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How Can the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle Mess with Your Sleep?

How Can the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle Mess with Your Sleep?

Menstrual Cycle

Have you realized that con artist Frank Abagnale and your sleep are pretty similar? They are both known for throwing the same challenge: “Catch me if you can.” The shocking part of the story for a woman is that different phases of the menstrual cycle can mess with your sleep!

Research suggests that 7 out of 10 women notice a change in their sleep patterns a few days before their period begins. How does that work? Learn a little about sleep disorders caused by the menstrual cycle with phases messing up your rest.

Sleep Quality for Women Throughout the Menstrual Cycle

Did you know that your menstrual cycle is not just about those 3-7 days of bleeding, cramps, or mood swings? It is a month-long affair! During the entire month, you’ll experience irregular sleep patterns and disorders, all because of hormonal changes in different phases.

Throughout the month, you may face trouble falling or staying asleep. You may feel restless and get less REM sleep. Besides hormonal changes, irregularities in body temperature, and problems like cramps, changing libido, excitement, etc., can disturb sleep during different phases of the menstrual cycle.

a) Follicular Phase:

This phase lasts from the first day of the period to the initial stage of ovulation. During this phase, oestrogen and progesterone levels drop. This drop, along with problems due to hormonal changes, like breathing trouble, improper metabolism, etc., can lead to sleep disorders.

During the initial days of menstruation, you’re likely to face poor quality of sleep. From the end of the period till the next few days, your sleep patterns might improve a little. That’s because, during this time, your body will produce melatonin, which is the sleep hormone.

b) Ovulation

Don’t get excited because the nights of normal sleep are few in number as the oestrogen level starts to rise again until the ovulation phase. This means you will feel more excited – and your desire for physical intimacy will increase drastically. That’s something to keep you up at night!

Higher oestrogen levels also change your body temperature. As you proceed towards the release of eggs, you’ll experience lower body temperature. Right after the release of eggs, your body temperature will rise. This change, along with changing energy levels, can disrupt sleep.

c) Luteal Phase

Starting from the ending phase of ovulation till the start of your period is the luteal phase. If you’re not pregnant and have a healthy menstrual cycle free from medical conditions, you will likely face sleep troubles in the last few days of the cycle until your period begins.

But if you face problems like PCOS, PMDD, you will experience sleep problems almost throughout this phase. That’s because your body will react less to melatonin secretion. Other premenstrual issues include cramps, irritability, anxiety, etc., leading to sleep disturbances.

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Hence, for your sleep problems in all the phases of the menstrual cycle, it’s your complex, high-maintenance internal plumbing to blame! What’s worse is that hormonal imbalance, sleep irregularities, and other premenstrual issues like agitation, irritability, cramps, poor concentration, etc., are part of a vicious cycle. They aggravate one another!

How to Improve Sleep Problems Caused by the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

It’s evident that your sleep problems are not just caused by your stress to meet deadlines or your child’s upcoming project submission. The phases of the menstrual cycle have a lot to do with it. Thankfully, there are small changes you can make to improve your sleep.

Rather than tossing and turning in your bed, try the following:

  • Stressing over sleep will make things worse.
  • Read a book for 15-20 minutes to tire your eyes and mind.
  • Avoid looking at screens an hour or two before bedtime.
  • Try gentle stretching or yin yang yoga or stroll around the house.
  • Practice meditation to relax your body and calm your mind.
  • Jot down your thoughts, worries, affirmations, etc., in a journal.
  • Listen to calming white noise or sleep meditation guides.

You should maintain some additional habits throughout all the phases of the menstrual cycle:

  • Avoid caffeine after sundown.
  • Avoid sugary snacks, especially in the evening.
  • Exercise regularly, even if it is for half an hour.
  • Avoid too much alcohol consumption, mainly during the day.

Consult a Doctor about Menstruation-Induced Sleep Problems

Even as a healthy woman, you can experience sleep irregularities due to menstruation. You can fix it with lifestyle and dietary changes. But if you’re already suffering from hormonal problems, PMS, PCOS, PMDD, etc., your sleep can get worse. You’ll end up with deteriorated health due to the lack of rest. It’s best to seek medical help if you want to sleep like a baby again!

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