Menstrual cycle and the relationship with the quality of sleep hours

A survey analyzed the quality of sleep in healthy young women and found that the routine of sleeping hours is related to the menstrual cycle.

In general, they feel more sleep in the days before menstruation, regardless of the rest routine of each participant (for example, how many average hours of sleep are needed for each one).

The researchers found that in the days before menstruation, the quality of sleeping hours dropped by 3.3%, with women waking up 3 times more at night compared to other phases of the menstrual cycle.

For the survey, participants wore wristbands with sensors that tracked their sleep activities and they also offered urine samples every morning. In addition, they were on a diet for 5 days during the initial phase of the cycle to see how much poor nutrition could interfere with well-being.

In the first cycle, the diet offered an advisable amount of carbohydrates . In the second cycle, women ate 55% less carbohydrates.

The researchers came to the conclusion that dietary restrictions brought harm to women’s sleep, since the less energy they got from eating, the more sleep the respondents felt.

They also had less sleep quality by waking up more often at night.

For scholars, this discovery shows the importance of good nutrition, especially around menstruation. Fruits, vegetables, water-rich foods, whole-grain pasta and cereals are the most suitable for this time of the month.

The study was done by the University of North Carolina, in the United States. In all, 10 healthy women, between 18 and 28 years old, participated in the research.

Read more: Quality sleep: bedtime sex can help

The phases of the menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman, but on average, it occurs between 25 and 35 days and is divided into 3 phases:

  • 1 – Follicular phase: The first day of menstruation opens a new cycle. In the follicular phase, the uterus prepares to receive a fertilized egg, creating a layer of blood that will keep the baby. It occurs, on average, between the first 10 days of the cycle.
  • 2 – Ovulatory phase: It is the phase in which the egg leaves the ovary. On average, it occurs between 11 and 16 days before the next menstruation;
  • 3 – Luteal phase:  The egg is ready to be fertilized. If fertilization does not occur, it is expelled from the body. It is a phase where many hormones are released. It occurs, on average, 10 days before the next menstruation.

Food, sleep and menstrual cycle can be related, impacting the woman’s well-being and routine.