Caitlin Flynn
Updated Dec 29, 2016 @ 2:42 pm
woman airport
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Aside from a few minor inconveniences like jetlag and long customs lines, international travel is one of life’s best experiences. But, nothing’s perfect (not even that trip to your favorite European city) — and if you’ve noticed changes in your menstrual cycle during international excursions, it’s not a fluke — there’s a scientific explanation for the changes to your period when you’re traveling abroad.

According to research scientist Anna Druet, crossing time zones influences the regularity of our periods because international travel disrupts our sleep schedule.

But, what does that have to do with our periods? As it turns out, our menstrual cycles and sleep cycles are linked — so when our sleep is disrupted, our period follows suit.

Credit: Pexels

According to Health, those of us who cross time zones frequently are most likely to experience menstrual changes when we travel, but all women should be prepared for period disruptions. And, of course, we never know quite what to expect — our period may arrive early, late, or we may skip it altogether. It may be lighter or heavier than usual, and the cycle could be shorter than our normal one (yay!) — or last longer (not cool).

Credit: Pexels

So, when we pack our bags to embark on an international adventure, it’s a good idea to pack an extra box of tampons — and then we can hope and pray that we fall into the group of women who simply skip their periods when crossing time zones.