Why do you have poor sleep during periods?

Periods and Sleep Problems

Did you know your menstrual cycle can cause you to lose sleep?

A lot of women struggle to sleep before and during their period. In fact, it’s the most common symptom of PMS.

The reproductive hormones progesterone and estrogen not only regulate reproductive function during the menstrual cycle, but also have an impact on sleep.

During your period, your body temperature rises between a half and a whole degree. This can cause a problem when it comes to bedtime as your body temperature won’t drop naturally as intended by nature to make you feel tired.

Tiredness before your period can be linked to low levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that can affect your mood and energy levels.

Up to 7 in 10 women say that their sleep changes just before their period. The Sleep Health Foundation report that the most common time for this to occur is 3 to 6 days before the period starts.

Research carried out in 2004 showed that women with PMS/PMDD often comment that they experience the following at night…

  • Insomnia
  • Waking up frequently
  • Waking up feeling restless
  • Disturbed dreams or nightmares

During the day, women were reporting to feel…

  • Sleepy
  • Fatigued
  • Struggling to pay attention

 

During day 1 of your cycle, levels of the hormone progesterone drop, which can leave you feeling tired and withdrawn.

The Sleep Foundation found 30% of women reported disturbed sleep during their period week. This was broken down into the reasons why they were struggling to sleep and included period-related symptoms such as…

  • Headaches
  • Depression/anxiety
  • Tender or painful breasts
  • Nausea or diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Cramps/pain
  • Constipation  

Treating Sleep Problems  

At WUKA, we say that taking care of yourself is so important, and self-care comes into play here too.

Here are some things you can do to help you to fall asleep…

  • Exercise during the day
  • Try yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques
  • Stay hydrated
  • Have a warm bath
  • Keep the temperature of your bedroom low. This tricks the body into thinking that your temperature has dropped and you are therefore more likely to sleep
  • Comfortable bedding
  • Block out light from outside and turn off any lamps
  • Use a ‘white noise’ app
  • Switch off your mobile, laptop, and iPad in the early evening
  • Read before bedtime
  • Eat a light meal at dinner time
  • Avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol (sorry!)
  • Natural remedies
  • Head to bed at the same time each night
  • Take pain-relief for period cramps
  • Keep a sleep diary for 3 months - track the nights you struggle to sleep and changes to your mood. Look to see if there are patterns between sleep problems and your cycle

If you are finding that the above isn’t working, then visit your doctor. They may suggest that you start birth control, sedatives, antidepressants, talking therapies, or supplements.

At the end of the day

Your menstrual cycle may be affecting your sleep, energy levels, and mood. Keep a diary over a 3-month period to see if you can connect your sleep patterns to your menstrual cycle.

If you struggle to get a good night's rest try some of the above techniques, such as eating lighter meals, exercising, taking a warm bath, and sleeping in a cool room.

If you’re still struggling to sleep, then period-related or not, you should visit your doctor for advice and support.

If period pain, cramps, and heavy bleeding are a root cause of struggling to sleep at night, then take a look at our hot water bottle that we have designed to fit around your waist to soothe period pain. Take a look at our period pants too. Our heavy flow can last you all night, giving you reassurance against any leaks whilst you sleep.


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