For some, periods are nothing more than a couple of days of slight discomfort, but for those of us who struggle with painful, long, heavy periods, even sleeping can be disturbed during that week. From menstrual cramps and nausea to fear of blood stains on the bed linen and the mattress, there are ways to make this week and those nights slightly more bearable.
- Have a Light, Nutritious Dinner
- Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine, Greasy and Salty Food Before Bed
- Use the Heating Pad for Cramps
- Take an Evening Walk
- Take a Warm Shower or Bath
- Invest in Good Quality Bedding
- Wear Comfortable Underwear and Pajamas
- Make Yourself a Cup (or a Pot) of Tea for the Night
- Meditate or Read a Book (Get off That Screen)
- Sleep in a Fetal Position
Have a Light, Nutritious Dinner
Eating some foods may alleviate period-related symptoms such as cramps, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, and mood swings and thus make your period more tolerable. Those foods include fruit, leafy green vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts, yogurt, and ginger. Here are three healthy and easy recipe ideas for those (or any given) days. And the good news? You can indulge into dark chocolate, as it happens to be a rich source of magnesium – that could help relax muscles in your uterus.
Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine, Greasy and Salty Food Before Bed
First rule of thumb on your period is to avoid alcohol – as it can dehydrate you and cause headaches and bloating, as well as worsen the symptoms of diarrhea and nausea. Thanks to the change in hormones before and during your period, you’re more likely to retain salt. Both caffeine and salt can cause bloating, so try to avoid coffee (if you can!) and excessively salty food. Greasy food will feel heavy on your stomach, could aggravate the cramps, and overall make you feel worse (hence, stick to the healthy dinners mentioned above).
Use the Heating Pad for Cramps
Many women find the heating pads lightly pressed against the lower abdomen or back to relieve menstrual cramps and back pain. The soothing warmth makes it easier for you to relax and fall asleep, and the good news is that even if you don’t have a heating pad at hand, you can make a simple DIY one with rice – just fill any cotton bag with rice and microwave it!
Take an Evening Walk
For those of us who have cramps and backaches during our period, the first instinct is to curl up in a fetal position under a blanket and spend the evening occasionally reaching out for a cup of tea or a remote control. However, light exercises such as walking may help to decrease those symptoms, and fresh air might help to clear the head before the night’s sleep.
Take a Warm Shower or Bath
Indulge into a warm shower or bath – the warmth may reduce the cramps and help you relax before bed. Make it a ritual – add a drop of essential oil to your bath (lavender, bergamot, and chamomile all have soothing properties) and put your favorite body cream or oil afterwards. Nothing beats that clean and fresh feeling after pampering yourself on your period.
Invest in Good Quality Bedding
Natural fibers such as linen are temperature-regulating, making you feel warm in winter and cool in summer – and they absorb moisture without feeling damp. Linen sheets are also soft, cozy and have a luxurious feel, and on our periods, we need all the coziness we can get (as well as warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer).
Wear Comfortable Underwear and Pajamas
The last thing you’d want on those nights is to feel uncomfortable in your underwear – synthetic fibers and tight-fitting garments might cause sweating and discomfort. Look for natural fibers such as cotton and bamboo (there are companies producing good-quality menstrual underwear, too) and loose fitting underwear and pajamas.
Make Yourself a Cup (or a Pot) of Tea for the Night
Drinking enough water is essential always, let alone on your period, as it helps to reduce headache and back pain. Brew yourself a pot of herbal tea and leave it on your nightstand should you wake up in the middle of the night – it’s a comforting alternative to water, and herbs can have beneficial effects. Try chamomile for its calming effects, peppermint tea to relieve nausea and stomach pain, or ginger to reduce menstrual pain.
Meditate or Read a Book (Get off That Screen)
Try putting the phone down an hour before bed, as looking at the screen before bed can lead to poor sleep. Try meditating instead to increase blood flow and to shift your body and mind into a relaxing mode. Reading a book is also a good alternative to scrolling – learning something new or simply engaging in an interesting story will make you feel better (and more accomplished) right before falling asleep.
Sleep in a Fetal Position
Easier said than done, but if you fear blood stains on the bed linen and mattress, try sleeping on your side in a fetal position. Not only will it make the period leaks on the bed linen less likely, but it can also help to relieve menstrual pain by reducing pressure on the abdomen.
What about you? Do you have any true and tested tips on how to navigate period discomfort, day-long or night-long? Let us know in the comments below!