I have suffered from period cramps since as long as I can remember having my period. It’s a constant battle to keep them at bay and when it comes to sleeping there are times when I can hardly sleep at night because of them or they are so severe they have wakened me up at night.
I have tried many sleep positions over the years to ease the cramps, There is indeed a good way to sleep to help ease cramps. I seemed to have found it by trial and error however there is now a scientific reason for this position which makes me feel so much better that others think the position I adopt when I suffer from period cramps does indeed work.
The best sleeping position for when you are suffering from period camps is the fetal position. That is on one side with your legs tucked up next to your tummy. If you sleep in this position to takes pressure off your tummy muscles. In turn your body relaxes more, you reduce any tension you have been holding in your body and it in turn reduces the cramps.
Did you know that one of the worst positions for reducing period cramps is lying on your tummy? The bed pressing against your tummy can impact on your muscles but also the uterus, causing you more pain but also increasing the blood flow.
I was so glad when I found the best position to sleep because otherwise I would be useless with little sleep. Another positive from sleeping i the fetal position is that it can also prevent any blood leaking on to your sheets. It’s because in this position your legs are pressed together which prevents leakage.
If you can’t sleep on your side don’t worry if you want to stop any kind of leakage then opt for on your back but avoid your lying on your front. Lying on your front can not only cause you more cramps but it can increase blood flow too with all that pressure on your tummy.
Sleep techniques when on your period
Over the many years of my period I have tried and tested many things when it comes to my period. It has consistently without fail given me back pain, cramps and very low mood! What I have found is that a consistent bedtime routine is essential for me during this time of the month for stress levels, for easing pain and for getting a good quality night’s sleep. A lot of us suffer during our period so I wanted to share with you how I minimise this with my own bed time routine during my period.
Why does our period affect our sleep?
It is often hormonal changes during our periods that cause us to interrupt our sleep, scientists tell us that the amount of REM sleep we achieve is less during this stage too. Symptoms really do depend on each individual so doing all or some of what I do will help you determine what is right for your body during your period. Let me know if you do other things during your period to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
Swap out the coffee
I have found that increasing my water intake and reducing my coffee helps with stomach bloating. However I would recommend stopping drinking water around 6pm, otherwise you will be running to the bathroom in the early hours which can impact on your sleep.
Take a Warm Bubble Bath
For me, the hot water around my tummy is great for easing menstral cramps. The hot water helps to relax your muscles but also if you put a few drops of lavender oil in the bath coupled with the hot water will heat you up. When you get out your temperature will drop and you will feel sleepy. It works a treat.
Opt for cotton nightwear
I don’t know about you but when I’m on my period one minute I’m hot in bed and the next cold. Make sure you opt for nightwear that is cotton and breathable. I would highly recommend bamboo clothing these days as they are great at wicking away moisture.
Leave the screens outside your bedroom
When you are ready for bed, leave your screens (smartphone/tablet etc) outside so you are not tempted to spend time you should be sleeping staring at social media. The light from screens reducing your ability to produce melatonin which is the sleepy hormone. Why not opt for doing mindful breathing, bed yoga or reading a book? These are much better than staring at a screen which can interrupt your sleep.
Keep your bedroom cool
Did you know that there is suggested temperatures for sleeping? It is normally between 60 and 67 degrees. I find that during my period I need to adjust the temperature. It’s trial and error so try some different temperatures to see what is right for you.
Getting enough sleep during your period
The run up to my period and during my period I am totally exhausted. This is normal and is often called either premenstrual fatigue or menstrual fatigue. I normally plan to go to bed early during these times to give my body the rest it needs. It happens because progesterone rises after ovulation and it is this that has a sedative effect on us and makes our body yearn for more sleep. Heading to bed early will help combat this.
I hope the above tips help you to sleep better if you suffer cramps but also help you establish a bedtime routine when you are on your period. I have established my own routine after many a trial and error but one thing that did help me was keeping a diary of my symptoms for several months. I would list the dates, the symptoms I was experiencing that day and night, how well I sleep and whether I woke up during the night. I found this extremely useful in learning to understand how my body operates during this phase. If you do this you will be taking action too. I do hope it helps.