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Tips to Sleep Better on your Period

By Dr. Staci Tanouye OB/GYN, MD

Are you struggling to get a peaceful night's sleep while on your period? Dealing with PMS symptoms and a heavy flow that can cause leaks while you’re sleeping, can have a negative impact on your ability to sleep well.

How Sleep Impacts Your Period

Sleep is a vital function that our bodies require to restore, rejuvenate, and reduce stress. Sleep also helps synthesize hormones, which is especially important for women during menstrual cycles. It is recommended to sleep between 7-9 hours per night.

Other things like hormones can have an impact on your ability to sleep well. Rising and falling levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which regulate the menstrual cycle, can affect your ability to fall asleep. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your period. Changes in hormones due to an irregular sleep pattern and possibly stress levels can actually make your periods irregular and possibly more painful.

Women may have restless sleep or insomnia in the days leading up to their period due to sudden drops in progesterone, which affect the body’s temperature control as well as relaxation. Your hormones are at their lowest point when you start your period and your body temperature rises during your period, which can affect sleep. Increased tiredness can be a factor at the beginning of a woman’s period, with feelings of insomnia hitting during follicular phase.

If you aren’t getting adequate sleep, especially during your period, it is common to feel annoyed or groggy. Worrying about period leaks overnight can add unnecessary stress to your slumber. Waking up to check your period product is a definite way to lose sleep.

Tips on How to Sleep During Periods

If your period is stopping you from getting a full night’s sleep, try these tips:

  • Cut down on alcohol, caffeine, and sugar during your period
  • Increase water intake to stay hydrated
  • Keep devices out of the room when it’s time to sleep
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • Try to go to bed and wake up at consistent times every day
  • Keep your thermostat between 60-67 degrees during your period to help combat your rise in temperature
  • Place a heating pad on your abdomen before bed for 10-15 minutes to help alleviate any cramps or joint aches and pains
  • Wear loose clothing that doesn’t put pressure on your abdomen or cause any discomfort
  • Choose the right pads to wear overnight that will help you feel protected and secure

Period flow strength varies for everybody and can even vary depending on what stage of your menstrual cycle that you’re in. Some days or nights might be heavier or lighter than others. Gravity plays an interesting role in your nighttime period flow. Some people experience very little bleeding at night if their flow is on the lighter side. This is because when you’re lying down, blood doesn’t flow out as easily, and can sit in the vagina for longer. When you wake up in the morning, you might experience an increase in your flow when you get out of bed because gravity causes it to flow out again.

It’s important to find products that help you feel safe no matter how heavy your flow is. An easy way to take the stress out of leaking during your period is to use U by Kotex® AllNighter® Extra Heavy Overnight pads while sleeping. They offer 2X protection to help you get a more restful sleep.

In general, I recommend wearing pads at night over tampons, since tampons should be worn for a maximum of 4-8 hours. Having to change your tampon could interrupt your sleep. Just make sure to change your pad in the morning. Also, make sure to keep that area as dry as possible.

Getting enough sleep on your period is something to prioritize. With these tips and product recommendations you should already be on your way to a better night's rest. If nighttime problems persist, make sure to reach out to a healthcare professional for advice.

About Staci Tanouye OB/GYNMD  : Staci Tanouye OB/GYN, MD is a physician in a private practice and an expert in adolescent health, sexual health, reproductive health, and menopausal health. She has become one of the leading gynecologists on social media with the mission to educate women and all people with vulvas to love their bodies through knowledge and empowerment.

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This is not intended to be medical advice. Everybody is different so please make sure to consult your physician if you're having issues. Do not delay or refrain from seeking professional medical advice from your physician because of something you have read on this site.