

I could not go to bed without a bottle of water beside the bed: Whatever the weather, if I’m warm or cold, I seem to always wake up a few times throughout the night needing a drink. Having a bottle of water by the bed means I can roll over, get a quick drink and fall back asleep easily. Unfortunately, it usually means I wake up to go to the loo more often as well though. Not ideal!

- Miriam Maher

Sleep meditation videos on YouTube were a lifesaver: Sleep was a nightmare for me on both of my pregnancies because I suffered really badly with SPD (Symphysis pubis dysfunction) and heartburn! This meant that it was impossible to get comfortable. From early on I had to accept that I wasn’t going to get a full night’s sleep like before and that sometimes resting is the next best thing. 

The two things that helped the most were a Dreamgenii pillow and sleep meditation videos on YouTube. I never bothered with the pillow on my first, but I wish I had! I’m still using it after having my second, it’s so comfortable. Also Michael Sealey’s sleep meditation videos on YouTube were a lifesaver because they helped me to just switch off and relax. 

- Amy Molyneaux

shutterstock_360993182 Shutterstock / ambrozinio Shutterstock / ambrozinio / ambrozinio

All the pillows: Take your pillows, your other half’s pillows, pregnancy pillows, cushions off the couch, whatever needed to make yourself a comfortable cocoon if you’re into that. I’m currently 16 weeks pregnant with baby number two and have dug out my pregnancy pillow plus two normal pillows to get comfortable, and it’s still early months. Anything helps, especially with a bed-sharing toddler who takes up two-thirds of the bed and sleeps horizontally.

- Jess Mushanski

Turn off the television: I had really vivid dreams sometimes nightmares during pregnancy, so making sure you don’t read the news or watch Netflix documentaries before bed and having a warm shower helped!

- Valerie Murray

Relaxation CDs were amazing: I did the Gentle Birthing course while pregnant which all went out the window once my waters broke. But the relaxation CDs that accompanied the course were amazing for helping me to sleep. 

- Aisling Fitzgerald

I used lavender essential oil: As someone who had never/could never sleep on my side, sleeping was especially hard for me while pregnant! I am one of the ones who did not find a body pillow helpful, but I did find that a combination of sleep practices helped. I used lavender essential oil, lowered the room temperature, used a sleep mask and earplugs, and didn’t drink anything within an hour of bedtime – that gave me a good night’s sleep and minimized mid-sleep bathroom trips. 

- Kristi Paris

shutterstock_291108077 Shutterstock / antoniodiaz Shutterstock / antoniodiaz / antoniodiaz

The Gentlebirth app helped calm my worries: I listened to the Gentlebirth app relaxation tracks to help me relax & drift off to sleep. They were wonderful at helping calm my worries about the pregnancy that otherwise kept me awake.  

- Siobhán Mehigan

Keep your pillow cool: I kept a spare pillow so that I could swap out for a cold one during the night as I was always roasting! 

- Sarah McGinley

You can’t beat freshly washed bed clothes: I found the ‘This Works’ products brilliant during pregnancy to help me relax and drift off to sleep. In particular, the pillow spray and the roll-on for your pulse points were really nice products. And you can’t beat freshly washed and ironed bed clothes to relax you as soon as you get into bed – this coupled with the products I mentioned was a winning combo for me towards the end of my pregnancy!

- Claire Kodjo

Getting rid of the phone at bedtime really helped me to drift off easier: Instead, I got into a good routine of doing some reading in relaxing dim light. It helped to squash some of the information anxiety brought on from the midnight ‘over-googling’ of everything and anything baby and labour related. That, and a enormous supportive pillow worked a treat! 

- Mairéad McHugh


More Parents Panel: 'He walks like his grandad': 7 parents share the family habits their kids have already picked up

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