Women experience a number of symptoms before and during their periods. Cramps and headaches are fairly common symptoms, but so are odd sleeping patterns. It might surprise you at first, but your sleep is greatly affected by the current state of your body. So when you reach certain phases of your menstrual cycle, it can have a huge role to play in how well-rested you feel.
Why Get More Sleep During Your Period?
The link between disturbed sleep or some mild to severe fatigue and menstruation has long been established. Medical experts have studied how progesterone and estrogen, two hormones involved in the menstrual cycle, influence the amount of fatigue the body feels as hormonal levels rise and fall throughout those 28 to 35 days.
These symptoms of tiredness and sleep disturbances are most prevalent during the premenstrual phase, along with other ailments that are collectively referred to as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Because other maladies like bloating and increased body temperature occur at the same time, they can contribute to and exacerbate the experience of fatigue.
So, how do you get some proper shut-eye amid your PMS? With this information in mind, here are a few tips to avoid falling out of step with your sleep during this period:
On a normal day, you’d want to be as comfortable as possible so that you can enjoy a good night’s rest. When you have your PMS, comfort is even more important for sleep. Since you’ll likely experience several symptoms of PMS at once, you’ll want to curl up in bed to lessen the impact and let your body rest.
Make yourself more comfortable by getting into your favorite sleepwear. Choose breathable fabric over restrictive clothing so it’s easy to move into a comfortable position. Wearing women’s pajama tops every night also helps to regulate the heat around your body, especially during the colder months of the year.
Engage in Physical Activities
It might sound counterintuitive, but getting some exercise or any form of physical activity will help you sleep. Although it gives us energy, exercise also releases the hormones needed for deep sleep, which allows the body to experience full relaxation.
Some particular forms of exercise, like yoga, are especially helpful when it comes to inducing sleep. The stretches help to relax any tense muscles before you get into bed and the meditation clears your mind of any worries. This might not fully alleviate the other physical symptoms of PMS, but it will help in terms of calming your senses.
As a continuation of the previous point, just as you need to relax your body, you also need to relax your mind. Stress worsens the effects of PMS and also disrupts sleep in general. It doesn’t help if you’re bombarded with negative thoughts as you struggle through cramps and headaches, as well as insomnia.
Clearing your mind of any worries that might be bothering you at the moment will help you focus on getting rest. To do this, try some meditation or deep breathing exercises. You can do it on your own, or use a guided meditation you can find online or on an app. Even doing this for a few minutes can give you positive results.
Apart from making some changes to your bedtime routine, it’s time to look at the lifestyle changes you need to make to minimize the effects of PMS on you as much as possible. The first of these is avoiding sweets. Foods and beverages with processed sugar, such as candies, sodas, and energy drinks, can give you an energy buzz and the consequent energy crash that follows after. This won’t reflect well on your moods, and won’t do your sleeping patterns any good, either.
Minimize your sugar intake and curb your cravings by having several frequent meals instead of just the usual breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating in small portions throughout the day, especially before and during your period, will prevent you from binge-eating everything you crave.
Improve Your Diet
Generally, you can improve your sleep by improving your diet. A well-balanced diet consisting of greens, meat, and yes, carbohydrates, will actually help ease you out of your PMS, and ultimately get better sleep. Consumption of foods rich in omega 3 will also stabilize blood sugar and prevent any unwanted energy buzz and crash. Most omega 3-rich foods are seafood, but seeds and nuts like flax and chia seeds are also rich in these fatty acids.
Doing these lifestyle changes will definitely benefit you in the long run. Coupling your exercise and meditation with a healthy diet will not just improve your sleep every time you get PMS, but also strengthen your body and mind, and ensure that your PMS symptoms lessen over time.
Don’t Drink Alcoholic Beverages
Another lifestyle change you need to do is to avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol before and during your period can exacerbate already existing PMS symptoms and derail any progress you’ve made in the other aspects of your road to sleep wellness.
This is because alcohol triggers certain hormones in your body, such as estrogen and testosterone, and causes mood and energy changes. This also increases the frequency of menstrual cramps. Having pain in your abdomen can keep you from falling asleep or getting comfortable in bed.
Keep Your Space Clean
If you’re having a hard time sleeping as it is, it’s best to avoid leaving clutter around your bed or in your room. A messy room can make for uncomfortable sleep, likely because it distracts us from our main goal of getting a good night’s rest. This doesn’t just apply to throwing away your trash or organizing a messy desk. You may want to avoid working in your bedroom and doing other stressful activities while you’re in there.
Good sleep hygiene promotes the idea that your brain identifies your bedroom as simply that: a place where you sleep and rest. Using it for anything other than that can confuse your body and keep you awake. To better manage your PMS symptoms and improve your overall sleep quality, consider working in a different area of your home.
Track Your Sleep Patterns
One way you can observe how your sleep is affected by PMS is by keeping a sleep diary that tracks your sleep patterns. You can jot down how many hours you’ve slept, as well as any possible interruptions during that period, in your sleep diary. You can even include other PMS symptoms you had during this time.
This is an important part of keeping your sleep at a healthy amount before and during your period, and it can serve as a document for your doctor if you have any particular concerns. A sleep diary is one concrete way you can point out any disturbing disruptions in your rest that you may want to discuss with a professional.
The state of our bodies can affect the way we think, feel, and yes, sleep. For women, PMS can upset that balance, and cause problems in your day-to-day activities. When it comes to sleep, for instance, PMS can cause either an increase or a decrease in deep sleep and relaxation, making for an uncomfortable evening.
Get the most out of your sleep and avoid PMS trouble by keeping your space clean, making necessary lifestyle changes, and minding your comfort as you go to bed. These simple things can change your sleep experience and minimize PMS symptoms.