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Periods At Night: How To Sleep When You Are On Your Period

Welcome to our guide on how to sleep on your period. There are plenty of ways to manage periods at night and get some decent rest. We’re here to share practical tips, comfortable sleeping positions, and product recommendations to help you sleep soundly even during your menstrual cycle. We hope our advice makes it easier to sleep without leaks or discomfort, especially if you have heavy periods and cramps.

Top tips for how to deal with periods at night

We’ll start by listing some of the best ways to sleep when on your period. From clothing choices to menstrual products, here are our top tips:

  • Relaxing Night Routines: Incorporate relaxation techniques into your bedtime routine such as deep breathing exercises or gentle yoga stretches. These ‘sleep hygiene’ practices can help ease anxiety and stress, which may be heightened during your period thanks to hormones and cramps.
  • Choose Comfortable Sleepwear: Opt for loose-fitting, breathable pyjamas or loungewear so you feel nice and cosy. However, tighter underwear helps to hold a pad in place and prevent period leaks, especially if you change positions while sleeping.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink water throughout the day, but reduce your intake a few hours before bedtime to minimise bathroom trips at night.  Drinking water can help with period cramps and bloating.
  • Sleep-Friendly Period Products: Use period products that provide both comfort and protection. Consider using high-absorbency pads or period underwear for overnight use. They offer peace of mind, ensuring you wake up feeling fresh. 

Lil-Lets Maxi Night Pads offer great nighttime protection! This pad is specially designed to prevent night spills, thanks to its extra length, wings and wide-shaped back. The pad’s shape means it hugs you more at the back, which is where a lot of menstruators tend to leak from at night, and it helps to prevent that getting-out-of-bed spillage (we’ve all been there). It’s also the most absorbent pad in our range, so you can worry less and sleep more.


How to sleep when you have period pains

Heat is our number one go-to for period pain at night. Warm up a hot water bottle (or two) and sleep with it behind your back or on your tummy. You can also try heating pads or heat patches (they’re adhesive and warm up pretty quickly). 

If you’re into natural remedies for period pain relief, try sipping on herbal teas like chamomile, ginger and rooibos before bed. The anti-inflammatory properties may provide relief from cramping. Another natural remedy for some people is period sex. The endorphins and oxytocin your body releases during intercourse can help ease the pain and make it easier to fall asleep.

If your pain doesn’t get any better, it may be time to take over-the-counter pain medication or chat with your doctor.


The best positions to sleep in when on your period

Finding the best sleep position for you can make a world of difference in managing period discomfort and ensuring a restful night's sleep. Here are some positions to consider:

Foetal Position: Curling up on your side, with your knees drawn toward your chest, can relieve pressure on your abdominal muscles. This position can be particularly helpful if you're experiencing cramps.

Straight and Narrow: Sleeping on your back with your legs extended can help maintain spinal alignment and reduce any lower back pain. Place a pillow under your knees for added support.

The Soldier: If you prefer lying on your back, try extending your legs fully while keeping your arms at your sides. This position can help reduce the risk of leaks if you're using pads.

Spoon or Side-by-Side: Sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent and a pillow between your legs can alleviate pressure on your lower back and improve circulation. This position is especially comfortable for those who have trouble sleeping because of cramps.

Modified Superman: For those who favour sleeping face down, prop a pillow or cushion under your hips to ease strain on your lower back. This variation can help minimize discomfort if you have breast tenderness during your time of the month.

Hug Your Pillow: Hugging a pillow or cuddling a soft stuffed animal can provide a sense of security and comfort, making it easier to relax and drift off to sleep.

Remember, the best position for you depends on your personal preferences and comfort. Experiment with these options to discover which one helps you sleep most peacefully during your period.


Can hormones make me toss and turn at night?

Hormone levels totally play a role when it comes to sleep quality. Fluctuating progesterone and oestrogen levels are not only responsible for your period, they’ll also likely make you more restless and less able to get a good night’s sleep. Why? The level of progesterone in your body drops before menstruation, and since this can influence your body temperature, it can also affect your circadian rhythms and how much ‘REM’ sleep you’re getting. Circadian rhythms are the physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.

For people with noticeable mood swings, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) or Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms, reducedmelatonin associated with these conditions can also make it difficult to sleep through the night. And then there’s the discomfort of menstrual cramps and other potential symptoms like nausea or an upset stomach. Throw in any anxieties about leaking and you have a recipe for tossing and turning.


Why am I tired all day?

You’re not imagining your low energy. Heavy periods can lead to low iron levels, which can contribute to fatigue, sleepiness and low moods during the day. That’s why it’s important to eat iron-rich foods like spinach, meat, fish and legumes during your period. Speak to your doctor or gynaecologist about iron supplements if your period is extremely heavy or you have chronic sleep problems.

Lil-Lets Talk Top Tip: “Iron occurs in both meat and certain vegetables (such as spinach and broccoli). Although the heme iron in meat is more easily absorbed than non-heme iron in veggies, foods such as nuts, legumes, seeds and dark green leafy vegetables are still considered to be good sources of iron.” - Megan


Why do I still leak on my period when I double up on underwear?

Stressing about spillage is no joke. If you’re a heavy bleeder, it’s even worse. To combat this, start with your period products: make sure that you’re using a tampon or pad that’s the right absorbency for you and can contain your flow. You might also be interested in trying out a menstrual cup that can hold fluid for up to 8 hours.


Our closing thoughts

Getting better sleep during your period is 100% possible! By choosing comfortable sleepwear, incorporating relaxation techniques, and using suitable period products, you can ensure uninterrupted slumber. Experimenting with various sleep positions can also make a significant difference in managing discomfort. With these tips, you'll be well-equipped to enjoy restful nights. Sweet dreams!

Want to know more? Join the Lil-Lets Talk community!

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Frequently asked questions

Is it normal to start periods at night?

Yes, it's normal for periods to start at any time, including at night. The timing of your first period can vary from person to person.

Why are my periods heavy at night?

Period flow can sometimes feel heavier at night due to the change in position. When lying down, gravity doesn't assist in blood flow as it does when you're upright.

Why do my periods stop at night?

Periods don't necessarily stop at night, but may feel lighter due to less movement and the absence of gravity's effects. It might seem as if your period has temporarily stopped, but it will probably resume when you're active again.

Why do my periods hurt more at night?

Pain and discomfort during your period can be influenced by factors like hormonal changes and muscle tension. A cosy sleep environment might make you more aware of the discomfort too.

Why does my period start at night?

The time that your period starts is influenced by hormonal changes in your body. It can start at any time, day or night, and can vary from cycle to cycle.

Why do I only get my period at night?

While it's less common, some individuals might experience very light spotting or the beginning of their period at night. The exact reason for this timing can vary and may be due to hormonal fluctuations or other factors.

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