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How to handle your period at night

Night pads can help you sleep better. Period.

Whether you’re tossing and turning or lying in the foetal position, chances are your sleep is affected when you’re on your period.

In this article, we answer your period-at-night questions, discuss how to beat nighttime leaks and share top conversations from the Lil-Lets Talk community. Since there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have quality shut-eye. Even when you’re menstruating.

6 of Your Most Urgent Period at Night Questions, Answered

Why don’t I sleep well when I’m on my period?

If you have cramps, sore breasts, are bleeding and feeling off-colour, it’s no wonder you’re not having the best sleep of your life. While abdominal and back pain is often associated with your period, some people also experience additional aches and pains in their legs, too. Remember to drink plenty of water during the day to prevent dehydration caused by fluid loss, and try some light stretching or yoga before bedtime, which may ease discomfort caused by your period.

Can hormones make me toss and turn at night?

Totally! 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.


The level of progesterone in your body drops before your period, and since this can influence your body temperature, it can also affect how much ‘REM’ sleep you’re getting. For people with noticeable PMS symptoms, less melatonin can also make it difficult to sleep through the night. And then there’s the discomfort of menstrual cramping or other symptoms you usually experience, like nausea or an upset stomach. Throw in any anxieties about leaking and you have a recipe for tossing and turning.

I’m tired all day but the instant I actually want to sleep, I can’t.

You’re not imagining your low energy: heavy bleeding can lead to low iron levels, which can contribute to fatigue and low moods during the day, and conversely, overtiredness can then affect the quality of your sleep at night. That’s why it’s important to eat iron-rich foods like spinach, meat, fish and legumes during your period. Speak to your doctor about iron supplements if your period is extremely heavy.

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

I have really bad period pain and often wake up two to three times a night. Any tips?

Heat is our number one go-to. Warm up a hot water bottle (or two) and sleep with it behind your back or at your tummy, or try heat patches (they’re adhesive and warm up pretty quickly).

If you’re into natural remedies for period pain, try sipping on herbal teas like chamomile, ginger and rooibos before bed: their anti-inflammatory properties may provide relief from cramping. If this doesn’t help, you can try over-the-counter medication , a hot water bottle or heat patches and a nutrient-dense meal for supper.

Some people swear by period sex (the endorphins and oxytocin your body releases during intercourse can help ease the pain) and others by getting enough exercise during the day (try walking, light cardio or aerobic exercises).

If your pain doesn’t get any better, it may be time to chat to your doctor about investigating the cause of your severe cramping.

I double up on underwear and wear tights for extra protection. But I still leak. What can I do?

Stressing about spillage is no joke. If you’re a heavy bleeder, it’s even worse. To combat this, start with your sanitary products: make sure that you’re using a tampon or pad that’s the right absorbency for you and can contain your flow. If you tend to soak through pads or tampons during the night, you might want to try out our new SmartFit™ Maxi Thick Night pad, the longest pad in South Africa**.

This pad is specially designed to prevent night spills, thanks to its extra length, wings and wide-shaped back. It’s also the most absorbent pad in our range, so you can worry less and sleep more.

But I should still lie on a towel and avoid sleeping on my back, right?

You should always do whatever makes you comfortable, but trust us, the new Maxi Night Pad is designed to offer you extra protection against heavy bleeding and night time movement. The pad’s shape means it hugs you more at the back, which is where a lot of menstruators tend to leak from, and it helps to prevent that getting-out-of-bed spillage (we’ve all been there).

Wearing a secure and comfortable pad will give you the confidence to sleep through without worrying about leaking. Speaking of comfort, its soft material and wider-shaped back also prevents chafing or skin irritation that some products may cause from being worn all night.

We’re here to end the period stigma and the nightmare of leaks. Trust us, the brand-new Lil-Lets Maxi Night pad is perfect for sleepers who wriggle and those who tend to soak through their pads quite quickly. So, you can starfish, snore and even hit snooze.

A Virtual Sleepover

Join Candice, Bokang & Nothando, who share some of their tactics and tricks to avoid period leaks and they also play a fun game of Would You Rather with some period leaking horror stories!

Have another question about periods at night?

Join the Lil-Lets Talk community! Sign up here.


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