How does Periods affect your Sleep Cycle

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Studies show that in general women are more prone to suffer from insomnia as compared to men. The common culprit for insomnia among both genders is usually stress, depression, obesity, and irregular sleeping patterns. However, nature has given women one more reason for restless nights and that is the monthly periods. Studies in this area reveal that women suffer from disturbed sleep during all phases of the menstrual cycle such as premenstrual, during menses, pre-menopause, and menopause. Statistical data confirms that more than 50% of women worldwide have trouble sleeping either before or during their periods, so now you know that you aren’t the only one who feels different during menses.

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The connection between PMS and Sleep

The phrase "Looks like the hormones are acting up" is always used for women when they show signs of temper, anxiety, or depression. Though hormones are not the cause of "all" women related problems, but in the case of PMS and Sleep the two hormones "Estrogen" and “Progesterone” have been proven guilty beyond doubt. During the menstrual cycle, there is a sudden rise and fall in these hormones that cause a severe hormonal imbalance. This imbalance;

  • Hinders the production of other hormones that help induce sleep hence, falling asleep becomes a challenge.
  • Causes the body temperature to rise which is why during periods women tend to wake-up midnight all sweaty and alert.

Though imbalance of these two hormones is the main cause of sleep disturbance there are some other factors related to PMS that also affect sleep quality. Many women have a queasy uneasy feeling just before periods such as feeling depressed, agitated, intolerant, and tired. Some experience physical discomfort like backaches, headaches, stomach cramps, bloating, indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea.

Thus, the hormones, the physical, and the mental discomfort together affect a woman during the day as well as at night. The good news is that there are many ways to ensure that Periods don’t affect your daily routines and sleep cycle i.e. tip on how to make your periods feel like BAU (Business as Usual).

Dos and Don’ts during periods

1. Eating Habits:

Don'ts: Avoid food that is spicy, sugary and high on fats. Avoid caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol during periods as these cause inflammations and may intensify period pains.

Dos: To tackle problems like nausea, indigestion, diarrhea and stomach cramps include anti-inflammatory and calcium-rich food like tomatoes, Coldwater fish, bell peppers, Chamomile tea, fennel, cinnamon, ginger, dill, and turmeric. Have an early and light dinner to ensure better digestion. If you are having coffee, then ensure its several hours (5-6hrs) before bedtime.

2. Bedroom must’s:

Don’ts: Never hit the bed immediately as you may spend your night tossing around just waiting to fall asleep.

Do’s: Create a sleep-friendly environment by dimming the lights, closing the blinds, and adjusting the AC to cool the room. Take time to unwind before hitting the bed. You could meditate or take a warm shower before lying down. Unwinding helps relax mind and body which is necessary for the production of hormones that help fall asleep. If you suffer from backaches or cramps using an additional pillow or heat pad also helps.

3. Lifestyle:

Don’ts: Don’t miss your workout regime on account of periods. Sweating it out will help your body manage the hormonal imbalance and help you sleep better.

Do’s: If you are unable to undertake the daily high-intensity workout such as weight training or running ensure you do mild cardio for 30-45 mins. It could be walking, swimming, Zumba, or just playing with your dog in the park. Plan your daily schedule such that you are able to manage it, for instance, if you know that waking up early during periods is a problem then don’t schedule any important appointments or meetings early morning.




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