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How to sleep better when on your period

Periods 101
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How to sleep better when on your period

Sleep – that fabulous restorative downtime we all strive for each night. But also the one thing that can be elusive to a lot of us, especially when we’re on our period!

Mooncup Advisor Cathy explains what happens to your body during menstruation, and some helpful tips that will hopefully get you sleeping like a baby again.

Let’s break this down so that we all understand what sleep is exactly, why we need it, and what changes happen during your period.

Why do we need sleep?

Sleep is must-have for all of us. We need it to feel well physically as well as emotionally. And we can all begin to feel it when we haven’t managed to get all those z’s in!

Did you know that most adults need between 6 and 9 hours sleep a night? Children and teenagers often require significantly more. The amount of sleep they need can range from 9 to a whopping 16 hours (I wish my mum had known this when she was unceremoniously ripping the duvet off me when I was a teenager)!

Most of us can get away with less sleep for a night or two. However, when your sleep is disrupted for longer, that’s when the effects can really show. It may get harder to cope with everyday tasks.

Some of you might find that you need much more sleep when on your period. Others find their sleep is very disrupted. So, let’s explore what’s going on and what we can do to promote more of those zzzz’s. Let’s get geeky and find out!

Many biological processes happen during sleep:

  • the brain stores new information learnt that day
  • nerve cells communicate and reorganise which supports healthy brain function
  • the body heals itself by repairing organs, cells and the immune system is restoring energy and releasing hormones and proteins.

Anyone ever told you they swore you’d grown overnight? It is in fact possible! In childhood the growth hormone is often released overnight. It’s also when your hair grows!

Now that we’ve all had our biology 101, let’s look at how being on your period can affect this.

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Can’t sleep on your period?

There are many changes that happen to your body during your period and in the days leading up to it. Your reproductive hormone levels change and you may have period pains. You might also have increased stress levels, which leads to a rise in cortisol (the stress hormone). This can, in turn, bring those cravings for fatty, sugary foods.

How do these changes affect your sleep? Well, they can have quite the impact! Here are just some of the ways your period may stop you from sleeping well:

  • A reduction of the hormone progesterone can cause your core body temperature to rise by as much as a whole degree. This may not sound like much but being too hot at night can really disrupt your sleep.
  • Pain, such as menstrual pain, can influence the position you sleep in, and sometimes prevent your mind from relaxing and shutting off.
  • Your stress hormones are naturally lower when you sleep. However, changes caused by menstruation can put stress on the body. This can in turn increase your cortisol levels overnight, which can affect your sleep by increasing your anxiety levels and your temperature!
  • Heavy menstrual flow can sometimes mean that you need to get up more often in the night.

So, yes, there’s a lot going on that can play havoc with your sleep when on your period. No wonder many of us struggle with foggy heads and premenstrual tension (PMT)! Let’s explore our top tips to help alleviate these things and promote better sleep.

How to sleep better when on your period – our 9 top tips

1. Settle into a rhythm

Try to create a sort of sleep routine, such as doing the same tasks before bed and going to bed at the same time. This can help your body and mind prepare for sleep.

2. Turn down the heat

Lower the temperature – Keep cooler at night by opening a window, or using a lighter duvet or sheet. Although try not to get too chilly!

3. Pain relief

Reducing pain before going to bed can help make you more comfortable and achieve better sleep. There are many methods to aid with this, ranging from a trusty hot water bottle to pain medication.

Quote from a real Mooncup user whose period pains have improved since making the switch

Many Mooncup users report that they have experienced a reduction in their period cramps since switching to the Mooncup.

4. Relax, take it easy and wind down

Relaxing before you go to bed can help to reduce stress levels. Meditation, reading a good book, or having a nice warm drink whilst listening to the dulcet tones of your favourite singer, are all good ways to help you to sleep better when on your period.

5. Lower the lighting

Try making your room as dark and quiet as possible, as this helps your body know that it’s time to sleep. Silence is golden!

6. Cut the caffeine

Reduce the amount of caffeine you have in a day and limit caffeinated drinks to the morning. This can help by giving your body time for the effects to wear off before sleep.

7. Switch off from screens

Reducing the amount of screen time before you go to bed may also help you to sleep better when on your period, and at any time of the month, to be honest! Phones emit mostly blue light, and this is designed to keep us focused. In the lead up to bedtime, our brains start to produce a hormone called melatonin which helps us unwind and prepare for sleep. Blue light can affect your melatonin production by tricking your brain into thinking its daylight. Without melatonin, your brain forgets to tell you that its sleepy, and you remain alert and awake. Cheeky!

Switch off from screens at night

8. Sleep is sweet

Some of us like to nestle on the sofa with a bar of chocolate or tub of ice cream and a G&T in easy reach (well, I know I do!). However, having lots of sugar and alcohol especially before bed can disrupt your sleep. So, whilst that naughty cortisol gremlin is saying “eat those tasty things”, reducing the amount of sugary treats can actually help you sleep better. I’m crying as I type this…

9. Reduce the stress of periods with the Mooncup

Does anyone else feel like life admin has a nasty habit of landing on your plate just when you’re feeling your lowest?

With the Mooncup, you can take a load off and tick period product shopping off your list. The Mooncup is reusable, and you only need one, for a light or heavy flow. No need for spares, no last-minute rush to the shops, and no monthly spend on period products!

You can wear the Mooncup® for up to 8 hours, emptying and rinsing it before going to bed and then again as soon as you wake up.

So, there we have it, nine relatively simple tips you can start weaving into your daily routine to help you sleep better when on your period. If you’re experiencing trouble sleeping and are concerned about it, we would always recommend chatting with your doctor or a healthcare professional to see what could help.

Find out more about the Mooncup and get yours here.


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