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The mattress that rescued me from brutal pregnancy insomnia — and other pro picks

Woman sitting up in bed
Sleep can feel impossible during pregnancy for several reasons, but these mattresses invite sweet sleep. Plus: Dozens of tips for pregnancy insomnia. (Photo: Getty)

I know, pregnancy insomnia is common. Stress, hormones, never not having to pee and general discomfort steal your sleep just when you’re most desperate to store it up. But mine was extreme. I was getting one and a half hours most nights, if that. It was becoming impossible to do my job, and I was starting to worry that I might leave the oven on or walk into traffic by accident.

Quick overview
  • Dux 3003, Queen

    Best Luxury Mattress for Pregnancy Insomnia

  • Spindle Choose Your Own Firmness Mattress, Queen

    The Best Budget Latex Mattress for Pregnancy Insomnia

  • Saatva Solaire, Queen

    Best Adjustable Mattress for Pregnancy Insomnia

  • Sleep Number Climate360 Smart Bed, Queen

    Best Smart Bed for Pregnancy Insomnia

  • Healthy Choice Organic Mattress Orchid Mattress, Queen

    Best Organic Mattress for Pregnancy Insomnia

It boiled over one night around at 2 a.m. I had gotten about 15 minutes of sleep and could tell that I wasn’t going to get any more. I was scream-crying in the hallway outside the bedroom. That woke up my husband, who usually can sleep through anything. (Now he says it was almost as scary as my yelling during labor.) Out of anger and sheer helplessness, he ripped off his T-shirt like the Incredible Hulk — and he's not a big or angry guy. I snapped out of it.

“I guess I'll try sleeping in the guest room,” I said in a small, sad voice.

His eyes lit up. “You know, you haven’t slept since we moved in here. Since we got the new mattress. It’s the mattress.

As I settled onto our guest bed — the little Ikea mattress from my old Brooklyn apartment — my lower back relaxed and I realized he was right: The new mattress was to blame for my extreme pregnancy insomnia. We needed a new one for our bedroom — fast.

I quickly learned that the best mattresses for pregnancy insomnia have features that let you adjust their firmness, whether they're as simple as a firm side and a soft side or as sophisticated as layers or air chambers you can tweak until they're your perfect match. Read on to learn more about the top choices for pregnancy and beyond, because the sleep problems aren't going to go away once baby gets here.

This single-mattress bed features a removable top layer and a fully customizable comfort layer. The queen boasts 2,364 springs!
$8,450 at Duxiana
  • Materials: Steel springs, natural Hevea latex

  • Cost: $4,510 to $54,950

  • Returns and Warranty Policies: No returns but adjustments allowed; prorated 20-year warranty

Dux is the only mattress company I've come across that does its own research into how pregnancy affects sleeping position and quality. It’s found that between 50% and 70% of pregnant women suffer pain in their lower back. I don’t think this will be news to any woman who is or has ever been pregnant, but it felt validating to me. It’s also unusual among adjustable or customizable beds because its mattresses have springs, not just latex or foam. Those springs can be reconfigured to help you sleep better when your back aches, whether that’s due to pregnancy or an injury. Some of its mattresses also have adjustable lumbar supports.

Most Dux beds are made up of four layers: The two bottom layers contain springs that distribute your weight and rise up to support your spine. Next is a thinner layer of shorter springs in rectangular packets that you can move around as needed; Dux calls this layer its Pascal system and the packets cassettes. The standard Dux bed arrangement has the softest cassette at your head and shoulders, the medium one at your torso and hips, and the firmest one at your feet. (During pregnancy, the company recommends swapping the medium and firm ones so that the firm one is in the middle.) A top pad is made of natural latex from the Hevea rubber tree, encased in cotton. It’s a luxury mattress with a price to match, but it’s built to last generations, according to the company.

My husband and I tested the mattress both in the standard and pregnancy configurations. You really can feel the difference. I felt my hips sink in comfortably, relieving my back; it made it obvious how big a problem my hips were causing. The only potential downsides? There’s no trial period, though the company will send you different cassettes and work with you to perfect the fit. Of all the mattresses we tested, the Dux innerspring layers felt most supportive.

  • Materials: Copper gel memory foam

  • Cost: $749 to $1,249

  • Returns and Warranty Policies: 120-night trial period; lifetime warranty for original owner

If you’re not sure whether you prefer a soft or firm mattress, relax: You don’t have to choose just one. This ultra-affordable Layla mattress has a soft side and a firm side, so you can just flip it to suit your current mood.

