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Study Reveals Why It's Hard To Sleep Around Your Periods & How To Fix It

Caroline Muggia
Author:
March 23, 2019
Caroline Muggia
By Caroline Muggia
mbg Contributor
Caroline Muggia is a writer, environmental advocate, and registered yoga teacher (E-RYT) with a B.A. in Environmental Studies & Psychology from Middlebury College.
Image by Sergey Filimonov / Stocksy
March 23, 2019

Heavy periods, cramps, and PMS are just a few of the common unwanted symptoms women experience during their periods. We're always trying to figure out how to hack our periods for less pain and frustration, and according to a new study, we may need to look more closely at the week leading up to our periods.

A new study published in the Endocrine Society found it's likely for women's sleep to be disrupted during the days before the start of their period. This is big news as sleep is arguably one of the most critical aspects of our health, and most of us are already not getting enough of it.

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How do we know?

Researchers tracked women's sleep quality a few days before their period, called the late luteal phase, and for the days following the first day of menstruation, the early follicular phase. They found that in the days leading up to the period, women woke up more frequently after falling asleep and spent more time lying in bed awake. This is no fun, and it turns out could be made even worse when combined with a particular diet.

This diet could make sleep even worse.

The study took things a step further and looked at how different diets could affect sleep during these two phases. They compared two diets: one with balanced caloric intake, meaning the same amount of energy in as out, and the other with 55 percent fewer calories. They discovered that women had even worse sleep quality during these phases when eating a calorie-restricted diet. Depending on your typical diet around your cycle, this could be exactly the news you were looking for.

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What's happening?

This likely has to do with changes in hormones, explained the researchers, which is not surprising as the root of many period woes are hormone imbalances, which we know play a critical role in our overall health.

"These findings suggest that women need to be particularly cognizant of practicing good sleep hygiene in the week before menses and with decreased caloric intake," said Anne E. Kim, a medical student at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, in a statement.

Knowing this information, you can become more aware of your own sleep patterns around your cycle, and if you find you're having trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, consider giving your sleep routine a little extra TLC in the week before your period.

This could mean giving your body a few extra minutes to wind down before heading to sleep, trying out some hormone-balancing foods or essential oils, incorporating a magnesium supplement into your nighttime routine, and avoiding a calorie-restricted diet in the days before and right after the first day of your period if you're on one. We hope these tips help you get more zzz's even around the time of your cycle!

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Caroline Muggia
Caroline Muggia

Caroline Muggia has a B.A. in Environmental Studies & Psychology from Middlebury College. She received her E-RYT with Yoga Works and is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. A writer and environmental advocate, she is passionate about helping people live healthier and more sustainable lives. You can usually find her drinking matcha or spending time by the ocean.