Many women experience sleep disturbances at various points in their menstrual cycle. Here’s how your period may affect your sleep, and what to do about it.
Many of us experience poor-quality sleep from time to time. And though statistics vary, studies consistently show that women are more affected than men. One review paper, from 2006, found that women are at 40% greater risk of insomnia.
There are a few possible reasons for this gender discrepancy, but a key culprit is hormonal fluctuations. Insomnia is more common in women during pregnancy and perimenopause, and at certain points of the menstrual cycle. According to the National Sleep Foundation in the USA, 30% of women report disturbed sleep during their period, along with 23% the week beforehand.
“All women are different – some might find that their quality of sleep is affected by their menstrual cycle, whereas others will not,” says Sara Matthews, consultant gynaecologist at the Portland Hospital (part of HCA Healthcare UK). “Our sleep pattern is regulated by our own circadian rhythm, and that is influenced by fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone throughout the menstrual cycle.”
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