Layla says that copper inside the memory foam responds to pressure by firming up, so it's designed to resist sagging over time; the metal, per Layla, also conducts heat away from your body so you sleep cooler and fends off stinky bacteria (it's naturally antimicrobial).

I didn’t get to try out the Layla firsthand, but satisfied reviewers praise the Layla for back pain relief, particularly during pregnancy. One fan wrote, “We love our mattress. My husband loves it so much he stole my mattress and had to buy me another one. I love that we have options: The firm side is great while being pregnant, nice support in the right areas. For my husband, the soft side relieved a lot of his back pain. He is FINALLY sleeping better. I would recommend this to family and friends!”

This mattress makes you the princess (and takes away the pea): Stack and restack layers of natural, organic Dunlop latex until you have a firmness level that makes you feel like royalty.
$1,600 at Spindle
  • Materials: Natural Talalay latex sourced in the U.S. (springs and topper); foam

  • Cost: $1,050 to $1,900

  • Returns and Warranty Policies: 365-night trial; no need to return mattress, simply donate to the charity of your choice; 10-year limited warranty

If you’re really not sure what firmness you like, a Spindle mattress lets you experiment with ease. Zipped inside the cotton cover (plumped up with wool batting) are three layers of latex: soft, medium and firm, each inside its own cotton cover. You restock them to exactly the right feel for you, then zip it back up. All in all, it’s a plush 10-inches thick.

Spindle also really focuses on the purity of its materials. The cotton, wool, and natural Dunlop latex are all organic, and they’re not treated with chemical flame retardants or VOCs. It holds all the certifications you want in a mattress: Oeko-Tex, Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS), and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). The company is also transparent about sourcing. Its cotton and wool come from South Carolina and California, respectively, and the latex from Sri Lanka.

You'll feel like you're sleeping on air in the Saatva Solaire—because chambers of air that you can inflate and deflate are exactly what make it so comfortable.
$3,056 at Saatva
  • Materials: Air chambers, memory foam, natural latex, organic cotton pillowtop

  • Cost: $2,525 to $5,050

  • Returns and Warranty Policies: 365-night trial; limited lifetime warranty

My mother-in-law has a Saatva mattress in a guest room, and our whole creaky family agrees that it’s extremely comfortable. Saatva is known for its dreamy combo: gel-infused memory foam, natural latex, plus a pillowtop. This specific model adds air chambers underneath the latex and memory foam. A remote control lets you increase the firmness or softness immediately to one of 50 settings and save your favorite. I didn’t personally test out a Solaire, but I like that it uses certified organic cotton, natural latex and memory foam that are held to high environmental standards, a nontoxic botanical antimicrobial treatment and a flame retardant treatment made of natural thistle pulp, not chemicals. Reviewers praise it, saying, “This must be what it’s like to sleep on a cloud!”

Hallelujah, hot sleepers! This mattress gets firmer or softer — and cooler — on its own during the night to help you rest.
$9,999 at Sleep Number
  • Materials: Air chambers, foam, pillowtop

  • Cost: $699 to $13,499

  • Returns and Warranty Policies: 100-night trial for mattresses but not adjustable bases (which are not returnable); return shipping and/or recycling fees not included; 15-year limited warranty for mattresses; one-year full warranty and limited 15-year warranty for adjustable bases

It seems like everyone and their mom — including my mom — wants to get a Sleep Number bed.

Sleep Number makes 11 versions of its 360 Smart Bed in five series: classic, performance, innovation, memory foam and Climate360 — the fanciest and most expensive. They’re all composed of air chambers topped by layers of foam and, the icing on the cake, a pillowtop layer. The air chambers adjust automatically as you sleep to make you more comfortable, but you can also adjust them manually. The beds give you real-time feedback (your SleepIQ score) via the company’s app and suggest adjustments you can make to improve your score. The level of firmness or softness where you sleep best is called, you guessed it, your sleep number.

Your sleep number might surprise you. For example, my colleague thought she loved a soft mattress and her husband thought he loved firm. After they got a Sleep Number bed, the data told them that they each actually sleep better on the exact opposite setting.

As you go up in cost, you get more features that work with your smartphone (not just a physical remote), and the foams and pillowtop get thicker and more luxurious. Some of these mattresses even have integrated foot warmers.

