Sleep and our periods - what can we do to achieve the perfect night's sleep? We made WUKA Boxer Shorts to help you achieve that.
What is 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.
We know that on your period, sometimes we experience poor quality of sleep. Couple this with various PMS symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy and low mood, lack of sleep is a recipe for disaster. Whether we’re awake with worries about the next day, or whether we’re simply so aware that we may leak… period fatigue is no joke.
Most adults require between 7-9 hours per night, and children and teens need substantially more. But how can we recharge our bodies if we’re up in the night with period cramps and worrying about period leaks?
Can your period affect your sleep?
Research shows that the days leading up to your period (the luteal phase) tend to be the most common time to experience sleep problems. The rise of progesterone during this phase of your cycle has been associated with 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.
What this means is that your period can affect your sleep, and it’s probably all down to hormones. Add to that, the symptoms of PMS that can keep us awake, not to mention waking up worrying about leaks… it’s a recipe for sleep disaster!
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 disturbs sleep during our period?
So we know that our period affects our sleep, and we’ve seen that hormone drops in the luteal phase can cause us to wake in the night too. But there are other factors to consider when it comes to disturbed sleep on our period…
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 your period protection just isn’t up to the job, you’re going to sleep fitfully at best, worrying about leaks and running to the bathroom to change your underwear. This is why we recommend WUKA period pants!
We designed our WUKA boxer shorts with this concern in mind- because we know how exhausting it can be to have to worry about leaks and stains at bedtime. They’re part of our Overnight Collection, which truly has sweet dreams in mind.
We highly recommend ditching the pads, and seeing as its not recommended to wear a tampon overnight, period pants are your new best bedtime pal!
Medical issues such as endometriosis, PCOS and Uterine Fibroids can not only cause heavy and painful periods, but they also affect sleep too. If you suspect you might be suffering from a condition that’s keeping you awake, make an appointment to see the GP.
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
First of all, let’s sort out your period underwear. We’re determined that nobody should lose sleep over leaks!
Our Overnight Collection is designed for sleep and each piece is leak-proof to the waistline, so that you can lie back and relax, knowing we’ve totally got your back. Literally!
Each pair of period pants in the collection has a super absorbent gusset that extends all the way to the back, and there’s really no need to sleep in any weird or wonderful positions to keep you free from leaks. We encourage all sleepers- side, back, front, upside down…
Choose from our super soft and comfy Boxer shorts, or our cute Leopard Print designs. We’ve also got our new Ultimate Lace Hipster Brief, plus our High Waist for those heavier days. Whichever style you go for, cross ‘fear of leaks’ off the list of things that keep you awake at night.
Good sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is also known as the quality of your sleep. And one of the most commonly spoken about factors of sleep hygiene involves placing yourself in the best position to sleep well each night.
There are a few things you can do to ensure you have the quality sleep you deserve:
- Wake up at a fixed time- Try to wake up at a similar, if not the same, time everyday. This will help your body find a rhythm in getting consistent sleep.
- Prioritise your sleep- As tempting as it may be to pull an all-nighter now that things have started re-opening, and as of Monday 17th May 2021, we're able to stay round at people's houses and dine indoors, it is vital you prioritise your sleep! So that you can wake up and kick ass!
- Create a mindful nightly routine- Winding down with a routine that's individual to you will help calm your mind and send signals to your body that you're ready to drift off to dream land. Dimming your lights will also help - this is because bright lights can hinder the production of melatonin which is a hormone the body creates to facilitate sleep!
- Unplug from electronic devices - a 30-60 minute window of 'No electronics' before you sleep is beneficial.
Manage period pain
Period cramps can be awful when you’re trying to sleep. Try these sleeping positions for a better night’s rest, and watch what you eat and drink too. A hot bath before you go to bed, or a hot water bottle to the tummy can help too.
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.