Ever hear of Sleeping Cranky? That's me on my period. I can tell when my cycle is about to kick in when it's 8 p.m. and I'm already falling asleep on my living room couch. If you've experienced a similar scenario during or around that time of the month, chances are you're not unwell, just fatigued. So, do you sleep more on your period -- does everyone? It's all a matter of your individual anatomy.
Most general blanket statements can't really apply to periods, because every woman's menstrual cycle is all her own. Some women can do cartwheels despite bleeding, while others can barely make it out of bed. If a typical cycle leaves you feeling particularly lethargic, it's not abnormal. It's likely just your body's reaction to the sudden dip in hormones.
Michigan-based pediatrician Molly O'Shea told U by Kotex,
In the 10 days or so before your period, your body is geared up in the hopes that the egg you sent down the old fallopian tube met some sperm there and landed in a plush uterus ready to grow a baby. When your uterine lining isn't invaded by a fertilized egg, the hormones sustaining the environment aren't needed anymore and the hormone levels plummet. When this happens, your body goes from high alert to nothing hormonally and that shift causes other changes too and all of those changes are exhausting. Until your hormone levels increase again, you are really tired.
On the one hand, I know myself and, personally, I sleep like a rock every night of my cycle and quite frankly, I'm not mad about it. On the other, feeling fatigued on your period can be pretty damn inconvenient when you have things to get done or, you know, life to live. Luckily there are ways around this symptom, or at least a few steps to alleviate overwhelming exhaustion.
For example, if you feel super sleepy on your period, chances are your cravings aren't helping either.
Chocolate, bacon grilled cheese, greasy French fries, Oreos with peanut butter -- all the delicious junk you crave on your period could make feelings of fatigue even more intense.
Look, this isn't me being the bad guy, yanking away a spoonful of Ben and Jerry's before it reaches your lips. We all give into our cravings when that time of the month comes around. But there's treating yourself, and then there's overdoing it. Heavy carbs and greasy foods are heavenly at first, but if you go a little overboard, your body is basically looking at a one-way ticket to problems like constipation and serious sleepiness.
Substituting the sweet stuff with whole foods like leafy greens and protein sources will leave you feeling a little more energized and a lot less likely to crash come 5 p.m.
Depending on how tired you are, this could also be a sign of anemia.
There's bleeding a lot, and then there's bleeding a lot. Some women naturally experience a heavier flow, while others barely bleed throughout their cycle. Regardless of whether your flow is too heavy or too light, either can be a potential sign of an issue.
For those who don't know, anemia is an iron deficiency in which a lack of red cells in the blood causes you to feel fatigued and even physically weak at times. If you're experiencing similar symptoms along with very heavy and prolonged periods, it's highly suggested you seek medical attention.
On the flip side, some women actually have a harder time sleeping during their period.
So there are people like me, who sleep soundly from start to finish on their cycle, and then there are a handful of poor, unfortunate souls whose periods keep them tossing and turning at night.
Pre-menstrual, mid-menstrual, even lingering post-menstrual symptoms can make the mere act of living feel impossible at times, especially when you're up in the middle of the night because of cramps, bloating, and anxiety. As frustrating and uncomfortable as it is, there are ways to combat a literally restless period.
The National Sleep Organization suggests women on their periods keep room temperatures close to the body's core temperature -- anywhere between 60 and 67 degrees -- for optimal comfort. Additionally, turning in around the same time every night should regulate your sleeping patterns, allowing your body time to prepare for rest.
Another fool-proof method to fight off restless nights is to engage in physical activity.
I definitely heard nails on a chalkboard just now.
I know, I know. No one's asking you to run a marathon or even go all the way to an actual gym; do some simple weight training and stretches, squeeze in a tiny bit of light cardio, do whatever you need to for you to body to feel tired.