7 Helpful Ways to Sleep Better During Your Period
Do you have trouble sleeping during your period? Many women do.
According to a 2007 National Sleep Foundation poll, 33% of women say their sleep is disturbed during their menstrual cycles. Two common reasons include stomach cramps and fluctuating hormones. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop right before your period which can lead to a lack of shut-eye. Fortunately, there are ways to combat menstrual-related sleep problems. Here’s what you can do to minimize discomfort during ‘that time of the month’ to sleep more peacefully.
How to Combat Menstrual-Related Sleep Problems
Getting a good night’s sleep during your period isn’t always easy. But there are ways to help you slumber more comfortably.
1) Change Your Sleeping Position
Sleeping in certain positions can help reduce cramps and control the flow of blood to a degree. If period pains or the fear of leaking is keeping you awake, try these sleeping positions.
a) Fetal Position
The fetal position is where a person sleeps on their side with their legs curled beneath them. Sleeping in this position takes pressure off the abdominal muscles. Simply put, the less strain on your abdomen, the less pain and cramping you’ll experience. It also prevents leakage as your legs are squeezed together.
b) Child’s Pose
Child’s pose is similar to the fetal position, with a slight difference. In this position, you fold yourself forward and put your head on your mattress with your knees curled beneath you and your arms extended in front. This helps relieve cramps and relaxes your back muscles.
c) On Your Side
If you’re not comfortable in either the fetal position or child’s pose, straighten your body a little and sleep on your side. Keep your legs closed to avoid leakage. This will relax your stomach muscles and help relieve period pain. Use a body pillow for more comfort.
Note: Avoid sleeping on your stomach as this squeezes your uterus and increases the chance of leakage during the night.
2) Bring a Hot Water Bottle to Bed
Heat therapy is an effective way to reduce period cramps. If pain, cramps and bloating are disrupting your sleep, place a hot water bottle on your lower abdomen to ease discomfort. A warm bath before bed can offer additional relief.
3) Make Your Bed More Comfortable
When achy muscles are testing your patience, even a bed that’s comfortable on non-period days can make you feel restless. Organic bedding can help you deal with these problems and aid in sleep.
Try making your bed more comfortable by using an organic mattress and natural cotton duvets. An organic mattress provides firm back support and keeps your body in a comfortable position to reduce pain. That said, natural cotton duvets are breathable which can help maintain your body temperature as progesterone levels increase during your period, causing hot flashes.
4) Stay Away from Heavy Snacks
Food cravings and changes in appetite during your period can be caused by hormone swings. Many women feel hungrier or crave junk food to get them through their irritability, low mood and pain. But, it’s important to be kind to yourself at this time, especially before bedtime, as digestive issues, including constipation, during your period are common. Skip heavy snacks as digestive distresses like indigestion, bloating or diarrhea can keep you awake. Your best bet is to choose healthier options like fruits or Greek yogurt instead of doughnuts, salty chips, ice cream or greasy burgers.
5) Get Ample Physical Activity
Although you may feel like staying in bed during your period, working up a sweat can actually help. Light physical activities like brisk walking or jogging will increase your bodily temperature which will gradually dip and encourage you to fall asleep. In addition, your body releases endorphins when you exercise. These chemicals interact with the receptors in your brain to reduce your pain perception as well as trigger positive physical feelings. Simply put, working out can boost your mood, decrease feelings of anxiety and depression (common during PMS) and make you feel relaxed so you can sleep better.
6) Massage Your Abdomen
If menstrual cramps wake you up at night, massage your lower abdomen with essential oils like lavender and cinnamon oil to ease period pain. This aromatherapy for your stomach reduces discomfort associated with menstruation.
7) Try Herbal Remedies
Some herbal home remedies can help reduce period pain and make sleep less elusive.
Chamomile tea is full of anti-inflammatories that inhibit prostaglandins (a group of lipids made at sites of infection or tissue damage). These lipids are made by cells in the endometrium of the uterus. These cells release prostaglandins during menstruation that provoke uterine contractions, resulting in pain and cramps. Sipping chamomile tea helps reduce pain-causing prostaglandins, enhances menstrual flow to ease period symptoms and encourage a painless sleep.
Menstrual-related sleep issues are common but that doesn’t mean they have to haunt you. Thankfully, there are ways to stop period problems from interfering with the quantity and quality of your precious sleep. Apply these tips whenever your slumber is negatively affected by your menstrual cycle.