Why do women suffer insomnia before periods?

August 13, 2020 3 mins read
Why do women suffer insomnia before periods?

A couple of days before your period is about to start, you may notice that you are not getting enough sleep. Insomnia before periods is more common than you think. In this article, we take a look at why you may suffer from period insomnia and explore 5 effective ways to help you get better sleep.

What causes insomnia before your period?

Estrogen and progesterone (plus period-related problems like cramps, bloating, headaches, heavy bleeding and pain) all contribute to a restless night. But, what really does cause period insomnia? Below are the most common sleep disruptors your period has on your sleep cycle:

A rise in body temperature

After ovulation, you will experience a rise in your progesterone levels which causes a spike in your body’s temperature. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, or “dream sleep,” which is an important part of your sleep cycle, is brought on when your body’s temperature is at its lowest. Any sudden interruptions to your body’s temperature can cause disruptions to your REM sleep and bring on period insomnia.

A drop in serotonin levels

As your progesterone levels drop, so do your serotonin levels. Serotonin which affects your mood also controls your cravings for high-sugar foods and carbohydrates. As your body tries to increase your serotonin and replenish energy, this may induce a restless night.

Period cramps

For many women, periods equal pain, whether that’s through cramps or generalized muscle pain. This discomfort can make it hard for you to relax and fall asleep. We also know that without an adequate amount of sleep, our moods can be affected and cause us to feel anxious or irritable.

Drop in iron and blood sugar levels

Your fluctuating hormones during PMS have a diverse impact on your ability to regulate your blood sugar and iron levels. Iron helps regulate your serotonin which manages your cravings and blood sugar levels. Any drops in these hormones tend to increase sugar cravings, which tells your body to search for energy replenishment and can disrupt your sleep cycle.

Drop in melatonin levels

Melatonin is the hormone that helps you to sleep better by preparing your body to feel tired naturally. Produced mainly when you’re asleep, a disruption in your sleep pattern caused by the effects of period insomnia can affect the production of melatonin.

period insomnia, girl and women doing yoga

How do you beat period insomnia?

These five lifestyle changes could help you beat period insomnia and improve your sleep quality:


Combat those cravings by boosting your serotonin levels by eating the correct foods. Keep your blood sugar levels happy throughout the night by introducing pineapples, eggs, bananas, oats, figs and mangoes into your daily diet during PMS.


Exercise helps to promote deep sleep stages as well as relax cramping stomach muscles. During exercise, your body temperature increases, releasing endorphins which make you feel good. As your body recovers, your temperature drops and your muscles relax, triggering your body to fall asleep.

Try supplements

Taking supplements to assist your body’s transition into PMS each month can help alleviate some discomforts caused by period insomnia. Taking a combination of magnesium and vitamin B-6 has been known to ease symptoms like depression, anxiety, insomnia, water retention, and breast tenderness during PMS.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol

Alcohol and caffeine can contribute to poor sleep. During your period, your liver is already hard at work trying to regulate your body’s temperature, without trying to process alcohol. Whereas the stimulating effects of caffeine too close to bedtime can interfere with your body’s ability to fall asleep.

Stick to a sleep schedule

Most of us don’t realise how pivotal sleep is to our health, particularly during our monthly cycles. Practicing regular, good sleep hygiene should be considered as important as our diet and exercise regimes to alleviate any stress that can contribute to period insomnia.

Try these natural remedies for insomnia that could help you get more restful sleep during your period.