Did you know that insomnia can be induced by PMS?
For years I’ve battled insomnia. There have been nights where I couldn’t sleep, lying in bed staring at the ceiling, wondering if I was ever going to close my eyes ever again. Sounds dramatic but if you’ve experienced it, you know how debilitating it is.
It wasn’t until a few years ago when I started keeping a log of my insomnia (along with other things like anxiety) that I noticed a trend. Each month I would have the hardest time sleeping on the same days. A little bit of research later I realized that the rising and falling levels of hormones in my body were causing this crippling insomnia.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night leading up to your menstrual phase, you could be experiencing PMS-induced insomnia.
Why PMS Causes Insomnia
According to Kathryn Lee, RN, Ph.D., associate dean of research at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, insomnia happens first when estrogen starts to increase up until ovulation. On day 14 of ovulation, estrogen increases again, causing sleep disturbances for women.
Once your ovulation is over, progesterone next rises. A few days after this and before the start of your upcoming period, the levels of both progesterone and estrogen drop, and the withdrawal your body will experience from the drop can cause insomnia. For a more detailed explanation behind this, check out WebMD’s article: Why PMS Gives You Insomnia.
Although insomnia can be a pain to deal with, there are natural methods in which we can try to help our body fall asleep despite our hormonal shifts.
9 Natural Remedies to Deal With PMS-Induced Insomnia
Magnesium is, in itself, a powerful mineral. It can reduce, if not prevent, the risk of many major diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis. But, on the other hand, low levels of magnesium can increase your risk to these diseases – this makes magnesium a necessary mineral for your body.
However, aside from these, magnesium can also help you deal with your PMS-induced insomnia. For one, studies show that magnesium can help reduce your anxiety levels, making you relaxed and calm. Magnesium also affects our GABA receptors, our chemical that affects our mood and can help us be calm and relax.
Basically, magnesium is a relaxing mineral, aside from helping you ward off major diseases. This is one of the few supplements I take every single day.
2) Bath with Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is another great partner if you need help managing your PMS insomnia. To begin with, Epsom salt is basically just salt with magnesium, hence giving you the relaxing benefits of magnesium. Epsom salt helps relax your body and in helping you relieve muscle tension, which will benefit both your sleep and your overall well-being.
You can use Epsom salts while taking a bath. Simply put them into the bath and, afterward, it will dissolve and the magnesium will eventually be absorbed by your body through your skin.
3) Make Your Own “Night Ritual”
A “night ritual” might sound woo-woo but it’s not. A “night ritual” is really just you making a habit to cool off and wind down at night. This usually simply means doing things like not being very busy at night, dimming the lights off, stopping the use of electronics (which we will discuss shortly), and getting ready for bed at least one hour before you sleep.
Although it is very simple, we seem to forget to relax even at night due to the things going on in our lives. If you are not busy, you are probably busy scrolling on social media, or if you’re like me Tiktok (I literally delete this app every Monday) it’s clear it’s not a good habit to make.
Your “night ritual” is what you will do to set the tone for sleeping. But if you are doubtful about whether it works or not, here’s how it works: when you do your “night ritual” – that is, if you set the tone for sleeping an hour or two before you go to bed – you are readjusting your circadian rhythm (or your “body clock”) to sleep at the time you would want to sleep.
Once your body clock is adjusted, it will be easier for you to sleep at the time that you want. But you have to follow your schedule, otherwise, you risk ruining your body clock and you have to start over again.
Meditation is a relaxing activity in itself – physically, mentally, and spiritually – as it helps your brain calm down while you meditate. You don’t need to devote an hour or two of meditation to help you sleep faster; even a few minutes of meditation can help you sleep well. Once you achieved the relaxed mental state meditation can give you, it will help you sleep faster and better afterward.
I love doing a winding down sleep meditation before bed every night. I have such a hard time falling asleep and this is the biggest game changer for me.
5) Do Not Use Electronics at Night
There are a few reasons why putting down our electronic device is necessary if we want to sleep soundly at night.
First, electronics engage our brain (and oftentimes, not in a positive way – think of negative news, work problems and other problems we see through the social media and the internet), making it difficult for us to go to sleep because our brain is still active due to loads of stimulation and information it just received. Second, the blue light that comes from our device actually tricks your brain to think that it is still daytime, hence ruining your circadian rhythm and setting your body in a “wake up” mode.
So, turn off your electronics at least an hour before you go to sleep. I know this is hard but it helps a ton. If you can’t do this, at least put your phone on night-shift which will take away the blue light.
6) Breathing Exercises
Do you know that the way we normally breathe in our daily lives is not even good compared to how we are supposed to really breathe? Thanks to our stressful and busy lives, the way we breathe is usually shallow and tensed. It’s for this reason that breathing exercises are made.
Breathing exercises aim to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the opposite of our “fight-or-flight” attitude. In other words, breathing exercises help relax our body and, eventually, help us fall into sleep faster.
This is one of my favorite breathing exercises.
7) Herbal Tea
Herbal tea, especially caffeine-free tea, help relax our body. Hence, this tea can help you sleep faster after a good, relaxing sip.
I love drinking a sleepy tea before bed that I make with a variety of herbs. I love dealing with herbs so I buy in bulk and then I make my own blend, but you can find a great sleepy time tea right here.
CBD has some benefits for the brain, including improved mood, stress and anxiety management, pain management, and of course, sleep, but those are just some of the benefits of CBD. In fact, CBD is actually used to help people with anxiety and sleep problems. But be sure you are getting it from a great source because there are many poor-quality tinctures on the market.
I love Winged CBD or Beam CBD.
9) Adaptogenic Herbs
Aside from herbal tea, use adaptogenic herbs such as ginseng and ashwagandha. Adaptogenic herbs can help you deal with stress by lowering your cortisol level, a stress hormone. In turn, this can help you relax and sleep faster and well at night.
With changes in lifestyle, especially your evening rituals, you can actually deal with or help your PMS insomnia.
This was a long and somewhat wordy post, so kudos if you made it to the end. I hope this helped you learn more about PMS and insomnia.
I did my job if you leave this article feeling even just a little bit more in control of your health. Feel free to shoot me an email or a message on Instagram if you have any questions or just want to talk.
P.S. If this is a topic that hits close to home, be sure to check out a few of my other articles on hormone health:
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