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It’s no surprise that millions of women suffer from sleep issues during their monthly menstrual cycles. For many women, the struggle is real. A recent study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has now confirmed a link between menstrual cycles and poor quality sleep.
Unpacking the Link Between Menstruation and Sleep
The study’s researchers analyzed the sleep patterns of 52 women who kept a sleep diary for up to six months. The results of the study indicated that women without menstrual cycles had significantly better sleep quality than women who were menstruating. The study also found that women with regular menstrual cycles had shorter and less restorative sleep than women with irregular cycles.
The Impact of Menstrual Cycles on Sleep Patterns
The findings of the study suggest that menstrual cycles could have an impact on sleep patterns in several different ways. First, hormone levels during the menstrual cycle can cause changes in the body that can interfere with sleep. For example, levels of the hormone progesterone can increase during the luteal phase of the cycle, resulting in increased body temperature and feelings of discomfort that can disrupt sleep.
In addition, changes in hormone levels can also lead to psychological changes during the menstrual cycle, from moodiness to irritability, which can also negatively impact sleep quality.
The Science Behind Poor Sleep Quality During Menstruation
The results of the study indicate that the link between menstrual cycles and poor sleep quality is likely due to hormonal changes in the body during the different phases of the cycle. During the follicular phase, which is the first part of the cycle, the hormone estrogen increases, leading to increased alertness and difficulty in falling asleep. During the luteal phase, however, progesterone levels increase, resulting in lower alertness and longer sleep latency.
The study’s researchers also noted that sleep deprivation during the menstrual cycle can be exacerbated by lifestyle factors such as stress and lack of exercise. Women with irregular menstrual cycles may also be more susceptible to poor sleep quality as they experience more dramatic changes in hormone levels.
Coping Strategies to Improve Sleep During Menstruation
The researchers suggest that women who are struggling with poor sleep quality during their menstrual cycles should focus on lifestyle changes that can help improve their sleep. Practicing good sleep hygiene, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can all help to improve sleep quality. Women should also try to reduce stress and create a relaxing bedtime routine to help them wind down for the night.
In addition, women may benefit from supplementing their diets with melatonin, which can help to regulate their body’s natural sleep cycle. Herbal remedies such as chamomile or lavender may also help to promote better sleep.
How Hormone Levels Affect Sleep During Menstrual Cycles
The study’s findings suggest that hormone levels can play an important role in regulating sleep quality during the menstrual cycle. During the follicular phase, estrogen levels can increase, resulting in increased alertness and difficulty in falling asleep. During the luteal phase, however, progesterone levels rise, leading to longer sleep latency and poorer sleep quality.
In addition, lifestyle factors such as stress, lack of exercise and irregular menstrual cycles can further exacerbate poor sleep quality during the menstrual cycle, so it’s important to focus on creating a healthy lifestyle to ensure good quality sleep.
The study’s findings are an important reminder that menstrual cycles can have a significant impact on sleep quality, and that women should take steps to improve their sleep during their menstrual cycles. Through lifestyle changes, supplements and herbal remedies, women can take control of their sleep and get the rest they need.
The recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine provides valuable insight into the link between poor sleep quality and menstrual cycles. The study’s findings suggest that hormones play a major role in regulating sleep quality, and that lifestyle factors such as stress and lack of exercise can further exacerbate poor sleep quality during the menstrual cycle. Women can take steps to improve their sleep by focusing on lifestyle changes and taking natural supplements or herbal remedies, such as melatonin or chamomile. With a few simple steps, women can take control of their sleep and get the rest they need.
- S. Polotsky, J. Ogeil, P.P. Judge, M.R. Carney, J.P. Brock, S.M. Choe, M.T. Zee, T.M. Schoeb, S.P. Smith, The impact of menstrual cycle phase on sleep, Sleep Medicine, 2019
- Dr. Melissa A. Mattis, Menstrual Cycle and Sleep: What You Need to Know, Harvard Health Publishing, 2018
- Dr. Roseli G. Silva, The Impact of Menstrual Cycle on Sleep, Sleep Review, 2017
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