Add a customizable organic wool topper to make this all-natural mattress, which is ideal for the side sleeping you need during pregnancy, supremely cozy.
$3,919 at Healthy Choice
  • Materials: Natural Talalay latex, organic cotton, eco wool; three of eight mattresses have an innerspring base layer; optional organic cotton and eco wool pillowtops

  • Cost: $999 to $3,919

  • Returns and Warranty Policies: 30-day return policy; limited 15-year warranty

If you’re looking for an organic, toxin-free, made-in-the-USA adjustable mattress, you won’t find anything more fitting than Healthy Choice. I visited a showroom and saw photos of the actual sheep whose wool stuffs the company’s handmade pillowtops and adjustable pillows.

The New England company makes eight different mattresses, all named after flowers (Rose, Orchid, Iris, Marigold, etc.), that have one to three layers of natural latex; three of the eight models also have an innerspring base layer. As you go up in price, you get more, thicker latex layers, for a total thickness that varies from eight to 12 inches. Healthy Choice’s most luxurious mattresses are all latex with no springs.

The handmade eco wool and organic cotton pillowtops feel extraordinary. When I rolled myself onto a pillowtop Orchid, my favorite of these beds, to test it, I felt like I was on vacation at the most comfortable farmhouse bed-and-breakfast in the world. I know organic and eco are buzzwords, but it radiated calm and snuggliness into my tired brain. My husband was surprised by how much he liked the soft, enveloping feeling too. This one was a close runner-up for us. We liked that it was a relatively small business going head to head against the Saatvas, Avocados and Caspers of the world.

What is pregnancy insomnia?

Pregnancy insomnia is a sleep-deprived state that affects most moms-to-be: 80%, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Back pain is one of the major causes. Not only does a growing baby throw off your center of balance and posture, but hormones can loosen the joints and ligaments in your pelvis, leaving your back in the lurch. No surprises there.

What I was surprised to learn is that pregnancy insomnia isn’t just an inconvenience. It can have consequences on your health and your baby’s. According to a 2004 University of California, San Francisco study, pregnant women who slept fewer than six hours a night had longer labors and were 4.5 times more likely to need a cesarean delivery.

More recently, a 2017 UCSF study found that 14.6% of women diagnosed with a sleep disorder during pregnancy had preterm births (delivery before 37 weeks) compared with 10.9% for women who weren’t. Odds of an even earlier birth, before 34 weeks, more than doubled for women with sleep apnea and nearly doubled for women with insomnia. Such early births are linked with a higher likelihood of severe complications.

When does pregnancy insomnia start?

"Pregnancy insomnia may start at any point in a woman’s pregnancy," says Paula Wadewitz, a certified nurse midwife with UTHealth Houston. "It may accompany the different discomforts each trimester may bring but tends to peak in the later half of the pregnancy." Early on, nausea, vomiting and the frequent urge to pee can keep you from staying asleep. Later along, it's falling asleep that's more typically the problem, she adds.

What helps pregnancy insomnia?

The right support can help relieve pregnancy insomnia. Most maternity pillows — you know, the kind that are shaped like a tooth and cost way more than you want to spend on a stupid pillow — don’t actually provide that support. The right mattress lifts your pelvis and belly, taking the pressure off your lower back.

The best sleeping position for pregnancy insomnia is your left side with some support for the belly, says Po-Chang Hsu, MD, MS, medical content expert at SleepingOcean. "This position can help reduce heartburn, improve blood flow, boost digestion and alleviate pressure from the lower back. This leads to increased comfort, which can also induce healthier sleep."

A new mattress might sound like an OTT solution to pregnancy insomnia, but I know I'm not the only one who went through a few big life transitions — like moving! — at the same time. If you’re in the market for a mattress, you might as well buy a great one for the long haul.

How to buy the best mattress to avoid pregnancy insomnia

Pregnancy is one of those times when your mattress really matters. A good mattress also can help any time you experience an injury or a flare-up of chronic pain or even a change in your weight, says Mike Magnuson, founder of, a website for mattress shopping guides and reviews. He recommends following these steps to choose a keeper.

1. Read up on features.

Know what options matter to you and ensure you don’t miss out on something you might love. For instance, Do you want to track your sleep in an app? Also look out for true conveniences that might be worth a few extra bucks. If you’re shopping for an adjustable base, for example, Magnuson recommends looking for one with a “wall hugging” feature so your nightstand won’t be out of reach when you raise the top end to watch TV.

Other key features to watch for: materials, heating/cooling elements, remote control (is there a wireless remote you need to keep track of, or can you use your smart phone?) and quietness. Smart beds even offer anti-snore technology. When the bed detects snoring, it’ll make adjustments that can help you (or your partner) stop.

