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How important is sleep on our periods?

the importance of sleep on your period

Sleep and periods don't always go hand in hand, so what can we do to reverse our sleep debt and wake up feeling rested and refrehsed? WUKA experts discuss tips to help you achieve a dreamy night's sleep.

Period Fatigue

Sleep is an overlooked, often-neglected, yet essential part of our health and wellbeing. Not just there to leave us feeling refreshed, sufficient sleep keeps our brains functioning and helps to prevent illnesses.

But when we're on our period, it's not always easy to get enough good quality sleep. Welcome to period fatigue- where we just can't sleep and we don't feel rested, no matter how early we go to bed. What causes period fatigue? The short answer: hormones. Keep reading to find out more. 

Does your period affect sleep?

This 2023 study found that during the days leading up to menstruation, women were more likely to experience disruptions to sleep, particularly those who experience heavy periods, PMS and intense period cramps. The study also found that "the severity of menstrual disturbances is positively associated with worse sleep quality".

But it's not just PMS or other period problems that can potentially disrupt your sleep. Research shows that rising progesterone levels during the luteal phase of an average cycle also play a role. During this phase of your cycle ,you're more likely to experience an increased Wake After Sleep Onset (WASO), a concept backed up also by this study which looked into associations between the menstrual cycle and perceived quality of sleep.

It was concluded that a normal ovulatory cycle is linked with elevated perceptions of WASO during the luteal phase, and also during the first few days of menstruation. In other words, even if we sleep ok, we wake up feeling like we haven't, and consequently suffer with period fatigue. Not great!

And if that wasn't enough, according to the  Sleep Foundation, thanks to normal hormone fluctuations, women are more likely than men to experience conditions such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. 

All of this means that YES- your period can affect your sleep, and it’s mostly all down to hormones. And while we can't do much to change the natural cycle of hormones, we can tackle some of the other issues keeping you awake- cramps and leaks!

period leaks disrupt sleep

How do period leaks affect sleep?

Blood stains on the bed sheets are no joke! And waking up through the night to either change pads or check for leaks is no better either. The answer? Well, period pants of course! 

WUKA period pants are made with a highly absorbent gusset that soaks up your period blood, locking it away from the body so you stay dry and fresh, even on your heaviest days. Our period pants for Super Heavy Flow can hold up to 60ml blood and can be worn for up to 24 hours, depending on your flow! 

Most popular for nighttime? The Ultimate™️ Boxer Short and Stretch™️ Boxer Short- both designed to give you maximum comfort and maximum protection- one of the most popular style for sleep, thanks to the coverage they give.

So what's the difference between the two? The Ultimate™️ Boxer Short are longer in the leg and a little cosier perhaps, when the nights are cold. In contrast, the Stretch™️ Boxer Shorts are shorter in the leg, and made with our innovative Stretch™️ technology- allowing one pair to stretch up to four sizes, which is amazing if you're feeling bloated and full of cramps. No waistband digging in and disrupting your sleep- dreamy!

Aside from comfort, the fear of leaks are eliminated with period pants. We hear from so many of you that making the switch from disposables has made a huge difference to your sleep- and we love that. One customer told us,

"I usually have to get up and change 2 or 3 times through the night. I survived a whole night with no leaks no stained clothes or sheets. This is absolutely life changing for me!"

How do period cramps affect sleep?

hot water bottle for period cramps

Period cramps are no joke, especially during the first few days of menstruation. Around 90% of women suffer from period pain each month, and no doubt a good proportion of those women also suffer from disturbed sleep as a result.

If period pain is keeping you awake, try taking pain relief an hour or so before you go to bed, or take a hot water bottle with you to ease cramps. Our wearable hot water bottle can be tied around the waist to keep it in place, or positioned on the back to receive pain there too. 

Do you need more sleep during your period?

