You may not have ever considered the effect your menstrual cycle can have on your sleep, but it’s huge!
You can go from sleeping well and even better in the first two weeks of your cycle (based on a 28 day cycle), to struggling to sleep, only for the cycle to all start again!
In this article, we’ll unpack this, as well as give tips for managing sleep throughout your cycle.
(Start of period to day 7 in a 28 day cycle)
Menstrual pain may make it hard to sleep, or wake you up during the night. But if you take a pain killer or just don’t experience menstrual pain (lucky you!), then you may find you are sleeping a bit better.
(Day 7 to day 14/day of ovulation in a 28 day cycle)
You may be finding that you have more energy as estrogen rises higher, but that high energy can make it harder to fall asleep! Once you do sleep however, it’s likely to be sound sleep, thanks to higher serotonin levels (caused by the rising estrogen).
(Ovulation to a week before your period, Day 14 to Day 21 in a 28 day cycle)
In the first half of your Week 3, estrogen decreases steeply and suddenly, which can trigger bouts of insomnia as it is connected to reduced levels of serotonin in the brain. However, by the second half of the week, progesterone rises, a hormone that’s been associated with sleepiness.
(The week leading up to your period)
It’s been shown that premenstrual sleep is often lower quality than through the rest of the month. You may find it difficult to fall asleep, you may wake up in the middle of the night or you may have light sleep that leaves you feeling tired upon awakening. Estrogen is at its lowest during this week, which is thought to be the culprit. Its connected to lower serotonin levels, as well as making you more sensitive to things like noise, light, temperature, and any other factor that could make sleep more difficult.
Tips for better sleep
Track your cycle: tracking your cycle with the YourCycle app can show you what to expect for your unique cycle, so you can accommodate ahead of time what your sleep needs will be
Drink chamomile tea: chamomile has been repeatedly linked to better sleep, and it tastes pretty good!
Keep it dark before bed: try to dim the lights around your home and in the electronics you’re using an hour or so before you turn in. Exposure to light halts your body’s natural production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
Listen to gentle and soft music: soft music can trigger your body to relax, which in turn makes it easier to sleep (this may be especially helpful if you’re feeling anxious).
Count backwards by 3s: when you can’t fall asleep due to racing thoughts or you wake up in the middle of the night and worries crowd your mind, start counting backwards from 300 by 3s, for instance, 297, 294, etc. It can distract you from your anxious thoughts by requiring you to think a little, but not in a way that’s emotionally charged.
It’s totally normal for your sleep quality to change throughout your cycle! And knowing what to expect can be a game changer. Throughout your cycle, but especially in the times where your sleep is likely to be worse, there are things you can do to make sleep come easier. Drinking chamomile tea, keeping the room dark before bed, and listening to gentle music are all ways that have been proven to help. And if you’re having anxious thoughts, even something as simple as counting by 3s can help! Remember to take care of yourself and your sleep, you need and deserve good rest <3.
Did you find this article helpful?
Download the YourCycle app for personalised information on everything to do with your cycle. It’s completely free and always will be.
Post by Miranda Bromage