PMS and Sleepiness

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On April 17th, 2024
PMS and Sleepiness

Key Takeaways

  • Sleepiness is a Common Symptom of PMS: While mood swings, bloating, and cramps are well-known symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), sleepiness is also prevalent during this time due to hormonal fluctuations, particularly the rise in progesterone levels.
  • Differentiating Between PMS and PMDD: It’s crucial to distinguish between PMS and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), as PMDD involves more severe emotional and physical symptoms that can significantly impact daily functioning. Understanding the severity of symptoms helps in seeking appropriate medical attention.
  • Managing PMS Fatigue and Improving Sleep Quality: Strategies for managing PMS fatigue and improving sleep quality include considering birth control pills to regulate hormone levels, maintaining a healthy diet rich in iron, engaging in regular exercise, practicing relaxation techniques, and seeking medical advice for personalized treatment options if symptoms persist or worsen.

Mood swings, bloating, and cramps are well-known issues of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Did you know, however that sleepiness is also a common issue during this time?

In this article, we delve into the connection between PMS and sleepiness, exploring the impact of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), the symptoms of PMS, and how the menstrual cycle can affect your energy levels.

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Understanding PMS and Symptoms

Approximately 90 percent of women menstruating women experience PMS symptoms. Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source And about 5 percent experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder ( PMMD Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source ), a more severe and disabling form of PMS.

When it comes to PMS, Verified Source Medline Plus Online resource offered by the National Library of Medicine and part of the National Institutes of Health. View source understanding its symptoms is key to managing the physical and emotional challenges that can arise before menstruation. PMS symptoms can vary from person to person, but some common experiences include premenstrual fatigue, severe period fatigue, and feeling tired before your period.

While feeling tired before your period is a common symptom, it is important to differentiate between premenstrual syndrome and PMDD. While PMS symptoms can be uncomfortable, PMDD is a more severe form of PMS characterized by intense mood swings, irritability, and depression.

The Symptoms of PMS

PMS symptoms can manifest both physically and emotionally. Alongside the tiredness and fatigue, you may experience bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, food cravings, and mood swings. Some individuals may also notice weight gain or difficulty concentrating during this time.

Severe period fatigue is a particularly challenging symptom for many women. It can leave you feeling drained, both physically and mentally, making it difficult to carry out everyday tasks and affecting your overall quality of life.

Managing PMS Fatigue

If you often find yourself dealing with extreme period fatigue and low energy levels during PMS, there are several strategies you can try to alleviate these symptoms. From considering birth control pills to making simple changes in your diet, managing PMS fatigue is possible.

Consider Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills can help regulate hormone levels and alleviate period fatigue. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether this option is right for you. They can provide guidance on choosing the right type of birth control pill and help manage any side effects.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

What you eat can have a significant impact on your energy levels. Incorporate foods rich in iron, such as leafy greens and lean meats, to combat fatigue. Avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks can also help reduce food cravings and stabilize your energy levels.

Be sure to stay hydrated for good sleep by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Combat Food Cravings

PMS often brings on cravings for unhealthy, sugary foods. While it’s okay to indulge occasionally, incorporating nutrient-rich alternatives into your diet can help satisfy cravings while providing essential vitamins and minerals. Reach for a piece of dark chocolate or a handful of nuts instead of reaching for that bag of chips.

See more about healthy late night snacks.

How Hormonal Changes Affect Sleep

Hormonal changes in the body during the menstrual cycle can have a significant impact on sleep quality. Fluctuating hormone levels can disrupt your sleep patterns and leave you feeling tired. Let’s explore how these hormonal changes affect your sleep and what you can do to improve it.


One of the main hormones involved in sleep regulation is serotonin. Verified Source National Library of Medicine (NIH) World’s largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible. View source During the different phases of your menstrual cycle, there are fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels, which can affect serotonin production. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. When hormone levels are disrupted, it can lead to imbalances in serotonin, resulting in disturbed sleep and an overall feeling of tiredness.

These hormonal changes can also affect other aspects of sleep, such as sleep duration and sleep quality. Many women report experiencing difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during certain phases of their menstrual cycle. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which further contributes to feelings of fatigue.

Other Hormones

In addition to serotonin, other brain chemicals, such as melatonin, can also be influenced by hormonal changes. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

Disruptions in hormone levels can impact melatonin production, leading to difficulty falling asleep and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.

