IS THIS NORMAL?: I sleep terribly whenever I have my period

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Dear Is This Normal?,

I’m a pretty heavy sleeper normally, but during my period my sleep goes haywire. I’m up and down all night, and then exhausted all day at work. Why is this happening to me? Should I be worried?

— Period Sleep Sucks

Dear Period Sleeper,

Between period pimplesweird AF dreams, wild emotions, and even wilder cravings, menstruation is not exactly a fun time of the month. Add poor sleep into the equation and it gets even harder to manage all the other stuff that comes along with this intense time.

First, the good (ish) news: This is normal. Plenty of women have a hard time sleeping during their period—science says so. So don’t worry that anything is wrong with you.

But why the F is this happening? First of all, your body warms up during the luteal phase of your cycle—after ovulation and before menstruation—and your body needs to cool down to go to sleep. So in the week or few days before your period, your warmer body temperature may interfere with your ability to fall asleep.

On top of that, there are some PMS symptoms that can wake you up at night. Dr. Sophia Yen of Pandia Health explained to HelloGiggles that PMS-related depression and anxiety can interfere with your sleep, and hormone changes can also keep you awake.

She added, “Insomnia during your cycle can be caused by bloating, cramps, frequent urination, irritability, breast tenderness, and heavy bleeding, which makes sense because all of these symptoms can cause an uncomfortable ecosystem for relaxing.” And don’t forget about the delights of period-related back pain—that, of course, can prevent you from getting comfortable enough to sleep.

This all sucks pretty badly, but Dr. Yen has some suggestions for how to get proper shut-eye, even when you’re bleeding.

"Ample exercise can help shake off the anxieties you may be feeling, and you can try bringing a hot water bottle to bed for any additional pain [such as cramps or back pain]," she said.

Taking a warm shower before bed can help, too, since post-shower evaporation will help your body cool down and ease into slumber.

Sending you sleepy thoughts, sister.

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