Sleep is like the catch-22 of pregnancy. On the one hand, tiredness ‒ or, let’s be real, full-on exhaustion ‒ is one of the very first pregnancy symptoms that many mamas-to-be experience. 7pm bedtime, anyone?
On the other hand, sleeping during pregnancy can actually be very difficult.
Your hormones can cause vivid dreams and pregnancy insomnia.
And there’s also the midnight bathroom breaks, leg cramps, and the discomfort of a growing baby belly.
If you’re a pregnant person reading this at 3am and wondering can I take anything to help me sleep while pregnant?, you’re not alone.
So what can you do to get as much rest as possible before your baby is born? And specifically, can you take melatonin while pregnant?
In this article 📝
- What is melatonin?
- Is melatonin safe during pregnancy?
- What can I take to sleep while pregnant?
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that’s naturally produced in your brain.
It has an important role in controlling your circadian rhythm, A.K.A. your sleep-wake cycle.
The darker it gets in your environment, the more melatonin your body produces, and this gets you ready for a good night’s sleep.
You can also buy melatonin as a supplement. It’s used mostly by people who:
- Find it hard to fall asleep.
- Find it hard to stay asleep.
- Experience jet lag.
- Work night shifts.
Is melatonin safe during pregnancy?
There’s a short but unhelpful answer here: we don’t know.
And why can you not take melatonin while pregnant?
While there’s virtually no evidence that links melatonin to miscarriage, birth differences, or premature labor, there’s also no evidence to prove that it’s safe to take during pregnancy.
The main reason for this is quite simple: there’s no standard dose of melatonin and no standard strength across the available brands.
This makes it very difficult to predict its effects. How much melatonin is safe during pregnancy? It’s impossible to say.
To make things more complicated, your natural melatonin levels go up as your pregnancy goes on, but this curve is unique to every woman
This means that there’s even more chance that a supplement will throw things out of balance and leave you struggling with the side effects of melatonin the next day.
What can I take to sleep while pregnant?
While we don’t know enough about melatonin and pregnancy to recommend taking it as a sleep aid, there are some things that you can do to help you get some much-needed shut-eye.
- Get comfy: Use a pregnancy body pillow–or gather throw cushions from around your house–and use them to support your belly, pelvis, or any other part of your body that’s making you uncomfortable.
- Keep it cool: 65° gives you the best chance of a good night’s sleep.
- Treat your pregnancy symptoms: Bloating, heartburn, and indigestion are common complaints throughout pregnancy. Antacids can really help. And if leg cramps are your problem, talk to your doctor about a magnesium supplement. If you treat these symptoms, you’ll be more comfortable at night.
- Exercise: Get your body ready for rest at night by moving during the day, preferably in the daylight, so you get those natural melatonin levels in the right place.
- Cut down on caffeine: Especially in the afternoon. And if you’re used to a hot drink before bed, chamomile tea is great for promoting calm sleep.
- Turn off screens: An hour of screen-free time before bed does wonders for the quality of your sleep. If this isn’t an option for you, you can also install a filter on your laptop or phone to minimize the effect of the blue light.
It’s tough, and it sucks, but we do know that insomnia won’t harm your baby. For now, just do what you can to get as much rest as possible, and know that you’re not alone.
Remember, if you do find yourself up at all hours, the Peanut community is there to keep you company. They might even have some more top pregnancy sleep tips that work for you.
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