Better Pregnancy Sleep

benefits of dance healthy pregnancy pregnacy exercise sleep Jan 13, 2023
Pregnant Woman Sleeping

by Stephanie Larson

As anyone who has been pregnant can affirm, sleep can sometimes suffer during pregnancy. It’s essential to get enough sleep when you’re pregnant, but there can be challenges. Are you finding it hard to get comfortable in bed as your belly grows? Are leg cramps waking you at night? Does poor quality sleep lead to you feeling overly tired during the daytime, or make it difficult to concentrate? Let’s talk about how to get better pregnancy sleep—starting now.

One of the best ways to improve your sleep, ironically, has nothing to do with what you do at night. Instead it relates to how you spend your days. If you’re mostly sedentary during your week it can lead to poor sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, research shows that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week provides a 65% improvement in sleep quality, makes leg cramps while sleeping 68% less likely, and makes it easier to fall asleep more quickly. But is it safe to exercise during pregnancy? 

Exercise during pregnancy is generally considered not only safe, but beneficial. You can begin now, no matter what trimester you’re in. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that healthy pregnant people get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Dancing For Birth is a class created specifically for pregnancy and postpartum, with stretches and gentle but challenging moves that feel wonderful on your changing body and your shifting center of gravity. These moves not only feel good and help you sleep better, they are also designed to help your baby attain an optimal fetal position for birth, and to teach you how to use movement during birth, to make birth easier and more pleasurable. Getting into an active pregnancy lifestyle takes intention. You may arrive at class feeling tired, but you’ll leave energized, and ready to sleep deeply at bedtime. 

An added benefit of dancing is that the feel-good hormones your body produces when you’re dancing (especially the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin) can help you get to sleep faster, stay asleep longer, and, as a bonus, have sexy dreams. This is because oxytocin is also the hormone of lovemaking, birth and bonding. Cool, right?

As your baby grows, it can put pressure on your internal organs, making it uncomfortable to sleep in certain positions. It’s ok to change positions during the night, to find your comfort. Pregnant individuals used to be advised not to sleep on their back or their right side, but in a recent study the researchers concluded that “sleeping position during early and mid-pregnancy does not appear to affect the risk of complications.” Once you reach 30 weeks pregnant it may be advisable to start sleeping on your left side to improve blood flow. A pregnancy pillow can provide support for your back and belly.

Another important factor in getting better sleep during pregnancy is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This will help regulate your body's internal clock and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Engage in relaxing activities before bedtime. Reading, listening to music, or taking a warm bath can all help to prepare your body and mind for sleep. Avoiding screens for at least an hour before bedtime is also important, as the blue light emitted from electronic devices can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.

Pregnancy can make getting a good night's sleep difficult, but with a few simple strategies, it’s possible to improve your sleep quality and feel more rested. Exercising regularly, and sticking to a regular sleep schedule are key to better pregnancy sleep. Remember to speak with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.



Stephanie Larson is a leading world expert on vertical birth and supporting birth through movement and instinct. She is the Founder and CEO of Dancing For Birth™. She calls for an end to forced lithotomy position, and for a worldwide shift to primal, powerful, euphoric birth.

What's Dancing For Birth?
  • An evidence-based childbirth method based on our principles of movement, gravity, and instinct.
  • An approved continuing education professional training and advanced certification for birth and wellness professionals 
  • A world-renowned weekly parent class for preconception through postpartum taught by certified instructors on six continents. It's a fun and effective fusion of Prenatal Fitness, Childbirth Education, and Celebration.


Dancing For Birth™ content is for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. In an emergency immediately call your midwife, doctor, or paramedics. Dancing For Birth, LLC, its members, officers, representatives, agents, authors, employees, volunteers, assigns or any third parties who contribute to the content or who are mentioned in the content are not responsible for errors or omissions, or for how you use the information. Use of this information is solely at your own risk.