Catching up on sleep at weekends may aggravate period pain – Study

Having a lie in is something many of us look forward to on a Saturday morning, following a hard week at work.

But dozing in bed to clock up on snooze could be bad for women – especially around their time of the month.

Scientists have found women who catch up on sleep on their days off may suffer from more severe period pain.

Japanese researchers surveyed 150 female university students about their sleeping and menstrual patterns.

They wanted to examine whether social jetlag could affect their premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, New Scientist reports.

Students were classed as having social jetlag if the middle point of their sleep was an hour later on their days off.

For instance, if someone sleeps from 11pm to 7am on workdays, the midpoint is 3am. But when they sleep from midnight to 10am at the weekend, the midpoint is 5am – giving a social jet lag of two hours.


It may seem like the perfect start to the weekend, but a Saturday morning lie-in could be very bad for your health.

Differences in sleep patterns between our work days and days off raise the odds of obesity, diabetes and even heart disease, research has suggested.

While lazing in bed occasionally will not cause any harm, weekend after weekend of late starts could seriously damage health, said experts in 2015.

The warning came from Medical Research Council scientists who analysed data on the health, weight, height and sleeping habits of more than 800 men and women aged 38.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, paid particular attention to ‘social jet lag’, the mis-match between waking hours on work days and weekends.

It is calculated by taking the midpoint of a person’s sleep on work nights and comparing it to the midpoint of their sleep during days off.

More than three quarters of the participants were classed as having social jetlag because of their sleeping habits.

The researchers found the students who suffered from social jetlag experienced more pain and bloating during their periods.

Yoko Komada, who led the study, said behavioural changes were also worse among those who caught up on their sleep.

And the team in Tokyo found the symptoms worsened for the students who had the highest levels of social jetlag.

The Meiji Pharmaceutical University findings were published in the scientific journal Chronobiology International.

The researchers remain unsure as to why catching up on sleep at the weekends may lead to worse period symptoms.

However, some believe it may disrupt the body’s internal clock – known as the circadian rhythm.

It is believed the disruption of the rhythm may impact hormone cycles that regulate menstruation and inflammation.

Period pain, thought to affect the day-to-day lives of a fifth of women, occurs when the muscular wall of the womb tightens.

This triggers the body to release pain-triggering chemicals and prostaglandins, hormones that worsen the pain.

But scientists in recent years have begun to point their finger at inflammation for playing a much bigger role in period pain.

A University of California, Davis, study two years ago found women suffering period pain had higher levels of a protein linked to inflammation.


WOW! Indian Firm Lets Female Employees Take The First Day Of Their PERIOD Off Work

Ever had to call in sick with a headache or food poisoning because you felt too awkward – or embarrassed – to say you had terrible period pain?

One Mumbai-based company is now offering women an automatic paid day off on the first day of their period if they have severe cramps – or other menstrual pain – making being in the office unmanageable.

Culture Machine Media released a YouTube video featuring some of its 75 female employees to mark the policy launch, and created a petition on calling for First Day Of Period (FOP) Leave Policy to be implemented across India.


The company argues that women should not have to ‘keep periods hidden’, writing alongside the video: ‘It’s time we address that women menstruate and it is okay to take a day off to get through the discomfort.

The first day was chosen, the firm explained because it was when most women reported experiencing bad pain.

When the video – which has now been viewed more than 135,000 times – was shot, Culture Machine employees had no idea about the plan.

It shows female staff talking about how they feel on the first day of their periods and asking them if they have ever had to make up excuses to take time off to cope.

The responses varied, with some saying they experienced severe pain and others reporting mood swings. All said that they would like the option of taking the day off.

Some had previously felt too awkward to explain to a male boss why they couldn’t make it into the office.

Period-cramps-can-be-uncomfortable (1)

On discovering the policy would be implemented, one employee said: ‘I think it’s damn cool in the sense that it is saying: Hey! [Bad period pain] is a good enough reason for you not to come to work.’

