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How to get a good night's sleep on your period

Periods 101
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How to get a good night's sleep on your period

Getting a good night’s sleep during your period can be hard. It can be both physically and emotionally draining; we are battling against fluctuating hormone levels, menstrual cramps, mood imbalance, worries about leaking. Many women also experience disrupted sleep during the premenstrual phase. According to one survey, 67 percent of women experience disturbed slumber during their period. Despite the barriers, sleep is especially important whilst menstruating. On average, women lose 1mg of iron each day of their period. Falling oestrogen and progesterone levels are also linked to a drop in energy levels. We have compiled our top tips for how to get your mood, cravings and cramps under control during your time of the month.

  1. Pain relief: If painful menstrual cramps keep you awake at night, be sure to take targeted pain relief such as Ibuprofen before bed. Keep some beside your bed incase the pain wakes you up during the night (but be sure to follow the manufacturer guidelines and don’t exceed the daily dosage). Make sure that they don’t contain caffeine, which will stimulate the body instead! If you are plagued by cramps and bloating, taking a hot water bottle to bed can ease discomfort. Lying in a warm bath can also be effective at easing pain.
  2. Exercise: Working up a sweat is proven to promote deep sleep and is also beneficial in tackling PMS symptoms. If an intense gym session doesn’t feel possible, why not try going on a brisk walk or a relaxing swim.
  3. Temperature regulation: Your body temperature can rise during your period, causing night sweats and discomfort. Keep your bedroom at an ambient temperature by opening a window or wearing cooling cotton fabrics, as being either too hot or too cold will inhibit sleep.
  4. Avoid heavy evening meals: Resist the urge to overindulge on junk food during your period, especially in the evenings. The last thing you need is indigestion, nausea or diarrhoea on top of bloating and cramps.
  5. Protect yourself against leaking: Anxiety can spike during your time of the month, so avoid unnecessary worrying by preparing properly for bedtime. If using tampons, change to a higher absorbency just before bed and use a winged pad for additional protection. For those with heavy periods, why not try a Mooncup. Offering up to 12 hours of leak-free protection, period cups are an excellent nighttime option.
  6. Get into a bedtime routine: A consistent bedtime routine is key to promote restful sleep. Get to grips with the foundations of sleep hygiene: put your electronic devices away, turn off bright lights and create a calming atmosphere to promote relaxation in the hours before sleep. Why not practice 10 minutes of mindfulness or deep breathing to clear the mind and let go of the day’s stresses.

Most importantly, listen to your body. It is working on overdrive and needs more rest than usual. Visit the National Sleep Foundation’s website for more information on sleep hygiene.

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