It’s not uncommon to struggle to get to sleep when you’re on your period (or on the lead up to your period). Fluctuating hormonal levels can be the cause of the problem!
According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 30% of women reported disturbed sleep during menstruation. This could be caused by mood imbalance or feelings of anxiety, painful cramps or nausea – to name a few reasons!
Lack of sleep is not good for your body – especially on your period!
If there’s ever a time you NEED quality sleep and rest it’s when you’re on your period. Your body goes through a change during menstruation – emotionally and physically. It’s important to listen to your body and get ample amount of rest. But your menstrual cycle could be affecting the quality of your sleep!
As sleep expert, Dr Neil Stanley explains, “The hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which play a role in regulating the menstrual cycle, can also influence sleep. Many women report 2–3 days of disrupted sleep during each cycle. Some women experience more awakenings and other sleep disturbances during their premenstrual period, while other women report excessive sleepiness, fatigue and longer sleeping hours”.
How does PMS effect sleep?
Pre-menstrual symptoms such as food cravings and emotional changes can also directly affect your sleep. For some people, sleep problems are a by-product of other menstrual symptoms (e.g. abdominal cramping, bloating, headaches and breast tenderness) or dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation). Menstruation can also affect body temperature regulation, and this can also affect sleep.
On average, you lose 1mg of iron every day of your period due to bleeding. Lack of iron can cause tiredness, and combine that with your already busy life and you can see why it’s easy to feel rundown post-period!
Here are 5 quick tips to aid a better night’s sleep on your period:
Deal with cramps
This is definitely a case of ‘easier said than done’ but if PMS symptoms such as cramps are keeping you awake then focus on soothing the discomfort. As soon as you feel the cramps start, grab some pain relief whether this is a hot water bottle or a herbal peppermint tea. If your cramps don’t make an appearance before you climb into bed, take a hot water bottle to bed with you anyway. This will relax your muscles to lessen the pain. For natural cramps remedies, read these useful tips.
Opt for soft, breathable period care
Did you know it’s recommended to switch to pads at night time? Even if you’re a tampon user. Opt for 100% certified organic cotton pads (like these TOTM night pads). Synthetic, non-organic and perfumed pads can irritate the delicate vaginal area which can lead to itching and discomfort which can keep you up at night. Organic cotton is soft, breathable and many people who switch report to experiencing increased comfort. Which is just what you need when you’re settling down for a restful night’s sleep. To see our full range of organic cotton period care, visit our shop.
Get into a ‘bedtime routine’
Getting into a ‘routine’ an hour or so before bed can tell your body, “it’s time to relax”. Put on some cosy sleepwear and get comfortable. Keep your energy levels low, and try reading a light-hearted book or magazine. A ‘bedtime’ ritual can become a comforting, familiar process which can help you unwind after a busy day. If you feel relaxed and calm, you could find yourself naturally drifting off to a blissful sleep.
Give mobile devices an early night
We’re all guilty of spending too much time on our mobile phones or tablets. Make it a habit to retire your mobile an hour before you go to bed. Fight those online shopping demons, and tell them you’ll see them in the morning. Social notifications, emails – It can all wait. Getting good quality sleep is more important. This is an important tip because electrical devices emit blue wavelength light. Numerous studies show that blue light can disrupt sleep cycles. Dr Neil Stanley also warns to be aware of ‘paperwhite devices’ which “have also been shown to affect sleep.”
Calm your breathing
This is another tip to help you naturally overcome anxious feelings or thoughts that are keeping you awake. It’s also an excellent way to slow down a quickened heart rate. Sometimes, breathing patterns can change without you even realising. By taking deep, full breathes you can slow your heart rate, and restore a level of calmness that can help you fall asleep. For some relaxing breathing techniques, give these a try.
Thank you to Dr Neil Stanley for providing expert comment throughout this article. If you’re struggling to sleep on your period, try these tips and see if it helps you get some much-needed rest! Looking to update your period care and discover organic cotton night pads? Find out more here.