Cramps, sweating, muscle aches and fatigue. As most of us know, period symptoms aren’t always a walk in the park. They cross a line, however, when they begin interrupting your sleep. An unbalanced sleep schedule can not only affect your mental and physical health, but it can also worsen your period symptoms. And yet, many people report sleep disturbances during their cycle. Luckily, there are steps you can take to manage your discomfort and get the sleep you need.
Eat a light snack
A quick bedtime snack can do wonders for your sleep, as long as it’s small and packed with sleep-boosting nutrients. Foods like bananas and almonds contain high levels of magnesium which improves sleep quality, regardless of period discomfort. Or, if you prefer a relaxing drink, the antioxidants in chamomile tea promote sleepiness and reduce aches and pains. Whatever you snack on, just be sure to avoid greasy or fatty foods that can keep you up with indigestion and heartburn (that is, skip the potato chips and cake within three hours of bed).
Turn down the temperature
During your period, your core temperature rises. This can confuse your body, however, when it’s time for bed because your temperature naturally drops before sleeping. To combat this discrepancy, set your thermostat between 65-68 degrees Fahrenheit and use sweat-wicking cotton sheets. Another trick? Take a hot bath right before bedtime. The transition out of the steam-filled bathroom can convince your brain that your bedroom is cooler than it actually is and ease you into better sleep.
A few quick yoga poses can do wonders for your sleep during your period. Not only does the deep breathing and slow movement help you mentally unwind, but the gentle stretching can also relieve back pain and cramps. But, don't be intimidated-- yoga can move at your own pace. Start out slow with child’s pose or forward fold to ease yourself into the practice and still reap the benefits. Even just a five-minute yoga routine before bed can help improve your sleep.
The aching joints and sore muscles that accompany many periods can make it difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep. Along with a heating pad, try a new sleeping position that’s conducive to pain relief. Lying in the fetal position can alleviate pressure on your abdominal muscles to reduce cramping, muscle aches and flow. Also, consider using a foam mattress that will adapt well to new positions and still provide muscle support.
Work it out
We've all heard it: exercise is good for us. We get it, Michelle! But, the benefits of working out don’t stop at a slimmer waist and healthier heart. Exercise can have a major impact on both period pain and sleep. The endorphins released during physical activity can reduce cramping, stress levels and heart rate which makes it easier to fall asleep. Spending time outdoors also helps keep your circadian rhythms consistent. Anything from a walk during your lunch break to a jog in the park are great ways to get active and catch better Z’s.
By introducing some healthy lifestyle changes and self-care strategies into your daily routine, you can stop your tossing and turning. Use these tips and go forth to take back control of your period and get the sleep your body deserves!