If you want to set up your mattress so that it automatically wakes you up with a gentle massage or slowly raises your head until you’re sitting up, you can do that with some beds today, adds Magnuson. In the future, they’ll likely be able to automatically warm or cool to help you sleep better, too.

2. Do a test drive.

It’s fine to research online, but if you can visit a store or showroom in person to actually stretch out on your final contenders. You won’t know how a mattress really feels until you’ve slept on it for at least a few weeks, but an in-person test can help rule out products you absolutely don’t like. You’ll also get a sense of the company’s customer service, which might come in handy should you need to make a return.

3. Check the fine print.

The return policy is crucial, especially if you’re buying online without a test drive. Be sure to confirm the details. Are true returns allowed or only exchanges? Phrases like “comfort guarantee” can be vague, notes Magnuson. Take note of the trial period, too. It could be 100 days, a year, or longer — or there might not be one at all. Investigate whether there are any return, restocking or disposal fees. And if you’re shopping for a mattress and base, confirm whether both components — not just the mattress — can be returned. Bases are a lot trickier to ship; sometimes they can’t be returned.

You’ll also want to check the warranty. If your new mattress sags or stops working, will the company replace it? If so, for how long? Keep in mind that a brand-new company offering a “lifetime warranty” might not be around for long enough to honor it.

4. Mark your calendar.

When I bought my original mattress, I set an alert for two weeks before the trial ended, so I'd know in advance exactly when we needed to make a final call. I was so glad that I did. It saved me a ton of money and hassle.

Other pregnancy insomnia remedies I tried

The internet is awash with potential solutions for pregnancy insomnia. To save you the 2 a.m. scrolling, I've compiled them all here. Here is everything I tried, with varying degrees of success:

  • Limiting my coffee consumption to a single, very milky cup first thing in the morning

  • Walking at least two laps around the park in our neighborhood daily, even though I was really tired.

  • Sipping pregnancy-friendly herbal tea at night: I used Oat Mama Second Trimester Calm Tea. It has soothing lavender and camomile. Maybe it's the ritual, but this actually does help; I still drink it.

  • Taking an over-the-counter magnesium supplement at night. Later on, naturopath Leah Gordon, N.D., a cofounder of the prenatal vitamin company Needed, tweaked this for me. Magnesium can help you relax; it just needs to be the correct form. Avoid magnesium oxide and look for magnesium citrate or glycinate. She recommended Natural Vitality Calm Sleep Drink Mix. I found that it helped a ton with going to sleep (if not staying asleep) and, incidentally, constipation. I still drink it.

  • Taking a warm bath before bed in Herbivore Coconut Milk Bath Soak, my go-to for relaxing and hydrating. It’s lovely, but it didn’t help.

  • Taking a warm bath before bed in BetterYou Mineral Bath Flakes, which are like supercharged Epsom salts. They made me feel totally relaxed and helped with my restless legs, but I still couldn’t sleep.

  • Darkening our bedroom with blackout shades.

  • Making our bedroom really cold.

  • Covering the bed with an electric blanket, in case it was too cold.

  • Spritzing my side of the bed with Les Fleurs de Bach Sleep Room Treatment Spray, which my friend Dara Kennedy, the founder of the clean beauty company Ayla Beauty, swears by. It's wonderful and calming, but I needed something more powerful.

  • Quietly folding laundry in dim light.

  • Downing a glass of cold milk (and, let's be honest, cookies) when I woke up in the night.

  • Listening to bedtime stories on the Calm app. (So many people recommended this to me. It started to make me angry. Yes, I tried Calm.)

  • Listening to NPR on really low volume.

  • Binging old episodes of Outlander.

  • Applying magnesium lotions and sprays to my legs. The best one was recommended by two friends: 8Sheep Organics Sleepy Body Lotion, with lavender. It did really help my legs relax, but I still couldn’t sleep.

  • Having my partner run a Therabody massage gun over baby-safe areas like my shoulders and back and legs to try to loosen them and me up; our doula told us that this was fine to do.

  • Talking to a therapist.

  • Talking to a nutritionist (Dr. Gordon, above).

  • Sleeping on different maternity pillows and with my regular pillows arranged in different positions. In a prenatal yoga class, I found a pose that helped: You lie on the ground on your side with bolsters under your head and ribcage, with your bottom arm stretched out between the bolsters, then you stretch your top arm and leg out as long as you can. This felt especially good. I tried sleeping with pillows placed where the bolsters were for support. It wasn’t quite right, but it did give me some relief.