On average, a “normal” amount of sleep for an adult is considered to be around seven to nine hours a night . Children and babies may sleep for much longer than this, whereas older adults may sleep less . What’s important is whether you feel you get enough sleep, and whether your sleep is good quality.
People who have a menstrual cycle, or are taking hormonal medications, may notice that their sleep pattern is affected. Depending on the individual, this could be an inability to get to sleep, or stay asleep for very long (known as insomnia), or sleeping too much, especially during the day (known as hypersomnia). Some people may find it difficult to sleep just before and during menstruation, and then need to sleep for much longer than usual at the end of menstruation…
If you have insomnia, you may :
People with hypersomnia struggle to stay awake during the day and are usually compelled to take frequent long naps. These may be prolonged, or at inappropriate times – such as during a conversation or meal, or even while driving – and generally don’t provide any relief from the sleepiness .
Most people with hypersomnia also sleep for more than 10 hours a night and struggle to wake in the morning, as they feel very drowsy and confused upon waking (“sleep drunkenness”) but some people sleep for a regular amount of time and are able to wake relatively normally. The excessive sleepiness may have a negative impact on the person’s work, relationships and social life .
People with hypersomnia may also :
Note– You have probably noticed how many of the symptoms associated with sleep problems are the same as those commonly experienced just before menstruation? So, if you frequently experience any of the above symptoms just before or during menstruation, it may well be because your sleep has been disrupted, rather than being directly caused by hormonal changes! Track your symptoms, together with your sleep pattern, to see if this is the case for you…
Note: If you think that you may have depression, or that your hormonal, or any other form of, medication is causing your sleep problems, please consult a doctor to discuss your treatment options.
Managing hormone-related sleep problems:
Try a hormone-balancing diet– As outlined in this blog, a vegetable-based ‘anti-inflammatory’ diet can significantly improve all hormone-related symptoms. We highlight a few of the key steps that are especially relevant for those suffering from sleep problems, below;
Exercise regularly– Regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, may help you combat stress and release tension. It also reduces the symptoms of hypersomnia, even in people with chronic depression .
Exercise has also been found to significantly improve mild-moderate depression  and so we highly recommend it as a cheap, accessible and empowering approach to managing your own health and well-being. Find out more about starting exercise and exercise for depression.
The aim of CBT-I is to change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that may be contributing to your insomnia. It’s an effective treatment for many people and can have long-lasting results .
CBT-I may include:
If you have tried the suggested tips and tricks for at least 3 months, and your symptoms do not improve, please consult your doctor.
If you have any suggestions, or tips, for managing sleep problems- please let us know– we can share them with others!
Page last reviewed and updated: June 2018
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