You may already be familiar with the fact that a great share of the American adult population. 35% to be precise, suffers from insomnia symptoms. But, did you know that women are at higher risk of experiencing poor sleep compared to men?
This is true due to the hormonal changes related to their menstrual cycle. And, given the fact that quality sleep is essential for both physical and mental health, it’s key to learn more about the connection between the menstrual cycle and sleep, as well as how to improve sleep during your period. So, let’s begin!
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Basics
In short, many physical and emotional changes occur as a result of the body’s hormone production during the days before their period.
And, although these changes are trivial and mild for many women, some experience disruptive and extensive changes that lead to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), in up to 12% of women, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) when extremely severe changes occur, about 1% to 5% of women.
What these syndromes have in common is poor sleep. Namely, women with PMS and PMDD, and even those with mild symptoms, tend to be extremely tired and experience insomnia symptoms before and during their period. Unfortunately, the exact cause that leads to these sleep issues hasn’t been completely understood yet.
One possible explanation is that women react differently to fluctuations in hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. Other explanations include a deficiency in serotonin or deficiencies in calcium or magnesium.
Changes Before Women’s Period
According to statistics, 90% of women notice at least some changes, physical or emotional, during the days leading to their menstruation. These may appear from a couple of hours to 10 days before the period and go away right after the period begins or several days after the period starts.
Common physical and emotional changes before a women’s period include:
- Tender or swollen breasts
- Bloating or gassiness
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Noise and light sensitivity
- Poor concentration and memory
- Mood swings
- Anxiety and irritability
- Sex drive changes
- Sleep changes
- Appetite changes
The Link between PMS and Sleep
Women who go through PMS are at least twice as likely to suffer from insomnia symptoms before and during their menstruation. Lack of sleep then leads to extreme daytime sleepiness, tiredness, and drowsiness.
On the other hand, PMS can cause some women to sleep too much, known as hypersomnia, as a result of the tiredness and fatigue they experience around their period, and due to the mood changes that occur, such as depression.
The reason why PMS negatively affects sleep is, as we already said, not clarified completely yet. The most reasonable explanation is that the changes in hormonal levels provoke issues falling or staying asleep.
Fortunately, following certain steps can help confront insomnia around your period and get better sleep during all menstrual cycle phases. Here’s what you should do:
- Practice good sleep hygiene as a preventative measure before your period begins.
- Exercise regularly and eat healthy during the days leading to your period.
- Try relaxation techniques to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
- If symptoms persist, talk to your doctor about taking medications and supplements.
To conclude, even though the relationship isn’t fully clarified, premenstrual syndrome and sleep are closely connected. So, if you experience poor sleep as a result of PMS, ensure you follow the above-listed tips to help you get the rest you need during those days.