Managing Hormonal Changes and Improving Sleep

If you’re experiencing hormonal changes that are affecting your sleep, there are several strategies you can try to improve your sleep quality:

  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Create a calming bedtime routine: Incorporate relaxing activities, such as reading or taking a warm bath, to help signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene: Make sure your sleep environment is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature. Avoid electronic devices before bed and limit your caffeine intake.
  • Engage in regular exercise: Physical activity can help regulate hormones and promote better sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, a good amount when it comes to exercise for better sleep.
  • Consider stress management techniques: Hormones and stress are closely linked. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as deep breathing exercises or stretches.

If you continue to experience significant sleep disturbances or fatigue, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for further guidance and support.

Treatment and Lifestyle Options

When it comes to managing PMS fatigue and sleep problems, there are various treatment methods and lifestyle options that can help alleviate physical symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

From traditional remedies to herbal medicine, here are some options to consider.

1. Traditional Treatment Methods

Traditional treatment methods for PMS fatigue and sleep problems may include over-the-counter pain relievers, Verified Source Medline Plus Online resource offered by the National Library of Medicine and part of the National Institutes of Health. View source such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, to help alleviate physical symptoms.

These medications can also help reduce discomfort and improve sleep quality. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any medication.

2. Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine, such as chamomile tea or valerian root supplements, has been used for centuries to relieve fatigue and promote better sleep. These natural remedies can help calm the mind and relax the body, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep during PMS.

However, it is important to speak with a qualified herbalist or healthcare provider for guidance on dosage and potential interactions with other medications.

See also our recommended herbal teas for sleep.

3. Physical Symptoms Management

In addition to medication and herbal remedies, managing physical PMS symptoms can also help improve sleep quality. Gentle exercise, such as walking or even stretches you can do in bed, can promote better blood circulation and reduce muscle tension, resulting in a more restful sleep.

Massages or using heat pads can also provide relief for cramps and other physical discomfort. You may even want to consider sauna before bed.

4. Relaxation Techniques

Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or journaling before bed, can help calm the mind and promote better sleep. These techniques can help reduce stress and anxiety often associated with PMS, allowing you to relax and fall asleep more easily.

Incorporate these practices into your bedtime routine to create a peaceful atmosphere that promotes restful sleep.

By exploring different treatment methods and incorporating lifestyle changes, you can effectively manage PMS fatigue and sleep problems. With the right approach, you can overcome sleep problems related to PMS and enjoy a better night’s rest.


Why do I sleep so much before my period?

Increased sleep before your period is a common symptom attributed to hormonal fluctuations. Progesterone levels rise in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, promoting relaxation and potentially causing drowsiness. This increased need for sleep is a natural response to the body’s hormonal changes during this phase.

Is it normal to feel sleepy during PMS?

Yes, feeling sleepy during PMS is normal and can be linked to hormonal shifts. Progesterone, a hormone that rises during the premenstrual phase, has a sedative effect, leading to increased feelings of tiredness. Additionally, PMS symptoms like mood swings and discomfort can contribute to a sense of fatigue.

What age does PMS peak?

PMS typically peaks in women in their late 20s to early 30s. This age range is when hormonal fluctuations are more pronounced, and women often experience a range of physical and emotional symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle.

What is the difference between PMS and PMDD?

The main difference between PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) lies in the severity of symptoms. PMDD involves more intense emotional and physical symptoms that can significantly impact daily functioning.

While PMS can cause discomfort, PMDD is characterized by more severe mood disturbances and requires professional medical evaluation and management.

Why do I struggle to sleep before my period?

Difficulty sleeping before your period can be attributed to hormonal changes, particularly the rise and fall of progesterone. This hormonal shift can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or restless sleep.

Implementing good sleep hygiene practices, such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine, may help mitigate these challenges.

How can I stop PMS insomnia?

To address PMS-related insomnia, consider adopting sleep-promoting habits. Create a calming bedtime routine, limit caffeine intake, and create a comfortable sleep environment. Managing stress through activities like meditation or yoga can also contribute to better sleep.

If insomnia persists, consulting a healthcare professional for personalized advice is recommended.


If you find that your PMS symptoms are severe or significantly impacting your everyday life, it is important to seek medical treatment. Your healthcare provider can offer additional guidance and explore alternative treatment options, including herbal medicine or other interventions, to address your PMS fatigue and sleep problems effectively.

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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