From finding it harder to fall asleep to tossing and turning all night, sleep deprivation is a common period-related problem.
The hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle – namely oestrogen and progesterone – are to blame as they have a knock-on effect on your sleep cycle. And, of course, sleeping is trickier when you’re also dealing with cramps, bloating, back ache, headaches and heavy bleeding, not to mention the fear of leaks.
Here, we reveal the problems your cycle can cause, plus the solutions that will help you go from counting sheep to a good night’s sleep.
The problem: you’re hot and bothered
The reason: your body temperature can go haywire after ovulation, which is why your bedroom can suddenly feel like a furnace. In fact, some experts say your temperature can rise by almost half a degree after ovulation. The problem is, we actually sleep best when our body temperature drops slightly.
The solution: keep your bedroom cool and your bedding light. You can also ‘trick’ your body into feeling sleepy by taking a warm bath or shower before bed. It may sound counterintuitive, but the contrast between the warm bath and your cooler bedroom environment will make your body temperature drop and help you reach a sleepy bliss.
The problem: worrying is keeping your eyes wide open
The reason:PMS can play havoc with our hormones, leaving us feeling more emotional and stressed than usual, making it harder to switch off for a good night’s sleep.
The solution: gentle yoga moves or breathing techniques before bed can help, because relaxing your body will lull your brain into following suit. Also try writing down on paper what’s bothering you, as that can help to literally get it out of your head.
The problem: you’re uncomfortable
The reason: whether you’re nursing cramps or you’re wearing the wrong kind of sanitary towel, your period can be an uncomfortable time, which does not bode well for relaxing when it’s time for bed.
The solution: Apply a gentle heat to you belly or back and take some ibuprofen if the pain doesn’t ease. For protection, Always Infinity Overnight Pads are made with SmartFoam, so they mould to fit your body, meaning not only will you be protected against leaks, but you’ll barely notice you’re wearing a pad.
The problem: you’re too stuffed to sleep
The reason: your period can make you ravenous, which means late-night pizza and ice cream can seem tempting. The problem is, midnight munchies can leave you wide awake with an overly full belly.
The solution:if you want a snack before bedtime, ditch the fat and sugar-laden treats in favour of something small and easy to digest, such as a banana or a bowl of natural Greek yogurt.
The problem: you simply can’t sleep
The reason: during your period, your body's levels of the hormone progesterone drop dramatically. This can make it hard to sleep because progesterone is a soporific hormone, meaning it has a mild sedative effect.
The solution: in the days leading up to your period, do your best to stick to regular bedtime and wake-up times, as this increases your body’s ability to fall asleep, move through the cycles, and wake up refreshed.
What’s your top sleep tip? Share your experiences in the comments section below – and for more ideas on making your time-of-the-month a breeze, go to Always.