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Can you sleep with a tampon in?

Periods 101
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Can you sleep with a tampon in?

Ever find yourself wondering whether you can sleep with a tampon in? (Spoiler alert: the answer is yes!) Here's everything you need to know about overnight menstrual protection. 

Sleeping with a tampon in is totally fine, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you'll want to use the right absorbency tampon for your flow. Second, you'll want to insert the tampon just before you go to bed. And finally, you'll want to use a pad as a backup in case the tampon leaks.

The most important thing you need to ask yourself is if you’ll be sleeping for longer than 8 hours. Tampons are designed to be worn for up to 8 hours before they need replacing. So if you’re planning on having a lie-in, then it may be advisable to switch to reusable period pants for the night or menstrual cups

Here are some tips for wearing a tampon to bed safely

1. Choose the right absorbency

Many of us feel that we need to change our tampon every 4-6 hours, especially on those initial days when the flow is heavier. As we all should be sleeping between 7-9 hours per night, choosing a tampon with a light absorbency might not be enough. It may be worth considering a heavier flow tampon for nightwear to give you extra protection if you sleep over 6 hours without having to worry about leakage. 

2. Put the tampon in just before bed

It is very important that you put a tampon in right before you go to bed if you are going to use one at night. By placing your tampon in a few hours before you go to bed, you will be unintentionally adding an extra hour or so to your tampon wear time, which may set it over the 8-hour mark.

3. Set an alarm

Have trouble waking up after wearing tampons for eight hours? Make sure you set the alarm. This will help you to wake up in time to change your tampon so that you don't have any problems if your period leaks. In case you have a habit of sleeping through your alarm, you may want to consider switching over to a pad or period pants during the night.

4. Wear a panty liner for extra protection

For extra protection overnight, it may be a good idea to pair a tampon with a panty liner or even a pad if you experience an extra heavy flow. This will help to catch any leaks or overflow from your tampon. Ideally, it’s not recommended to sleep in your tampon for longer than 8 hours, but panty liners are a great backup if you are out and about. 

Why sleeping in period pants is better

The main reason period pants are a favourite for overnight protection is because - unlike a tampon that needs to be changed regularly - they don't dry you out, so you can get a good night's sleep.

While you're sleeping, your body is releasing natural lubricants that keep the skin around your vagina moisturised and healthy. The last thing you want is for dry tampons to rob you of this moisture, causing soreness and discomfort. As period pants are worn on the outside (like normal underwear), this problem is remedied. You'll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go about your day.

That said, if you want or need to change your period pants during the night, they're designed to be slipped in and out of easily.

Some of the perks of sleeping with period pants at night include

  • Absorbs the same amount as 4 tampons, making them ideal for night use
  • Comfortable and easy to wear
  • Less chance of leakages 
  • Has a longer wear time than tampons (up to 10 hours!)

The risk of sleeping with a tampon

One of the most common concerns associated with leaving a tampon in for a longer period of time is the possibility of developing toxic shock syndrome (TSS). As far as bacterial infections go, TSS is very rare, but it can cause very serious health problems.  

TSS is generally caused by staph bacteria or strep bacteria. This is why it is important to ensure you are using the correct tampon absorbency for your flow so that you are able to change the tampon at the right times. 

So would it be okay to sleep with a tampon in?

In short, you can use a tampon while sleeping, provided you have the right absorbency needed for your flow. Using a tampon overnight doesn't guarantee you'll get Toxic Shock Syndrome, but it increases your chances. 

So it’s best to avoid wearing tampons overnight, especially If you don’t feel comfortable wearing a tampon when sleeping and it causes leaks and irritation. It’s best to use a pad or reusable period pants for extra comfort. 

So there you have it! Everything you need to know about sleeping with a tampon in. Now go get some rest!

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