The menstrual cycle and sleep

The variation in the amount of female hormones regulates the menstrual cycle and has effects on sleep. Before ovulation There is an increase in estradiol synthesis that have been linked to increased REM sleep.

After ovulation, the synthesis of progesterone increases, which is responsible for the feeling of sleepiness that many women suffer at that time of the cycle.

Hormonal behavior, quality and quantity of sleep vary according to the period of the menstrual cycle in which the woman is. We will study each part of the menstrual cycle separately and its relation to sleep.

Premenstrual period and sleep

In this phase of the menstrual cycle, sleep is affected by the consequences of increased estradiol synthesis that have several emotional effects.

It interacts with various regions of the brain such as the bulb, the hypothalamus, the prefrontal lobes and the amygdala, and He is responsible for many of the effects on the emotional universe of women during the premenstrual phase of the cycle.

We will analyze below what happens just before menstruation when estradiol rates are high:

  • Irritability.
  • Humor changes.
  • Sadness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Social isolation.
  • Depression.
  • Insomnia.

Hormonal changes in the premenstrual period can cause sudden mood swings and sleep problems.

Sleep disorders, which occur in this phase, they are usually blamed for the increase in cortisol and adrenaline levels that are the generators of stress.

Stress affects sleep in different ways. The woman in the premenstrual period may have difficulty reconciling, waking up at night or getting up feeling tired.

It is convenient in the premenstrual period carry out activities that contribute to stress management such as yoga and meditation that usually improve the quantity and quality of sleep.

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Menstrual period and sleep

In the menstrual period, estradiol levels decrease and progesterone levels increase. By decreasing the rate of estradiol the wake sleep rhythm is usually normalized, although in cases where there are underlying diseases, such as depression and anxiety, sleep disorders may persist.

In this case they are attributable to disorders of the psychological sphere and not to estradiol levels.

Progesterone begins to be synthesized at the time of ovulation and It is responsible for preparing the endometrium to accommodate the future embryo and for the maintenance of pregnancy in the event that it occurs.

In the menstrual cycle, progesterone produces hormonal changes that can affect sleep. It is responsible for the synthesis of gamma acid-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that has several antagonistic effects on estradiol.

During the menstrual cycle, progesterone affects hormonal changes that can alter sleep.

For example, it modulates impatience, mood swings, reduces distress and improves stress management. Some authors consider progesterone a natural anxiolytic.

  • It reduces anxiety.
  • Relieves symptoms of depression.
  • It improves the emotional state.
  • Reduce stress
  • It causes drowsiness.

These effects, taken together, They explain the improvement of the sleep wake rhythm and the increase in the quantity and quality of sleep after menstruation. Although there may be factors that alter it as consequences of headaches, gastric and digestive discomfort, and so on.

In any case, we must observe the menstrual cycle and sleep to detect the alterations that occur in the latter every twenty-eight days.

Read also: What happens in the body during sleep

Measures to improve sleep in the menstrual cycle

  • Do not consume exciting in the afternoon or evening, like chocolate, coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco.
  • Eat a small amount and wait at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Light physical exercise, avoiding the last hours of the day, since the opposite effect is achieved.
  • Do not take prolonged naps that alter the rhythm of sleep or wakefulness. 30 minutes maximum
  • Maintain regular bedtime and wake up times. Also important are regular meal times.
  • Avoid exposure to intense light and at extreme temperatures in the bedroom.
  • Tasks that require mental activity should not be done in the bedroom, such as using a computer, tablet, mobile phone, TV, etc.
  • You can help, before going to sleep, Listen to relaxing music, a warm shower or meditate.

As we see, Female hormones vary throughout the menstrual cycle and have various effects on sleep. It is good to know the relationship of different hormones with the menstrual cycle and sleep to be able to take measures that improve their quality, our rest and well-being in general.