There’s a lot going on within your body during your period, and sometimes the truth of it is that we simply need more sleep. The reasons for this could be:

  • Hormones- as the levels of oestrogen and progesterone drop in the luteal phase, you’re likely to feel more tired and even lethargic. Now is the time to get an early night and to prioritise rest and relaxation as much as you can.
  • Dehydration- not drinking enough water to replace fluids lost during your period can affect sleep too. Plus, being dehydrated can lead to headaches, which can also impact sleep negatively. 
  • Cravings- let’s face it, who can sleep when all they want to do is eat their own body weight in chocolate? And likewise, who can sleep if they give in to that craving too?!
  • Anaemia- there’s a link between heavy periods and anaemia, and a correlation between the condition and sleep too. If you suffer from anaemia, you’ll no doubt be feeling, weak, tired and lethargic as a result, so getting some extra sleep is always a good idea.
  • PMS/ PMDD- some women who experience PMS and/ or PMDD can struggle with lethargy and fatigue, and often sleep a lot more than usual during the luteal phase as a result. 

What other factors affect sleep during menstruation?

So we've dealt with cramps and we've got leaks out of the way. What else might affect lees during our period?

Medical issues

Sone condition such as endometriosis, PCOS and Uterine Fibroids might be to blame- symptoms associated can include heavy bleeding and intense cramps, so  If you suspect you might be suffering it's a good idea to make an appointment to see the GP.

periods and sleep

Sleep debt

Sleepless nights lead to more sleepless nights, which lead to more sleepless nights… and before you know it, you’re trapped in a vicious circle. You need to pay back your sleep dept- in other words, prioritise your sleep, build some good sleep hygiene habits and catch up on missed sleep whenever you can.

Disrupted circadian rhythm

Shift workers especially can suffer with an out of balance circadian rhythm which can make it hard to sleep well. Or you might be a night owl who prefers to stay up late and sleep in late. Either way, your circadian rhythm could be out of sync, and that could be disturbing the quality of your sleep too. 

How to feel less tired on your period

The good news is that even if your daily responsibilities aren’t 100% conducive to a good night’s sleep, there is a lot you can do to improve your sleep hygiene. And yes, you can get better sleep during your period.

Choose the right period underwear

Nobody should lose sleep over leaks! Here's what our customers say about our top picks for nighttime period pants:

Stretch™️ Boxer Shorts for heavy flow: "Comfiest pants ever! My daughter says these are the comfiest pants ever! She's sleeping better because of that, which is amazing!" 

Stretch boxer short for sleep

Ultimate™️ Midi Brief for Super Heavy Flow: "Sanity saving! As someone who suffers horrendously heavy periods the super heavy has allowed me to be able to do so much more, when I was on disposables I was having to change night time pads every 1-2 hours!"

Ultimate ™️ High Waist Heavy Overnight: "Feel safer overnight. Fear of leaking on the bedsheets usually keeps me up at night. I've been using these for my heaviest days and they give peace of mind- I can sleep without any accidents!"

Stretch™️ for Super Heavy Flow: "Game changer! I've always used pads and hated how they'd move about when I slept... I really do recommend them. They don't smell, they stay in place, they're very comfy, they're very absorbent- I can put them on and forget about them!"

Ultimate™️ Boxer Shorts: "Very comfortable. I can finally sleep easy without having to shift positions a million times!"  

    Related posts:

    The Period Sleep Gap

    Should You Sleep With a Tampon in?

    How to Sleep Better on Your Period

    Bedtime Routine to Sleep Better on Your Period

    Sleeping Positions for Period Cramps

    Why we Launched WUKA Overnight Period Pants 

     

    FAQs

    Do you need more sleep when you’re on your period?

    During the luteal phase, progesterone and oestrogen levels drop sharply, and this can leave us feeling more tired than usual. Prioritising sleep is always a good idea, no matter where you are in your cycle, and having a regular bedtime routine can help a lot. 

    How much sleep do I need on my period?

    Adults need around 6-8 hours sleep per day, but we’re all different, so some will need more and some will be ok on less. Listen to your body. If you’re more tired than usual during your period, try to get to bed a little earlier. Your body and mind will thank you for it!

    Why is sleep important during your period?

    There’s a lot going on during your period, and lots of changes are taking place due to fluctuating hormones. PMS symptoms can crop up during the last week before your period starts, and its at this time that fatigue and tiredness can worsen.  

    You might also experience mood swings, depression and anxiety at this time; nourishing your mind and body with enough rest and relaxation is vital. 

    Does lack of sleep affect your period?

    Lack of sleep can cause a stress on the body, which can cause hormone imbalances and changes to the menstrual cycle. It can also change your own perception of PMS symptoms, period cramps and worsening mood swings, making you feel more anxious and worried as a result.