Gina Florio
Updated Feb 28, 2017 @ 2:35 pm
Credit: Shutterstock

The most basic symptoms of PMS — menstrual cramps, mood swings, and breast tenderness — don’t tell the whole story, although we wish that were the end of the road. There are many other side effects of a period that affect our life, and each one of us lives with a different set of symptoms than another. One sneaky way your period could be messing with you is by screwing up your sleep schedule.

Even the most sound sleepers sometimes have trouble sleeping through the whole night when they’re on their period. We can’t fall asleep right away, we toss and turn, and then we wake up feeling exhausted (and grumpy AF). Sleep expert Maryanne Taylor and therapist Pat Duckworth, both from tampon subscription company Pink Parcel, told a few things about why we can’t get our beauty sleep when we’re on our period.

Obviously, your hormones are doing funny things when you’re menstruating, and that can contribute to a crappy sleep. “The levels of oestrogen and progesterone vary during the menstrual cycle,” Duckworth said. “Oestrogen levels peak around ovulation and then decline before the start of your period. Progesterone, which can make you feel sleepy, also drops before your period — which is the time when women generally have sleep issues.”

Taylor recommends keeping your room at a slightly cooler temperature and to take a warm bath or shower before bed. That might sound counterintuitive at first, but it actually keeps you cooler in the long run. Oh, and don’t forget to drink a lot of water throughout the day.

Another culprit of unfulfilling sleep when you’re on your period is the sheer fact that you’re in pain. Your cramps are bothering you and you might even have some indigestion issues. Furthermore, you could be subconsciously worrying so much about blood leaking onto your bed that you wake up suddenly throughout the night. “Pads can be bulky and have a high risk of leakage — not just due to the strength of flow at night, but also your sleeping position,” Taylor said.

The combination of all this doesn’t make for a great night’s sleep, but that doesn’t mean you have to simply surrender to it all. Take the necessary precautions. Stay hydrated, wear the right tampon or pad, take painkillers, and keep up a regular exercise program. And make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. You deserve to sleep like the queen that you are.