You do love a good night’s sleep, don’t you? But, it might not be every day that you sleep deeply all through the night and wake up feeling energised. And, is it possible that your disturbed sleep pattern could be because of your hormonal or menstrual cycle?
That could be the truth. Women have a complex body mechanism. Many of your daily physiological functions are directly and indirectly related to your body cycle, and sleep is definitely one of them. Many women complain about insomnia or poor sleep quality as they approach ovulation, and periods thereafter. So, if you have been experiencing the same, this article may interest you. Here we have tried to explain some of the body changes that happen during your hormonal cycle and how they affect your quality of sleep.
Ovulation – Changes In The Body And Irregular Sleep
While ovulation is a definite and a positive marker in terms of conception, it does have some side-effects of its own. Firstly, it is important to know when you are ovulating and then see if the phase has any negative impact on your sleep cycle. The most common markers of ovulation are:
- Increase in cervical mucus
- Increased libido
- Sensitivity and fullness in the breasts and in the genital area
- Cramps and aches when the egg is released
- Clear egg-white like discharge
- Sudden bouts of energy and experiencing mood swings
- Spotting or nausea in rare cases
While these were some commonly experienced physiological signs, the hormonal activities during the phase of ovulation are also an important consideration. During ovulation, there is a rise in the level of the progesterone hormone in your body and a decrease in cortisol and melatonin levels. While melatonin helps to induce sleep, cortisol (or the stress hormone) keeps your mind alert and awake. If there is an imbalance in the levels of these hormones, it can cause restlessness and sleep deprivation. In advanced cases of insomnia, melatonin therapies have been found helpful (1). Also, the fluctuation and increase in your body’s basal temperature may add to the problem. In fact, even when your periods are due, or you are experiencing PMS (or Pre-Menstrual Syndrome), you may not get enough sleep (2).
So, does it all change while you get your period?
Periods: Changes In The Body And Sleep Disturbances
Once you are on your period, there is no assurance that you will have a sound sleep or that you will wake up refreshed. During your menses, there is a dip in the oestrogen as well as the progesterone levels in your body. Low oestrogen (the excitatory hormone) results in fatigue and low progesterone (the calming hormone) causes restlessness. So even if you are feeling very tired, you could have difficulty falling asleep, or may not wake up feeling refreshed and energised (3). The physical discomfort like heavy flow or cramps are also some factors that may prevent you from sleeping well.
In case, you suffer from menstrual insomnia, click the link for some cool sleeping tips (4).
Though the body somewhat settles down after a period cycle is over, a rise in oestrogen will make you a bit too active and alert to have a good night’s sleep.
These were some hormonal and physiological changes in your reproductive cycle and the way they affect your sleep. Each body is different and so are its sleeping habits. In general, it is a good idea to observe how your body reacts to ovulation and menstruation and modify your lifestyle and schedule accordingly so that you get enough rest and sleep. This, in turn, will help your hormones to function better. However, if you face chronic insomnia during ovulation or menstruation, it is better to consult a doctor.