12 Ways to Sleep Better on your Period
Stress, pain, inflammation and various symptoms of PMS can deeply affect your ability to sleep. Yet, sleep is so important in allowing our bodies to heal and recalibrate for the coming day. Periods, especially painful ones, can make it hard to sleep, but here are a few things you can do to help.
- Avoid eating before bed, especially salty foods or those high in sugar. If you need a treat, try berries or a little dark chocolate which are high in antioxidants, iron, and magnesium respectively, and can curb your sweet cravings without the sugar spike. Salty and sugary foods can increase pain and bloating.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can heighten anxiety and other symptoms of PMS and dysmenorrhea. It can also have an effect on you for hours after you consume it. Limit coffee to mornings and opt for tea in the afternoon and evenings.
- Limit screen time. The blue light from our screen confuses our body’s natural circadian rhythm which is necessary to produce the melatonin you need to sleep. Try to turn off your phone at least 30 minutes to an hour before going to sleep. This can also decrease anxiety and any racing thoughts.
- Create space and time to wind down by establishing or expanding your sleep ritual during your period (check out our rituals blog). Soak in a bath, make some tea and curl up with a book or journal.
- Light massage in areas of tension can help the muscles to relax and relieve cramping. Menthol in particular is a cooling natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. (try the Holi-Cramp Relief Cream)
- Essential oils like peppermint, lavender and rose are all supportive in calming the nervous system, creating a sense of calm and ease, and even relieving cramping.
- Heating pads are an excellent way to relax muscles, increase blood flow, and reduce the pain of period cramps
- Lower the thermostat below 70 degrees. It is proven that we sleep better in cooler temperatures, and this can balance out any increase in body temperature you may experience while sleeping.
- Journal. Period related anxiety can keep you up at night. Taking the time to write out all your racing thoughts can be immensely helpful in quieting your mind.
- Restorative or yin yoga, or light stretching can relieve cramping and muscle tension (check out our blog).
- Breathwork is an impactful way to turn off your sympathetic nervous system, the stress and fight or flight response, and turn on your parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest (check out our blog for breathwork inspiration).
- Guided meditation. If you’re new to meditation or have trouble practicing it, guided meditations in the background while you rest can help you move from your hyperactive, conscious mind (beta) down to a more relaxed mind (theta) and eventually to sleep (delta)