First things first, before you snuggle up under your duvet, make sure you’ve done everything possible throughout the day to help make sleep possible. Exercise for example, helps to tire your body out so that sleep becomes easier. However, on top of this, exercise is extremely beneficial for period symptoms. It increases blood flow which helps to ease cramps plus it also releases positive chemicals called endorphins which can improve mood.
I realize that whilst you’re on your period, often the last thing you feel like doing is taking a trip to the gym or swimming lengths in the pool so why not opt for an activity that’s a little less full on. Walking, jogging, exercise classes and even a gentle cycle are all excellent sporting activities when you’re on your period.
Throughout the day, and particularly before bed time, it’s important you chose the right food and drinks to help you through your period. Try to limit your intake of fizzy juice and sugary snacks as these are likely to increase cravings and bloating. As an alternative, opt for plenty of fresh produce and still water instead.
Also, as I discussed in my blog ‘6 drinks to help period cramps’, a soothing herbal tea is the ideal drink to take before going to bed as it can help you to relax. Chamomile tea is a particularly great option as it contains anti-inflammatory properties that could also help to ease cramps.
Choose suitable sanitary products
Choosing the right sanitary product to go to bed in can be important in ensuring you get a full night’s sleep. After all, leakages and toilet trips will only disrupt sleep.
It’s generally agreed that tampons should not be used at night time so if you opt for pads instead, ensure they are soft, breathable and, if necessary, that they are specifically for night time use. I’d also chose a variety that’s scent-free as the perfumed type can cause irritation that will keep you up at night. It’s also handy to keep some near your bed as if they are needed during the night, this means you won’t have to go searching for them.
Set a bed time routine
Here at A.Vogel we’re always encouraging people to create a night time routine as it really can do wonders for sleep. So, follow these simple steps to improve your sleep whilst on your period:
- Take a bath – this is extremely helpful when on your period as the warm water is soothing, thus working to reduce cramps. Also, having a bath before going to bed at night is very relaxing which encourages a better night’s sleep. So, before getting into bed why not dim the bathroom lights, get out some bubble bath, put on some calming music and hop in the bath to help get a good night’s sleep whilst on your period?
- Avoid electronic devices – before going to bed at night, regardless of whether or not you are on your period, it’s advisable to put aside all electronic devices including phones, laptops and televisions. These emit an artificial light which tricks the brain into thinking its day time rather than bed time. This, in turn, makes it more difficult to sleep. So, opt for a more relaxing bed time activity instead like reading or listening to music.
- Set your bed time – changing your bed time night after night is known to make it more difficult to sleep so to avoid this, give yourself a set bed time.
Try breathing techniques
As your hormones fluctuate during your period, your mood can dive all over the place which becomes particularly problematic when it’s time for bed. With your mind overly occupied with thoughts, it isn’t so easy to sleep. Therefore, it can prove helpful to do some calming breathing techniques before you head to bed. This gives your mind something to focus on other than cramps, thoughts and your fluctuating mood. See our ‘breathing tips to relieve stress’ for further advice.
Before heading to bed, make sure you’ve got cramps under control so that they are less likely to disrupt your sleep. To do this you can opt for the tried and tested methods such as painkillers, a comforting hot water bottle or a cold flannel. Make sure you keep these things near your bed in case they’re needed during the night.
Alternatively, you could try a licensed herbal remedy such as Agnus castus. This works to address symptoms such as cramps, as well as bloating and mood swings. If you are taking hormonal contraceptives such as the pill however, it may be less suitable.
Change your sleeping position
Finally, when it is time for bed, your choice of sleeping position can improve your period symptoms. The fetal position is the best option as this can take pressure off the abdominal muscles which, in turn, helps to ease cramps. Lying face down on the other hand, puts pressure on the uterus which can lead to leeks during the night. So, curl up, get comfy and follow these tips to help you get a good night’s sleep whilst on your period.