Sleeping on Your Period: Everything You Need to Know

Is your menstrual cycle keeping you from clocking those precious hours of sleep? Here’s how to fix that.

By Loren Bullock

Just about every woman knows that your time of the month can bring chaos into your routine. Anything from mood swings, to breakouts, to bloating are on the table. But your menstrual cycle can also wreak havoc on your sleep.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, many women report worse sleep right before their period as well as the first few days of it.

Period Issues That Disrupt Sleep

There are many factors that can keep you up at night while on your period, but the major three are cramps, fear of leaks, and temperature issues.

Cramping

Cramps can be the biggest hurdle when it comes to sleeping with your cycle. During menstruation, the muscles around your abdomen (in the uterine walls) contract, sometimes painfully. This pain can be a mild annoyance or it can be so extreme that it causes nausea and vomiting.

Leaking

It’s hard to get a solid 8 hours of sleep when you’re worried about bleeding all over your nice sheets, or having to get up in the middle of the night to change your hygiene products. It can be hard to fall asleep again once you get up—it’s even harder to get blood stains out in the wash.

Sleeping Hot

Due to fluctuating hormone levels, your body temperature is usually a tad higher when you’re on your period. The issue with this is that our body temperature needs to lower in order to feel sleepy.

Solutions

Ways to Curb the Cramps

Good news! There are several ways to ease cramps or get rid of them completely. First off there are several sleeping positions that relieve cramps:

  • Fetal Position: When you first get cramps, your instinct is to curl up into a ball, and that is correct. Sleeping in the fetal position takes pressure off of those abdominal muscles that are causing you pain.
  • Straight on Your Side: If you don’t like the fetal position, sleep on your side stretched out. Sleeping on your left side is the best position for your organ placement.
  • On Your Back: As you may have guessed by now, sleeping on your back also takes the pressure off of your uterus and massages your abdomen.

Next, heat always works wonders. When experiencing cramps, apply a heating pad or hot water bottle to your lower abdomen. Heat increases blood flow to the area and relieves the pain.

Yoga or exercise is also an option of you suffer from painful cramps. Yoga especially stretches out your body and releases endorphins.

If none of these options work, you can always just take some mild pain medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin. Talk to your doctor if you are on any other medication to make sure this is okay.

Use Extra Nighttime Protection

There are two issues that come with using a tampon at night. One: it only lasts up to 8 hours. Two: if your flow is heavy, it may not last that long. Having to get up in the middle of the night to change is both aggravating and disrupts your sleep. You may want to consider using a menstrual cup with a backup pad.

Menstrual cups not only catch more flow, but they don’t have to be changed for at least 12 hours. This gives you plenty of time to rest, and plenty of security not to worry.

Also, if you are still worried about leaking, avoid sleeping on your stomach. When you sleep on your front, your body pushes pressure on your uterus and causes more blood to come out as you rest.

Keep Your Bedroom Cool

The best way to combat sleeping hot is to keep your bedroom anywhere between 60-67 degrees fahrenheit. To keep your body cool, consider a warm bath before bed. This will, ironically, bring your temperature down and help you wind down to sleep.


Summary

Sleeping on your period can pose many obstacles to that restful 8 hours. If you are experiencing sleep problems, there are many ways to solve them: from the fetal position, to menstrual cups, to warm baths. Try one of these solutions and keep your sleep in check.


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