Does Menstruation and Hormones Affect Sleep?

According to Forbes Magazine, 40% of adults in the United States get less than six hours of sleep on a daily basis; so it only makes sense that many of us are constantly relying on that morning cup of joe.

The National Sleep Foundation states that when compared, women need more sleep than men. Biological conditions unique to women like menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, can affect how well a woman sleeps; which may be a contributor of women getting only six hours and 40 minutes per night. This is because the changing levels of hormones a woman experiences throughout the month and over her lifetime, like estrogen and progesterone, have an impact on sleep. But when does being “sleepy” cross the line of being unhealthy and when it can signify that something else is wrong?

What Causes Anemia?

Excessive or prolonged menstruation can sometimes cause a condition known as anemia. Anemia occurs when the amount of circulating red blood cells is decreased. Hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that allow them to carry oxygen to other bodily tissues, is measured in order to determine if you might have anemia.

If your period is heavy or lengthy, your body tries to keep up and make enough red blood cells to support your system. When it is unable to, it automatically starts converting iron stores to make hemoglobin, which can then carry oxygen within the red blood cells. If your iron stores are becoming depleted, you may start to notice various signs such as fatigue, weakness, or dizziness.

Constantly Tired During the Day

Fatigue is one of the most common signs of an iron deficiency – anemia. Since tiredness is often considered a normal part of a busy, active life, it’s often difficult for doctors to diagnose anemia with this symptom alone. Many people with anemia experience low energy as well as a feeling of weakness or complete exhaustion. It’s normal for someone to feel not fully awake in the morning or exhausted after a long day at work; however, if you’re feeling tired throughout the day, this may be a sign.

Difficulty Concentrating

Some women with anemia find that it becomes difficult to concentrate at work or school. If you’ve consumed enough water, eaten enough food, and had a good night’s sleep, but still struggle to concentrate, it is a good idea to track when this happens and talk to your doctor about these issues. Difficulty concentrating can be a sign of many different things, so this alone does not mean you have anemia.

Pale Skin

Pale skin, especially around the eyes and face is more commonly seen in moderate to severe cases of anemia. This is caused by a decreased level of hemoglobin in your system, which is necessary to give blood its red color. When you have lower levels of hemoglobin, your skin may become white or light yellow.

Complications During Exercise

If you experience shortness of breath, unusually rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or headaches while exercising, it may indicate that you have anemia. Due to the fact that hemoglobin and red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, low levels can cause you to feel out of breath or dizzy. These are serious concerns; therefore, stop exercising immediately, drink water, and take slow deep breaths. If you feel that you are unable to regain your breath or are feeling extremely unwell, reach out to someone nearby to call your emergency help line.

If you find yourself out of breath doing normal, daily tasks that you used to find easy, such as walking the dog, driving, running errands, or climbing stairs, this could indicate anemia.

Issues Causing Poor Sleep

If you think your sleep is being interrupted causing you to be tired during the day, anemia might also be to blame. In recent years, many cases of restless legs and insomnia have been attributed back to an iron deficiency. If you’re feeling exhausted when you wake up, these may be contributors to your lack of sleep. It’s important to mention these to your doctor in order to rule out anemia.

Other, rarer symptoms of anemia caused by iron deficiency may include:

  • Soreness of the mouth
  • Dry or damaged hair, skin, and nails
  • A hunger for strange substances also known as pica
  • Cold hands and feet
  • More frequent infections or immune system issues

The Connection Between Fibroids and Anemia

Uterine fibroids may cause heavy periods lasting more than 10 days a month or bleeding between menstrual cycles, which can lead some women to experience anemia caused by an iron deficiency. However, not everyone who has fibroids will get anemia. Many women with fibroids will not experience enough bleeding to cause anemia; although it’s important to understand that an iron deficiency can get worse over time if not addressed properly.

If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment at one of our 30 centers to get checked for uterine fibroids. Give us a call at 855-615-2555 or use our schedule online option and get instant insurance verification.