Imagine this: It’s been a long day, and your period has arrived, with no break at your work and with no food to savour your cravings, you made it home to get some sleep. But, the moment you hit the bed, you just can’t get comfortable enough to sleep. What is it about periods that makes it so hard to sleep and find the right sleeping position?
Women across the globe experience worse sleep during and just before getting their period for many reasons, but one of the main ones is cramps and abdominal pain. Other symptoms like headaches, tender breasts, nausea, diarrhoea, anxiety, and more can also keep one awake at night. However, it’s not just pain and other physical symptoms that can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. Hormone changes that happen during menstruation can also influence the quality and quantity of a menstruator’s sleep.
Let’s take a look at some of the best sleeping positions for period pain, including how and why they can help give you much-needed relief so you can sleep soundly during your period.
The foetal position
While there is no research on the topic, some health professionals recommend sleeping in a foetal position to reduce menstrual cramps.The foetal position is similar to a foetus in the womb, with you laying on your side with your knees tucked into your chest.
The reasoning behind this seems to be that lying on your side reduces pressure on the abdominal muscles which could cause extra pain and cramping during your period.
The recovery position
The recovery position is originally used to help get more oxygen into the airways. While it sounds a bit extreme for dealing with your period pains, some women do experience pain that affects their breathing too!
This position of lying on your side with the bottom leg straight and the top leg bent towards your belly can provide the same abdominal release as the foetal position, and increase your breathing capacity, allowing you to take in more oxygen which may in turn help you sleep.
Lying on your back
Lying on your back places minimal pressure on the uterus, but for some women, it increases leakage. If you prefer lying on your back normally, but just can’t get comfortable during your period, try placing a pillow or even a rolled-up towel, underneath your knees.
What can I do if lying on my side is uncomfortable?
Ultimately the best way to find a sleeping position to ease your pain is by listening to your own body. If you find yourself tossing and turning during your period, stay in a position that makes you feel uncomfortable for a few seconds longer and see where your body is calling out for attention.
Try placing a pillow behind your back and another one between your legs. Another option is using the recovery position mentioned above, with a pillow under the bent leg.
What sleeping position is best for period pain?
Sleeping in the foetal position can help ease cramps and period pain, by reducing pressure on the abdominal muscles. Sleeping on your back or your side, such as in the recovery position can also be helpful. However, sleeping on your stomach is not recommended.
Worst sleeping position for period pain
Lying on the stomach usually isn’t recommended during your period as the excess pressure on the abdomen could potentially cause the uterus to contract more, expelling your uterine lining faster, and resulting in a heavier bleed that night.
When it comes to being comfortable, it’s all about knowing what your body needs. Everyone deserves to have access to gentle and comfortable products, for a period to #GoWithYourFlow.
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