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PMS and sleep

Sylvie Thome

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I've posted under the supplements previously discussing magnesium and sleep issues. Basically, I have always been a poor/light sleeper. I would wake up around 2-3 a.m. and be awake for an hour or so, then have restless sleep until I got up around 6:30-7. Over the years I've tried all the common recommended remedies (from Ambien to no computer/tv before bed, etc.). I do think I've mostly solved my sleep issues with a combo of eating fairly clean/primal after my Whole 30 in February, and taking chelated magnesium before bedtime. However, I have found that the week before my period, despite eating the same and taking mag the same, I wake up at some point close to 2 a.m. and toss and turn for the rest of the early morning. I did notice that when I was generally sleeping poorly, the week before my period was always the worst.

I'm assuming this is hormonal, and am wondering if anyone else has noticed a pattern like this, and if they've been able to solve it with food tweaks or supplements.



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I have an anxiety disorder that often manifests as insomnia (although not as much lately). My anxiety levels skyrocket around the start of my period, usually getting really bad 2-3 days before it starts and lasting until I'm a couple days in. The worst days are usually the 48 hours right around the cycle start. I haven't been able to "solve" this with anything other than medication. I was hopeful the Whole30 would help, and while it did reduce my PMS food cravings, I was still having anxiety attacks. Such is life; I guess it's just my brain.

I will say at this point, if I wake up and can't sleep, I'll just get up and read or make grocery lists or something else low energy for an hour or two before going back to bed; it's less frustrating for me than trying to sleep and seems to work better for me as a coping strategy. Sorry I don't have more of a solution.

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Yes! i have a definite track record of not sleeping the night before I start my period. I used to be a bad sleeper (falling asleep) and food seems to sort that out except for hormonal shifts - the night before my period and sometimes around ovulation.

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Sylvie - I haven't heard of that before but I've done a lot of reading on hormones to understand my own issues and I have a few thoughts...

Are you on hormonal birth control? I'm asking in case the insomnia kicks in when you start taking your placebo pills, or if you're on a pill that has different levels of hormones each week.

If you're not on BC, do you have normal cycles and a normal luteal phase, or do you have a shorter luteal phase? After ovulation, progesterone is the dominant hormone and it's a bit more sedating. Have you ever had your progesterone levels tested post-ovulation to see if you're deficient?

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I am not on BC pills. That's interesting about progesterone, I have no idea if I'm deficient. I don't have a remarkably short luteal phase but that certainly would make sense that it could be a cause given how it has been an issue for so long.

I'm also trying to increase my sweet potato intake this week, per Melissa, to see if that helps. Thanks all for the input!

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before your period, are you increasing your caloric intake?

If I wake up at 2-3am, there are two reasons 1. I'm over stressed and cortisol is getting out of whack 2. For some reason I didn't eat enough that day so I'm waking up hungry.

The week before my period starts I allow myself to eat extra sweet potato/fruit and before I go to bed I will eat a little fat (spoonful of coconut butter). The fat gives just enough to keep blood sugar nice and steady throughout the night without spikes and crashes. After my period, its back to my normal eating.

This has really helped me out a lot. Let us know how things go and if anything helps!

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