The Importance of Sleep to Improve Menstrual Health

We’ve all been there ladies, the cramps, bloating, and the constant need to either cry or slap somebody. That’s right, your period. There’s been a lot of research shown on how we can improve the days before, during, and after Aunt Flo’s visit. Specifically, we’re going to talk about sleep. How much and what type of sleep we should be getting, as well as the best position to be sleeping in. 


The Facts

Before we get started, let’s face the facts. Good quality sleep isn’t exactly the easiest thing to achieve for many of us. In fact, a study done by Anne E. Kim, a medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, stated that more disruptions in sleep are found in young women in the days leading up to menses, or the menstrual cycle. 


They also used a bunch of fancy terminology to basically say that your cycle can really mess things up! You wake up more often, which leaves you feeling tired, and sometimes, you wake up and can’t go back to sleep, which also leaves you tired. It’s no wonder all we want to do is stay in bed all day everyday! Thankfully, we have some great tips to help you get an amazing night’s rest!


How to Sleep

Yes, there is a wrong and right way to sleep! First off, we need to make sure we are getting the proper amount of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation stated that girls ages 6-13 years old should be getting 9-11 hours of sleep per night, teens 14-17 years need 8-10 hours per night, and adults 18+ need 7-9 hours per night. Therefore, since we know that we’re going to have trouble sleeping the days leading up to our period, we need to make it a top priority! 


Secondly, there are things you may be doing that can be causing the type of sleep you’re getting to be poor quality. For example, allowing disruptive noises to be present can cause you to have stress. Even when asleep, sudden noises or sounds that trigger a sense of emergency can cause raises in blood pressure and heart rate during sleep. These can include cell phone notifications, emergency vehicles, dogs barking, or a TV in the background. If you live in a busy city, try wearing earplugs while sleeping. Or, if you feel you need background noise to keep your sanity, opt for some pink noise such as a fan, ocean waves, or rain sounds. 

Third on the list is the position you sleep in! Oftentimes, we hurt so bad that we just want to curl up in the fetal position and pray for mercy. Actually, though, you’re doing the right thing! Sleep can be disrupted by pain from cramping. By sleeping in the fetal position, it causes the skeletal muscles around the abdomen to relax, thus putting less pressure on your uterus. If you love your sheets and PJ’s, this position also keeps them protected from leaks since your legs are pressed together! Whereas sleeping on your stomach should definitely be avoided since it puts more pressure on your abdomen, and gives greater potential for leakage. 


With the amount of helpful information that’s out there, we can win the battle of tiredness during menstruation! We just have to remember to keep priority over how much we sleep, the environment we’re in, and how we’re positioned. When we really take an interest in how we care for our bodies, we will feel great anytime of day, and any time of month!