How does the menstrual cycle affect sleep? How does the menstrual cycle affect sleep?

According to Ena Victoria Ramírez, a specialist in gynecology and obstetrics, the menstrual cycle is a natural process that causes physical and emotional changes throughout its different phases and can alter women’s daytime and nighttime activities. 

According to the National Sleep Foundation in the U.S., the menstrual cycle can affect women’s sleep processes due to the rise and fall of hormone levels in the body. “Estrogen (estradiol) increases rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is the state of sleep we are typically in when we dream. The progesterone hormone, which increases after ovulation (when an ovary releases an egg), can cause some women to feel more sleepy or fatigued. It is more likely, however, for poor sleep to occur at the beginning of a menstrual cycle, when the period begins,” the foundation states.

Premenstrual syndrome

In the days prior to menstruating, women may experience a series of symptoms that are known as premenstrual syndrome: changes in temperature, cramping and abdominal pain, bloating or irritability that can end up affecting sleep and cause women to wake up at night. In order to prevent this, the recommendation is to have healthy sleep hygiene, establish a sleep schedule, maintain a balanced diet and practice routines that eliminate daily stress.

During menstruation, 50% of women report experiencing bloating that interrupts their sleep.