Getting a decent night's sleep on your period is tough at the best of times. One in three women experience disturbed sleep during their time of the month, with symptoms like cramps, bloating and headaches all contributing to restless nights. But if you've got a particularly turbulent bedtime routine, it can be all the more difficult to ensure you get your full eight hours. We spoke to three women about their bedtime habits, like using Always Platinum Night pads, to keep them feeling and looking their best, despite their disruptive sleep patterns.
Thirty-one-year-old Kim works two or three 12-hour night shifts each week as a trainee paramedic. It's a vitally important job, but one that also has the potential to throw her body clock into disarray. "My night shifts are from 7pm to 7am, and I live an hour away from work, so I don't get home till maybe 8am, if we finish on time," she says. By the time Kim gets to sleep it's often getting on for 9 o'clock, so keeping the bedroom as dark as possible and avoiding looking at her phone are essential for helping her to recharge after a long night shift.
In case that wasn't tough enough, getting her period each month brings added challenges to Kim's sleep routine. "I get very warm in bed when I've got my period, so I don't sleep as deeply as I normally would," she says. "It can also be very sore sometimes, so I struggle to drop off to sleep."
When the period discomfort kicks in, Kim says targeted heat is something that really helps, and she'll often wear a muscle pain heat pad underneath her uniform throughout her shift. "When I come home I'll have a shower, and if it's cold my wife leaves the heating on a timer and a towel warming on the radiator for me," she says. After her shower, Kim adds, she'll generally heat up a microwaveable beanbag and take that to bed with her, to help ease any cramping pains.
For 22-year-old 'cleanfluencer' and stay-at-home mum Harriet, having two boys under the age of three means frequently broken nights – particularly as her youngest is still breastfeeding. "My two and a half year old now sleeps from about 8pm until 8am, but I'm still co-sleeping with my one-year-old and he feeds two to five times each night, for between five and 25 minutes at a time," she says.
"He will be moving into a room with his big brother soon, but one of the reasons I'm still co-sleeping is to try and get more sleep because it means I don't have to get up out of bed to feed him," she explains. Once their eldest is asleep, Harriet says she, her partner and their youngest are usually in bed themselves before 10 o'clock, often getting settled down to sleep by around 9.30pm. "I do get woken up quite frequently, and it's hard living with the lack of sleep as I'm sure many other mums can relate to," she adds.
Like Kim, Harriet finds her sleep is particularly disturbed during her period, but relaxing bedtime rituals help to ensure she has enough energy to keep on top of her busy family life. "My periods returned quite fast after having my youngest, probably at around eight weeks [postpartum], and have been quite regular since. I can't ever seem to get enough sleep when I'm on my period. I feel constantly worn out and am restless at nighttime," she says.
"I use sleep sprays or aromatherapy roller balls to try to relax, and I also like a warm shower before bed if I have cramps. The aromatherapy in particular can be so calming," Harriet says. Another essential part of her period bedtime routine, she adds, is a big pair of knickers and a full coverage, comfy overnight pad – like Always Platinum Night – to prevent any leaks. "I usually lie on my side curled up too, as for some reason that helps relieve some of the pain," she says.
Ellie is 24, works in publishing and suffers from generalised anxiety disorder, which has a particularly disruptive effect on her sleep during her period. "As someone with anxiety I have a fairly active mind as it is, but when I'm on my period and my hormones are in overdrive, that's when I tend to see a spike in anxiety right before I fall asleep. I'll turn the light out and instantly start catastrophising about what's going to happen the next day, or next week, or in 10 years' time," she explains.
"When I do manage to fall asleep, normally after a good hour or so of tossing and turning, I'm quite likely to have intense stress dreams about things like my teeth or hair falling out, or being fired at work," she adds. To make matters worse, Ellie also has endometriosis, which makes her periods both heavy and painful. "I often wake up in the middle of the night needing to change my pad, which in turn leads to another hour or so of trying to get back to sleep," she says.
For Ellie, listening to ASMR videos on YouTube has become an important part of her period sleep ritual. "I discovered it about four years ago, when I was first diagnosed with endometriosis and really struggling with period pain. Some people listen to rainfall or fire crackling, but I tend to listen to a woman whispering the opening chapters of Harry Potter or turning the pages of a newspaper," she explains.
"I've found it's the only thing that can help me fall asleep as it's soothing and doesn't require me to focus," Ellie adds. "It triggers something in my brain that says 'it's time to sleep', and I find that within 15 minutes of listening to the right video I can fall asleep, with my phone in my hand and the light still on, and have an undisturbed deep sleep."
Whether it’s ASMR, heat pads or aromatherapy – or something else entirely – simple bedtime rituals can help take the stress out of getting enough sleep on your period. For added peace of mind and protection against leaks, make Always Platinum Night pads an essential part of your period sleep routine.