Guest post by Hollie Jones
Photo by Tracey Hocking
Whether it’s bad cramps, a heavy flow, or leak worries that are keeping you up, getting a good night’s sleep when you’re on your period can be tricky.
Many women find that their sleeping pattern is disrupted during menstruation, and they struggle to get comfortable in bed. Even more annoying is waking up after a restless night to find yet another stain on your bedsheets.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can get a better night’s sleep and beat your period: read on to find out how to sleep comfortably on your period and avoid leaks with our top tips.
Pick the right period products
Picking the right products for sleeping on your period can be challenging.
Tampons are a good option, but you’re only supposed to wear them for up to eight hours, so if you sleep for any longer than that, you’re going to need to find a different nighttime solution. Leaving them in for too long can lead to risk of infections and even TSS (toxic shock syndrome, which can be life-threatening). Plus, if you’ve got a particularly heavy flow, you might leak.
Pads are preferred by many women. Longer overnight pads are winged, absorb more, and can provide better protection in bed. However, they can shift as you move around while you’re sleeping, which means they’re not totally leakproof and don’t always provide you with the coverage you need.
Menstrual cups are a great option for sleeping — they can be worn for up to 12 hours (depending on how heavy your flow is), they’re super comfortable, and assuming yours fits well don’t really leak while you’re using one.
Double up with period underwear
If you’re paranoid about leaking despite your choice of period products, why not double up with a pair of period panties?
Period underwear is a great option if you’re suffering from a particularly heavy flow or worried about staying round someone’s house and leaving an embarrassing stain on their bedsheets — you can pair them with pads or menstrual cups to avoid any leaking disasters.
Period underwear is skyrocketing in popularity, and there are many different period underwear brands to choose from — check out this handy blog post to get an idea of your options.
Pretty much all period panties do the same thing: they look and feel like normal underwear, but they contain a special built-in pantyliner layer that can absorb 2 tampons-worth of blood and keep you leak-free. They are also made from breathable anti-wicking fabric, which keeps you feeling dry and comfortable during the night.
So if you’re worried about leaking, invest in period panties and you’ll be able to sleep stress-free and keep your sheets clean.
Cuddle up to a hot water bottle
Sleeping comfortably on your period can be difficult when you’re suffering from the worst cramps known to women and it feels like your uterus is about to fall out.
Luckily, there are some great period hacks out there that can help with cramping and period pain. And one of the best? The humble hot water bottle.
Snuggling up to a hot water bottle can make everything better and give you a soothing, cramp-free night’s sleep. The heat from the hot water bottle boosts your circulation, which gets some much-needed blood flow to your muscles and stops them from cramping up.
The heat pressed against your tummy also relaxes the muscles of your uterus, which is contracting, causing those painful cramps.
It’s not just a hot water bottle that will work either: heat pads and warm flannels can also help with aches and pains. And drinking something warm and comforting like a herbal tea will also relax your muscles internally — chamomile tea, in particular, is a natural treatment for menstrual cramps and can promote restful sleep.
Sleep in the fetal position
The position you sleep in when you’re menstruating can make a huge difference to how good a night’s sleep you get, and can even affect the rate of your flow and whether you leak or not.
If you’re prone to leaking at night and feel like your flow is heavier, then it could be because of how you sleep. Sleeping on your stomach is a position to avoid while you’re on your period; lying on your front adds more pressure on your uterus and causes a heavier flow, which increases your chances of leaking.
And if you want to sleep comfortably on your period, then going fetal (curling up on your side with your legs tucked up into your body) will help.
This is because the fetal position takes the pressure off your abdominal muscles, which reduces tension in your abdomen and helps to alleviate painful period cramps.
Want more good news? Sleeping in the fetal position with your legs pressed together can also slow down your flow and prevent leakages. So if you want to stay comfortable and avoid leaks at night, going fetal is the answer.
Period leaks and painful cramps don’t have to ruin your sleep. Follow our advice and you’ll find that sleeping comfortably on your period and avoiding leaks is much easier.
Hollie Jones is an expert lifestyle blogger who lives for writing. Hollie’s drive, passion and background come from the arts and media sectors. She’s worked with some of the biggest and most responsible brands in the world, making her ideally positioned to offer lifestyle support and advice. You can read her latest blog posts on Hollie and the Ivy, where she shares tips and advice about her passions while having a lot of fun along the way.