How Long Can You Actually Wear A Tampon For?

From finding the right size, to wearing one in your sleep.


When we first get our periods we generally start using pads first, and over time some of us may go on to use other period products.

Some might use period underwear or menstrual cups but many move on to tampons. But with the switch to tampons often comes a lot of confusion and questions.

We might worry about how exactly to wear them (make sure they’re far enough up there!) or whether they’ll get stuck (they won’t) or whether Toxic Shock Syndrome is a real threat (You can read more about that here).

One of the biggest questions people have about tampons is how long can you wear one for before needing to change it.

How Long Can I Wear A Tampon For? 

The simple answer is 8 hours.

This doesn’t mean that you should always wear one for a full 8 hours, and if ever you feel like it’s uncomfortable, or heavy, you can change it as often as you like.

It’s important to choose a tampon with the right absorbency for your period. This is usually written on the box of tampons and can range from light to ultra.

Image via Lil-Lets

Many people will use ‘regular’ but they may find over time that a different absorbency may suit them better. For example, if your tampon feels very noticeable and is uncomfortable to change, it might be best to go down a size. But if your tampon leaks, and doesn’t feel like it fits right, it’s probably time to go up a size so it can absorb all the flood from your flow. The tampon size is entirely based on your flow and how much you bleed during your period, some people have light flows while other people may have heavier ones meaning they need larger tampons which may need to be changed more often.

Can I Sleep With A Tampon In? 

Some people may tell you that you can’t wear tampons at night, but actually, it’s perfectly okay. Tampons don’t know where it’s day or night so the time that you’re wearing it isn’t a problem. However, you do need to ensure it only stays in for 8 hours. So if you’re thinking about wearing tampons at night, have a think about what time you’re getting up at in the morning. If, for example, you’re going to bed at 11pm and you’re getting up at 7am for school, then it’s perfectly okay to wear it. If it’s the weekend, and you head to bed around 11 or 12, but don’t plan on waking up before 8am, it’s best not to use a tampon. Instead, you can use a pad that is made especially for overnight which is usually bigger and wider to catch any leaks.

For more information on PMS, period products and puberty information, you can check out our Ask Shelley series here.