Sep 2021

Menstrual-related Hypersomnia

  • By: Samantha Denäe

When it’s the onset of your period, do you suddenly get extremely fatigued? Sometimes falling asleep uncontrollably? You could possibly be dealing with Menstrual-related Hypersomnia, which reoccurs about a week prior to the start of your menses. Hypersomnia itself causes you to feel an excessive amount of sleepiness throughout the day, affecting concentration and energy levels. Although excessive sleep and/or sleepiness is a main symptom other symptoms can include: a decrease in motivation and activity, frequent mood changes, mental slowing like brain fog, and sometimes derealization, an altered perception causing your worldly reality to shift. 

At the second half of your menstrual cycle, when PMS symptoms are beginning to occur, the estrogen levels will peak and then quickly fall, causing tiredness or sluggishness (progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormones are also rising and falling during this time). Iron deficiency could also be apart of the reason why you experience hypersomnia during the onset of your period. Other womb diseases and issues like heavy uterine bleeding, have a major effect on your level of fatigue during your period. PMDD makes the fatigue even more extreme. 

Problems with sleeping is often caused by PMS or PMDD, either having insomnia or hypersomnia. Mood changes like anxiety or depression, can also attribute to an excessive amount of sleeping prior to your period. The hormonal changes that are experienced before and during your period have effects on the body temperature and melatonin production, thus having an affect on your sleep. 

Progesterone increases after ovulation until the late-luteal phase, which increases body temperature to such an extent causing broken sleep. Altered levels of melatonin during your menstrual cycle is also a major player in your sleep pattern during the onset of your period, due to melatonin being the essential hormone of circadian rhythm and sleep regulation. Some experience more rapid hormone fluctuations before their period, shifting fragmented sleep at a quick rate. 

Although sleeping is what we typically want to do when we start to feel hypersomnia creeping in, it’s best to raise our energy levels and mood by doing some physical activity to combat. It’s also best to combat period cravings by not eating foods that will make you tired or sluggish and to keep your water intake high as dehydration can cause for sleep. Having a consistent sleep schedule throughout the month can also help you feel less fatigued during onset of your period. If your fatigue is too strong to where you have to take off from work or miss school or daily activities, consult your doctor to find out if there is a deeper womb or body issue, like fibroids or low thyroid function. 

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