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Women’s Sleep and Mood Are Affected by Their Menstrual Cycles, Researchers Find

According to new research, women report heightened feelings of rage and sleep patterns that are disrupted in the days before their period.

The research, which was written up in the Journal of Sleep Research, provides fresh insight into the complex interplay between women’s emotions, sleep patterns, and menstrual cycles.

“Our research provides valuable insights into the complex interplay between menstrual cycles, emotions, and sleep and the impact of hormonal fluctuations on women’s well-being,” comments co-author Jo Bower, PhD, of the Psychology Department at the University of East Anglia, in a press statement. “By understanding how these factors interact, we can better address the unique needs of women in terms of sleep health and emotional well-being.” 

51 healthy women between the ages of 18 and 35 who had regular periods and did not use hormonal contraception had their data examined for this study.

Reproductive-aged women used the ecological momentary assessment methodology to track sleep over the course of two menstrual months while also wearing actiwatches, which are sleep/wake tracking watches, and daily self-reporting on their emotional and sleep-related parameters.

Strong correlations between menstrual cycles, emotional moods, and sleep quality were found by the researchers.

Important Conclusions Drawn From the Study’s Findings Include:

  • The days before and during the peri-menstrual phase cause disturbances in the sleep patterns of women, who spend more time awake at night and have reduced sleep efficiency (the percentage of time spent asleep in bed).
  • Women report feeling more angry during the perimenstrual phase than they do during other menstrual cycle phases.
  • There is a correlation between decreased pleasant feelings including tranquility, enjoyment, and enthusiasm and sleep difficulties during the perimenstrual phase.
  • This adds to the increasing amount of data indicating that women’s susceptibility to sleeplessness and mental health problems may be significantly influenced by their menstrual cycles.

According to a release from Bower, “The findings underscore the importance of considering hormonal fluctuations when addressing sleep disorders and emotional distress in women,”“The implications of this research reach further than just the controlled setting, providing potential pathways for interventions and treatments aimed at enhancing sleep quality and emotional resilience in women.” 

The use of both objective and subjective prospective data over the course of two menstrual cycles was one of the study’s distinctive characteristics, although the researchers stressed that the results must be interpreted in light of a number of limitations.

While the researchers did not uncover significant impacts of pandemic stress on outcome variables, they cannot rule out the possibility that participants’ emotional experiences and sleep-wake patterns were affected by the pandemic.

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