Your time of the month can cause you an extremely uncomfortable few days each month. It’s not uncommon for people to experience stomach cramps, mood swings and irritation, breast tenderness, backaches, and headaches during their menstrual cycle. But why do we feel all this discomfort and pain?
After we ovulate, our bodies start building up progesterone, which can make us feel drowsy. A couple of days before our period starts, our progesterone levels drop back down, leaving us struggling to sleep. Our bodies also tend to overheat during menstruation, increasing anywhere from one-half to a full degree higher than our normal temperature. The result is uncomfortable body heat, excessive sweating and, in some cases, insomnia.
Sleep is a vital element of good physical and mental health, and when we don’t sleep well, it can affect our moods, concentration and work. Here are 14 tips to get a night of better sleep during your period.
14 Ways To Sleep Better On Your Period
1. Establish a healthy sleep routine.
Give yourself an hour or so to wind down, relax and prepare for a good night’s rest. Sometimes, after a day of feeling achy and irritable, we need to tell our bodies that it’s time to relax. Everyone responds differently to various relaxation techniques, so choose your favorite. Run a bath, light a candle, brew some chamomile tea, read a book or spray some lavender essential oils around the room. Make this a nightly ritual, and the chances are you’ll be in such a good routine that you’ll be able to fall to sleep easily on your period, too.
2. Reduce screen time before bed.
We’re all guilty of spending too much time staring at our phones. If you’re able to set aside that hour to relax, make a pledge to put your phone on silent or turn it off completely. Scrolling through social media isn’t conducive to a relaxing evening, so try to limit screen time where possible.
3. Use heating pads to relieve discomfort.
Heat therapy works by relaxing the uterus’ muscles, increasing blood flow and easing the pain. Our heating patches are self-adhesive and are the perfect thing to keep in your bedside cabinet for when your cramps disrupt your sleep. If you’re more comfortable with a cooler temperature, you can also use an ice pack. This can help by drawing the blood out of the pelvic region.
4. Do some breathing exercises.
Practices like these can sound fruitless, but it is possible to trick your body into feeling a little more relaxed. It’s quite common for people to feel anxious before bed, particularly if they’ve already had a few nights of bad sleep or are in pain. Slow and steady breathing can slow down the heart rate and promote relaxation before you fall asleep.
5. Try meditation.
Like breathing exercises, meditation will take a little while to get used to and may take some practice. But meditation can help reduce stress levels and irritation and even distract you from physical pain. You can opt for a guided meditation, mantra meditation in which you repeat a word or phrase to prevent stressful or irritating thoughts, mindfulness meditation or transcendental meditation. You can read more about the various types of meditation here.
6. Keep an eye on what you eat right before bed.
Hormone changes can cause all sorts of cravings during the menstrual cycle, but going to sleep on a full stomach can cause difficulty sleeping. Try to eat at least 3 hours before bed and if that’s not possible, stick to the healthy stuff. Sugar and salt are what your mind craves but can increase bloating and pain overnight while on your period.
7. Track your sleep, so you can identify the nights when you don’t sleep well.
If you are prone to insomnia, Apps like Sleep Cycle and Pzizz are great ways to track your sleep and promote a healthier sleep routine. After a few months, you may see that the second night of your period is the most difficult for you (or another night), so you can equip yourself with heat patches and painkillers before you get off to sleep next month.
8. Don’t tough it out.
Cramps are often the main reason people why sleep poorly during their period, so eliminate or reduce that pain when it arises. As soon as you notice your cramps starting, take some over-the-counter painkillers. Ibuprofen is particularly helpful as it’s also anti-inflammatory. You can also preemptively take painkillers if you know that they typically start on a certain day of your cycle to avoid discomfort altogether.
9. Try some stretching exercises.
We know; sometimes, all you want to do is curl up in a ball, eat snacks and watch your favorite movie. But a little stretching is worth it. While you may not feel like doing an extensive yoga session, it may bring some relief. Research has shown that yoga can ease premenstrual symptoms among those who experience regular discomfort and pain each month.
10. Move during the day.
If you’re not a fan of yoga, any physical activity can help with period pains. If your cramps are too painful to exert yourself heavily, some easy stretches and a short walk will do. The main goal is to bring up your body temperature, then let it drop, causing sleepiness and drowsiness before bedtime. Plus, if you exert yourself during the day, your body is more likely to be tired and induce sleep easier at night.
11. Limit your caffeine intake to mornings only.
If you’re prone to anxiety and elevated stress levels, it’s likely worse around your period. Caffeine raises the heart rate and can cause palpitations, sweating and hand tremors, which is the last thing you want if you’re already uncomfortable. Not only that, but drinking caffeine too late in the day can cause obvious issues like trouble sleeping. It’s also worth noting that many painkillers also contain caffeine, so be sure to take nighttime tablets instead of caffeinated ones when possible!
12. Make sure you’re wearing the right undies.
It might not sound like a dealbreaker, but uncomfortable, unsupportive underwear can make your period even more unpleasant. By opting for soft and breathable period panties, you can remove the worry of leaks during the night and the discomfort of pads, cups and tampons. You want your undies to hug you gently, offering support and protection as you get your well-deserved beauty sleep. With our wide-range of period panties, we’re sure to have something to suit you—check out our full range here.
13. Find the most comfortable sleeping position.
Many people instinctively sleep in the fetal position when they are in pain, but it’s good to know what’s best for you. Sleeping on your side can regulate your breathing and can even help prevent sleep apnea symptoms. If you are comfortable in the fetal position, try placing a pillow between your knees close to your stomach for additional warmth and support.
14. Give yourself a massage.
Use your favorite massage oil and massage your lower abdomen and back to relieve tense muscles. You might want to try cinnamon, rose, or clove oil, as these oils have been shown to safely and effectively ease menstrual cramping.
Proof period panties for a comfortable period
One particularly uncomfortable part of menstruating is the feeling of not being protected against leaking. At Proof, we know that your period can be a stressful and even painful time of the month, and we want you to feel comfortable and protected. Proof undies are made with soft, smooth fabric and have been rigorously tested in an independent laboratory to ensure the highest safety level.
So, whether you experience a light sprinkle or a super-heavy flow each month, Proof has got your back. You can shop our full range of period underwear here.