What can be done about insomnia before and during menstruation?

During a survey on our Instagram community, we realized that a large proportion of respondents suffered from insomnia before and during their periods. Let's decipher together why periods prevent so many women (65% of those surveyed) from sleeping?

Is it normal to suffer from insomnia during your period?

For almost two-thirds of our community, insomnia and menstruationgo hand in hand. menstrual disorders including PMS. A study carried out by the National Sleep Foundation shows that 23% of those surveyed experience restless sleep a week before the onset of their period (thanks to Premenstrual Syndrome, aka PMS), and 30% can't fall asleep easily during their period.

The same study shows that REM sleep lasts for less time up to 10 days before menstruation. The deep sleep phase, which is the most restorative , is shorter. It's normal to have less restful sleep, restless nights and difficulty falling asleep during the menstrual period.

Why is insomnia linked to menstruation?

The culprit behind insomnia during menstruation is called "hormones", and more specifically "progesterone and estrogen". During the ovulatory period, hormone production rises sharply, before dropping off rapidly in the luteal phase. The woman's body then goes into turmoil, and a number of symptoms appear that are more or less easy to cope with: sensitivity, negative emotions, anxiety, headaches, stomach aches, etc. Progesterone, a hormone that is very present during the first trimester of pregnancy, is present in very low quantities in the body during the menstrual period. Falling asleep will therefore be more difficult.

Lower hormone levels

All the variations in hormones during the menstrual cycle are the result of the body preparing for a possible pregnancy.

Estrogens (estradiol, estrone and estriol) and progesterone are secreted by the ovaries throughout the cycle, from puberty to menopause. The activity of the ovaries is controlled by two hormones controlled by the brain : FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Every 28 days, the menstrual and hormonal cycle repeats itself.

  • On the first day of menstruation, the body secretes FSH , which stimulates the ovaries.
  • FSH promotes oestrogen secretion and the maturation of an ovum.
  • During the ovulatory phase, the brain secretes LH to allow evolution to take place.
  • The ovary then secretes progesterone , which thickens the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium), preparing it to receive the fertilized egg.
  • Falling blood levels of progesterone and estrogen trigger menstrual bleeding from the endometrium.

Increased body heat

The drop in progesterone and the rise in body temperature during this phase of the menstrual cycle make for restless sleep, with bodies feeling hot and sweaty. In fact, during the luteal phase, body temperature rises by 3 to 5 tenths of a degree. Although very slight, these variations prevent a good night's sleep. This is in contrast to the other phases of the cycle, when the body is cooler at bedtime, making it easier to fall asleep.

Other physical factors

A number of other symptoms can lead to insomnia before and during menstruation. These are linked to premenstrual syndrome (PMS):

  • Migraines and headaches
  • Painful, tenderbreasts
  • Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, bloating - digestive disorders that can make it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Stomach aches, pelvic pain such as cramps in the lower abdomen
  • A fatigue during menstruationgeneral fatigue and aches and pains reminiscent of the flu.
  • Endometriosis and adenomyosis , which cause severe pain.

Added to these discomforts is the inconvenience of unsuitable sanitary pads, which are not absorbent enough, and the fear of leakage or blood stains. Many women (40% of those surveyed) even have to get out of bed in the middle of the night to change their sanitary pads. These are the kinds of discomforts that keep women awake at night, leading to nightmares and nightmares.

What factors can aggravate insomnia before and during menstruation?

To limit the impact of hormones and promote restful sleep, we recommend that you avoid :

    • Sleeping on your stomach compresses the uterus, causing stomach pains stomach pains during menstruation. Blood flow increases the amount of bleeding.
    • Taking hot baths or showers increases body temperature.
    • Drink stimulating beverages after 4 p.m.: tea, coffee, cola, energy drinks, which take effect 2 to 4 hours after consumption.
    • Sports activities after 7pm. Sport increases heart rate and body temperature. Physical activity also provokes a discharge of adrenalin, which leads to wakefulness and insomnia.
    • The use of screens when night falls and the body is preparing for bedtime is not compatible. Artificial light (blue light) is different from daylight and can disrupt the biological clock, delaying sleep. In fact, it reduces melatonin, the sleep hormone.
    • Wear sanitary protection not adapted to your flow.

How can you sleep better and avoid period-related sleep disorders?

Here are a few tips to help you fall asleep and improve the quality of deep sleep

  • Use a menstrual panties for heavy flows, to avoid staining the sheets or having to change during the night.
  • Engage in gentle physical activity to release hormones that promote well-being and relaxation. Yoga and walking are gentle sports to be encouraged.
  • Take a hot bath an hour and 30 minutes before bedtime to relax and eliminate the stress and tension of the day.
  • Read a book instead of watching TV.
  • Concentrate on positive things: memories, your vacations and put aside your problems.
  • Meditate or try sophrology before going to sleep. Practice breathing exercises and remember .... positive thoughts.
  • Herbal medicine can help you get a good night's sleep.
  • Make infusions of Valerian. A good herbal tea always warms the heart.
  • Sleep in a room no warmer than 19°C.
  • Dine early and eat light , easily digestiblefoods .
  • Massage to relax your muscles and use a hot water bottle to warm your abdomen to relieve menstrual cramps.

If your pain is too incapacitating, you can use sleeping pills or take painkillers such as doliprane/ Ibuprofen. Always seek medical advice if you are taking medication. Self-medication is definitely not recommended.

FAQ on insomnia during menstruation

How can I sleep through my period?

To help you fall asleep and get a good night's sleep during your period, here are a few tips: go to bed in a room that doesn't exceed 19°, eat an early, light dinner, encourage stretching, massage and yoga, and avoid screens before bedtime.

What hormone prevents sleep during menstruation?

The hormones that prevent you from falling asleep during your period are progesterone and estrogen, which drop in the bloodstream, causing a drop in the sleep hormone melatonin.

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