There are few things in this life worse than being kept awake with period pains. Being woken up to cramps in the middle of the night and tossing and turning until you can eventually get another hour or two’s sleep isn’t something people who menstruate should have to just put up with.
The National Sleep Foundation has reported that menstruating humans have reported getting a bad night’s sleep both during and prior to menstruation for multiple reasons. One of the most obvious reasons for that is cramps, but it isn’t the only thing that makes catching some ZZZ’s difficult during that time of the month. Headaches, tender/painful breasts, nausea, diarrhea, and increased levels of anxiety all contribute to making it difficult to sleep.
For myself, even as an adult who has been menstruating for over 10 years, I still lose nights full of sleep to period cramps, making it near to impossible to function as normal the next day. But, while I can’t stop the pain itself, I have learned through experience that there are plenty of things I can do to make it more bearable, and sleeping in certain positions during the night is usually at the top of my list.
So let’s take a look at some of those positions, and why they might help you.
This one might be a bit difficult to hold all night, but stretching your body in this way for a few minutes before you go back to sleep can help to relieve pain immensely. Popular in yoga, the child’s pose involves putting your head on your mattress with your knees curled beneath you. This will release pain from your lower back, which is a common symptom of menstruation, and ultimately relieve cramps.
On Your Back
Lying flat on your back can also help to relieve back pain, and opens up the abdomen area for you to apply heat to or massage if you need to. If you have an electric blanket or heat pack this will also be the perfect position for heat to penetrate and radiate throughout your body. Heat = less pain.
This position will probably feel the most natural to you for when you have your period. Curling up into a ball on your side takes the pressure off your abdominal muscles and with less strain, there should also be less cramping. It has also been reported that this position can help prevent leakages too, making it a win-win overall!
So, the next time you jolt awake in the middle of the night with that dreaded monthly visitor, just remember the above advice and a good night’s sleep is sure to follow.