Can Insomnia Be an Early Sign of Pregnancy?

People who can become pregnant may wonder about early signs or symptoms of pregnancy. For instance, can insomnia be one of these early symptoms?

Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that occurs when someone has difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Difficulty falling or staying asleep commonly affects pregnant and non-pregnant people alike. So is it a reliable indicator of pregnancy?

This article explains how sleep may change with pregnancy and whether insomnia is a sign of being pregnant.

sleep changes during pregnancy

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

How Sleep Changes Early in Pregnancy

The first trimester of pregnancy includes many changes that affect a person's body, some of which occur soon after conception. A handful of these adjustments can also interrupt sleep in pregnancy. Therefore, some of these early shifts can lead to insomnia.

People in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy commonly experience fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness. Some other signs of tiredness include:

  • Poor concentration
  • Impaired job performance
  • Increased likelihood of accidents

Sleepiness affects up to 37.5% of pregnant people at 6 to 7 weeks. That's because the increased levels of the hormone progesterone cause drowsiness. In addition, progesterone often leads to increased sleep interruptions, which may affect overall sleep quality.

Moreover, some other early pregnancy symptoms can also disrupt sleep. These include:

  • Morning sickness
  • Needing to urinate more frequently, including in the night
  • Back pain
  • Breast tenderness
  • Increased appetite
  • Anxiety

By week 10 of pregnancy, people spend more time sleeping. Often this means a longer sleep duration overnight, and sometimes it includes napping during the day. This increased sleep is because sleep is more disturbed by frequent awakenings, and deep sleep decreases.

Many pregnant people complain that they get poor quality sleep during this period. Fortunately, rest tends to improve in the second trimester. However, sleep tends to worsen again with the physical discomfort of late pregnancy.

Recap

Hormonal changes in early pregnancy can impact a person's sleep. In addition, other early pregnancy discomforts can interrupt sleep, which can lead to insomnia.

Can Insomnia Be a Sign of Pregnancy?

Even though insomnia is a common occurrence during pregnancy, it is not a reliable early indicator of pregnancy for a couple of reasons, including:

  • It may not occur often or early enough to be an actual physical sign of being pregnant.
  • Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, affecting millions of people of all genders and ages.

Consequently, insomnia should not be relied upon as a sign that a person has become pregnant.

Getting Help for Insomnia

If you have insomnia, no matter the reason, you should seek help to sleep better. For temporary relief, you can use over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription sleep medications.

However, you should not use these for longer than a few weeks. Also, if you think you may be pregnant, you should avoid them altogether.

Instead, take a home pregnancy test or see your healthcare provider to be sure. Then seek out alternate options for persistent sleep difficulties.

Sleep Study

If your trouble sleeping persists, seek an evaluation by a board-certified sleep physician. If needed, your doctor can arrange a sleep study to identify the causes of the disturbance, such as sleep apnea. In addition, they can sort out contributions from stress, anxiety, pain, and other issues. 

Fortunately, if a sleep disorder is contributing to insomnia, effective treatment may quickly resolve the condition.

Therapy

Since some medications may not be safe to use during pregnancy, you may want to try other solutions. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTI) is an attractive option to fix the condition without relying on sleeping pills. This education program teaches you a set of skills that will help you to sleep better for the rest of your life, no matter the cause of insomnia.

You can use our Doctor Discussion Guide below to start a conversation with a healthcare professional about the proper treatment approach for you.

Insomnia Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor's appointment to help you ask the right questions.

Doctor Discussion Guide Woman

Summary

While insomnia is common in early pregnancy, it is not a reliable indicator that you could be pregnant. That's because insomnia can affect anyone for a variety of reasons, pregnant or not.

A Word From Verywell

If you are suddenly struggling with insomnia, you may be wondering if it could be because you are pregnant. That's understandable since hormonal fluctuations and early pregnancy discomforts can lead to sleep disruption.

However, insomnia is not an accurate indicator of pregnancy, so if you are struggling with sleep, take a pregnancy test to be sure. Then seek out support from your healthcare provider to address your sleep issues.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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