Insomnia & PMS: Why PMS Can Give You Insomnia
You’ve probably been woken up in the night many times by the beginning of your period—whether it’s from the pain of cramps or tender breasts, or a flash of anxiety, or another PMS or PMDD symptom that rouses you out of your sleep. While premenstrual insomnia is not the most common PMS symptom, it can be an unfortunate normal part of PMS and PMDD. During your menstrual cycle, and especially before your period, your sleep pattern is definitely influenced by your estrogen and progesterone levels.
This means that if, a few nights or even weeks before your period starts, you toss and turn, wake in the night periodically, or are unable to sleep at all, then you have company: a substantial portion of women experience sleep disturbance associated with their cycle, and most women with PMS or PMDD do find that their symptoms effect their sleep.
How PMS Insomnia Affects You
Insomnia is stressful and frustrating enough, even without all the other possible symptoms of PMS on top of it. It increases your stress level, so insomnia could well increase the intensity of your PMS and PMDD symptoms, making you feel overwhelmed, depressed or unreasonably angry; as well as contributing to fatigue and tiredness, and poor concentration. This can have a negative impact on your work performance, your efficiency at home, and your safety, whether at work or in your home, or even while driving. This is yet another reason why PMS and PMDD have a real, concrete effect on your health, not to mention the health of those around you. Unfortunately, since insomnia often not recognized as a symptom caused by PMS, you may not realize the connection between your hormones and your sleeping difficulties.
Natural Solutions For Premenstrual Sleeplessness
You can take control of your sleep, naturally, by applying some simple principles and remedies:
- Exercise in order to burn off excess energy and stress that keeps you up at night. If you find it’s hard to settle down after a work out late in the day, try to do your exercise before early afternoon.
- Unwind in the evening, especially for the hour or so before you go to sleep. Meditation, quiet breathing, and prayer may help you enter a calmer frame of mind.
- Keep your bedroom dark. Any source of light in your bedroom can be enough to interfere with your sleep.
- Stay cool. Your body cools down at night, which is a part of the natural sleep cycle. Too many covers, or having the heat set too high, can make it difficult for your body to enter deep sleep. Many people find the coolness and fresh air of a slightly open window is a big help. A fan that moves air around can work too, and the steady hum of the fan can drown out the sound of other noises that might disturb you.
- Go outside to get exposure to sunlight during the day. This may help keep your body clock properly attuned to the daylight cycle, and help you feel ready for sleep after the sun has gone down.
- Nix the caffeine: Even decaf coffee and tea can have stimulating effects, along with regular coffee and tea, of course. And chocolate—especially dark chocolate—can have enough stimulant effect to disturb the sleep of a sensitive person, especially if you eat the chocolate late in the day. So, if you don’t discontinue all caffeine, at least avoid it after 1 PM, or even 11 AM if you’re particularly sensitive.
- Eat lightly: Don’t eat at all for the last couple of hours before sleep, and, if you do, eat lightly. When you’re asleep, your digestive system wants to rest for the night, too, and late night eating will make your sleep feel less restful.
- Take a neutral bath. The most relaxing possible bath is actually the exact same same temperature as skin, and is called a neutral bath. Neutral baths are deeply comforting (once you get used to the idea of a bath somewhat cooler than normal) as it is a little like being in the womb. Hot baths, on the other hand, can actually be stimulating to your nervous system. A neutral bath should feel neutral—neither hot nor cold—and you can stay in it for a long time.
- Soothing lavender: Sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow—lavender can soothe and relieve tension, calming your nerves so you can sleep peacefully.
- Keep a record: Try keeping a sleep journal, and record when you have trouble sleeping. This will help you determine if your hormones or something else are to blame, or if perhaps there is some pattern beyond just PMS or PMDD that is disrupting your sleep cycle.
- Natural herbal relief: Our all-natural PMS Comfort Herbal Relief formula is designed to help balance your system and your cycle, which can help relieve physical and emotional PMS symptoms, including insomnia.
The best approach to any PMS and PMDD symptom is a holistic one that addresses the underlying causes, including a hormone-balancing diet, stress management; and natural supplements that help balance your cycle. These and other natural approaches to PMS can help with sleep and other premenstrual symptoms.
Real, Natural Relief—So You Can Feel Great All Month Long
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Principal Author: Daniel J. Heller, N.D.
Last Modified: April 3, 2014