We Need To Start Talking About Periods And Sleep Loss

Anyone who’s ever had periods knows the inconvenience – and often pain – of menstruation. But it’s not just during the day that periods can be a problem. They also impact our nights, from cramps that keep us awake to leaks that force us up and out of bed to change products and sometimes our bedding, too.

Midwife Sarah Toler, science content lead at the period app Clue, says the link between our sleep and menstrual cycles is an under-researched topic, but that there is a close relationship between the two. “One study found that people who consider their menstrual bleeding heavy had shorter sleep duration and sleep quality that was less than ideal,” she says. “Heavier bleeding was also associated with fatigue, stress, and depression.”

Toler is no stranger to losing sleep during her own period, she adds. “For me, the lack of sleep is mostly due to period cramps that always seem to sneak up in the early morning hours. If you’re bleeding heavily during the night, you’re going to wake up just from the moisture. Then you have a mess to clean up and once you get back into bed to sleep, your whole night is thrown off.”

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