What do periods have to do with sleep anyway?
Why is that a problem? Well, one of the ways your body tells you that you’re feelin’ sleepy is by lowering your body temp. If the temperature is too high (during your period), you can struggle to fall asleep.
Handy tip: A warm shower before bed and keeping your bedroom cooled to an optimum sleeping temperature of about 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit will help drop your body temperature, and ensure you feel snoozy even during your flow!
On top of this, PMS symptoms like headaches, anxiety, sore boobs, nausea, bloating, sore stomach, and cramps can make a restful eight hours feel like a far away dream.
So, what’s the best position to sleep during your period?
If you’re going to sleep at night with achy, breaky cramps, there could be a way to sleep that can help you. Sleeping in the fetal position takes pressure off the abdominal muscles, which can help relieve cramps — the fetal position helps because the skeletal muscles around your abdomen relax, and less tension leads to fewer cramps and less pain.
If you’re someone who tends to leak a lot at night, it might be because of the position you sleep.Another super beneficial sleep AND cramp aid are some gentle, stretchy yoga poses before bed.
- Child’s Pose: Stretches the lower back muscles and calms the mind (try and focus on deep breathing in this pose)
- Forward fold: Get your circulation going and stretch out your lower back and hips.
- Knees to chest: By relaxing the lower back and abdominal muscles, this pose also relieves tension and reduces pain.
- Savasana: Okay, so this one is the best, right? Take some time in this pose to focus on your breath, quiet the mind, and give your mind and body a little space.
Reboot your routine
Not ideal. Though your most sleepy self is the most apparent *during* your period, it’s still important to establish good sleep habits throughout the month.
This is one you’ve all heard before, but keep your bed for sleeping (and sex!) and limit your screen use before bed (I know, I know, but it *actually* works). So keep your emailing, scrolling, and yup, even Netflix-ing to an area outside of your bed (or at least give yourself an hour or so before you sleep that’s screen free!).
What else? Well, again, it’s all the boring stuff. Regular exercise, eating healthy meals (or at least, trying your best to limit vending machine meals to one a week), and staying hydrated will all contribute to you being well-rested. TBH, you should probably be doing these things anyway. No one said #adulting was easy.
If you are still feeling tired and low-energy around your period (or just generally) and it’s affecting your daily activities, it’s definitely worth checking in with a doctor or healthcare professional you trust.
Do you have any no-fail tips or tricks to get that REM going? Share your sleep hacks with us in the comments!
8 tips & tricks to make this your easiest period ever
- Be prepared: FACT: Nobody likes surprises of the period variety. Especially if you’re irregular, tracking apps can help uncover trends about the length of your cycle, when you’re most apt to cramp, and the heaviest day of your period.
- Start a pre-period regimen: There’s not much you can do to relieve cramps or heavy bleeding once your period starts. Mix 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar into a cup of tea with honey, and repeat daily for the week before your period.
- It’s supplemental, my dear Watson: Period pro Alisa Vitti explains, “Estrogen builds the lining of your uterus.
- Curb your vices: I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but caffeine, alcohol, excess salt, and fatty foods and can all make your period symptoms worse. Resisting your cravings can actually help to stave off cramps and bloating.
- Get moving: I get it, sometimes prying yourself off the couch and pausing that marathon of House of Cards feels impossible. But I promise that a vigorous workout is the best remedy for menstrual cramps. Don’t believe me? Exercise causes the release of beta-endorphins, which act as a natural pain reliever.
- Get off: If exercise is out of the question, orgasm is another great way to reduce cramping. Like with exercise, reaching orgasm triggers a release of endorphins which will naturally counteract pain, but also has the added benefit of helping to relax pelvic muscles that cause cramping in the first place. So you can feel free to get frisky, Doctor’s orders!
- Heat things up: Fine, you’re not feeling too sexy. Using a heating pad or hot water bottle will also help relax the muscles that are contracting to cause cramps. No time to curl up on the couch? Pro tip: if your local store is out of menstrual heating pads, the neck, shoulder, and wrist version is basically the same thing.
- Sleep it off: It’s not just you… it’s scientifically proven that you’re more tired during your period – increases in progesterone levels that occur in the second half of your cycle actually do make you more sleepy.
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