A consistent bedtime routine is essential for getting quality sleep—and it’s even more crucial during your period, a time when 67 percent of women experience disturbed slumber. Try these tactics to ensure great shut-eye during that time of the month.
Stop Sipping Early
Drinking lots of water during the day can help to ease menstrual bloat, but chugging liquids too close to bed can result in bathroom runs later in the night. It’s better to slow down your intake a couple of hours before bed.
Take a Warm Bath
Soaking in a tub can improve menstrual sleep in two ways. First, warm water relaxes muscles, which eases cramps that can keep you awake. Second, a heated bath causes your body temperature to rise temporarily and then drop when you step out of the tub, which tells your brain that it’s time for sleep.
Dress in Cool Nightwear
When you have your period, your temperature can rise, causing night sweats and discomfort. Be sure to dress appropriately when you’re getting ready to hit the sack. Moisture-wicking fabrics are ideal, since they’ll help your body regulate its temperature, even if you’re perspiring. Bamboo nightclothes and natural silks are good options, too.
Pick Painkillers Wisely
Cramps, breast tenderness, and muscle aches are common menstrual hassles that can hinder your sleep. It’s fine to take a painkiller before bed as insurance against sleep disturbances, but be sure to avoid those that contain caffeine. Many painkillers that target PMS symptoms include the substance, which is a diuretic (it flushes out extra water to diminish bloat), so it may make you urinate in the middle of the night. Plus, due to caffeine’s stimulating effects, it’s bound to energize you before bed, rather than relax you. Consider ibuprofen or acetaminophen, neither of which contains caffeine.
Wind down Without Screens
Once you’ve prepped for bed, resist the urge to play with your smartphone or tablet, and consider turning off the TV. The type of light emitted by these devices can interfere with sleep-inducing melatonin production. Instead, read a few chapters of a book, write in a journal, or listen to some soothing music.