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How your period affects your sleep

Posted by CarePoint Health on Nov 11, 2015 1:00:00 PM

learn about your period and sleepYou know that the fluctuation of hormones every month can cause some unavoidable, and sometimes bothersome, symptoms. Mood changes, cramps and pain, headaches, and bloating are common in the premenstrual phase several days before your period.

But many women don’t realize that sleep changes, such as insomnia or lack of quality sleep, can actually be caused by these hormonal shifts as well. Sometimes we think it’s just attributed to stress, a busy day, or simply a restless night. But if you keep a sleep diary each month, you may see very clearly that the regular nights of poor sleep all coincide with your period. Here are the reasons why this happens, and what you can do to address it:

  • Progesterone makes your body temperature rise. The hormone progesterone, which skyrockets about mid-cycle after you ovulate, can raise your core body temperature slightly — just enough to make it more difficult to sleep. To combat this, dress in cooler pajamas, keep your room cooler or run a fan, and consider taking a warm (not hot) bath before bed. The bath will make your room feel cooler in comparison, which can help relax you and get your body ready for rest.
  • A sharp drop in progesterone before your period may disrupt sleep.  Progesterone can make you feel more tired in general, and when it drops in preparation for your period, this hormonal shift can disrupt sleep quality. Experts recommend you avoid alcohol and get regular exercise to help your body get more quality sleep.
  • Premenstrual shifts can cause feelings of anxiety and depression, which can make it difficult to relax and go to sleep. If your premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is severe enough to interfere with your life, talk with your gynecologist about treatment options. But if it’s more bothersome and not severe, try stress reduction techniques like listening to relaxing music, writing worries and concerns down in a journal or notebook, and deep breathing. Some women find that a regular yoga class or using a yoga video can help too.
  • PMS can cause digestive issues like nausea or diarrhea, which can make sleep difficult. Try eating a light snack an hour or so before bed with some healthy carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. Think cheese and whole grain crackers, fruit and Greek yogurt, or nuts with some vegetables. If you don’t have a completely empty stomach, it may feel more settled when it’s time for rest. And if you’re taking ibuprofen for cramps, always take it with food to avoid nausea.
  • Look for hidden caffeine. Some pain relievers and even some medications designed to help relieve PMS have caffeine added because it can enhance their effects. Read the “drug facts” labels of the medications you’re taking at that time of the month. Make sure you don’t consume any caffeine at least six hours before bed — and maybe more. Some people need up to 12 hours for caffeine to leave their system.

Being tired and sleep-deprived can be detrimental to your health — so talk with your gynecologist about your symptoms and how you can achieve better sleep.

CarePoint Health Gynecology

With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can make educated decisions about your health to be at your best at any stage of life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.

Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.

Topics: OBGYN, Women's health, Health, Sleep

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