While the company’s petition, launched in conjunction with female employees, has received 25,000 signatures within one week and interest is growing.

The company is not the first to launch ‘menstrual leave’ as a policy. Nike adopted it back in 2007 and being allowed time off for period pain is a federal legal requirement in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.


Read More: Daily Mail

How The Monthly Misery Of HEAVY Periods Can Be TREATED If Your Doctor Spots It Early Enough

The problem is hardly a popular topic of conversation, but even doctors cringe at the subject of heavy periods.

It meant the cause was missed, leaving her — like thousands of women — suffering needlessly for years. ‘I’ve always had heavy periods, it’s been the bane of my life, but it was never taken seriously,’ says Bev, 46, who works in hospital operating theatres.

‘I was in the airforce when I was younger, so we moved around a lot,’ says Bev, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester.  ‘I had a new GP every couple of years. They were always old and male, and they just rolled their eyes. It was never investigated.’

From the start of menstruation at ten, Bev’s monthly periods were long, painful and heavy. It was physically debilitating, had a huge impact on her work and social life, and was devastating for her confidence.


‘It’s been a huge source of anxiety and I’ve had so many horrible, embarrassing episodes. Every time I booked a holiday, or was invited to a wedding, I’d think, “Oh please, don’t let me be on my period”.’

Bev, who is married with a daughter, 22, and son, 19, tried treatments such as the contraceptive pill and Mirena coil — which releases hormones that help to thin the lining of the womb — but none got the problem sufficiently under control.

Doctors had said things would get better once she had children, but although her periods were lighter for a while, they then became worse than ever.

‘I began dreading talking to the doctor about it. I’d try to explain that I had to sleep on towels, but got nowhere. For most of my life, I felt it was part and parcel of being a woman.’

Only now has she learnt the truth behind her problem.


Malcolm Dickson, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Rochdale Infirmary and a colleague of Bev’s, has been investigating her symptoms and believes she is one of many thousands with heavy menstrual bleeding that is caused by Von Willebrand disease, an inherited condition that impairs the blood’s ability to clot.

Carriers either lack Von Willebrand factor — a protein in the blood that helps it to clot — or the factor is present but doesn’t work properly. (It is not haemophilia, which is a more serious bleeding disorder where a different protein is lacking).

Up to 2 per cent of people are thought to have the genetic fault that causes a lack of Von Willebrand factor, but few realise they have it, says Mr Dickson. ‘The majority of men who have it won’t be troubled by it, but because of bleeding complications associated with menstruation and childbirth, women who have it, will.’

He says the disease is often overlooked as a cause of heavy periods, meaning many women miss the right management and treatments.


‘Invariably it raises its head when women reach puberty; they go to their GP who puts them on the contraceptive pill, which is not very effective at controlling bleeding if it’s due to Von Willebrand,’ says Mr Dickson. ‘They’re then put on another contraceptive pill and so on — they try various things that may improve the situation but never sort it permanently.’

Mr Dickson says up to 30 per cent of women with heavy menstrual bleeding have Von Willebrand disease.

Signs that it might be present include very heavy, long painful periods — menstrual ‘flooding’, passing clots and needing to change sanitary products very frequently and at night.


Those affected also typically report a family history of heavy periods; they may also bruise easily or have a tendency for nose bleeds, or have experienced heavy bleeding after a trauma or a procedure such as a dental extraction or tattoo.

Very heavy periods from a young age may also be a clue, says Mr Dickson, as other causes such as fibroids tend to start later in life.

‘The difficulty that sometimes arises is that women are asked, “are your periods normal?” and because their periods are the same as other women in their family, they say yes,’ adds Dr Charles Percy, a consultant haematologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Read more: Daily Mail

DID YOU KNOW? Painful Periods Are a CLUE To What Giving Birth Will Be Like, Reveals Study

Most women experience period pain at some point in their lives.

For some, ‘time of the month’ causes little or no discomfort, while for others it can be excruciating. Most of us dismiss period pain as just ‘one of those things’ and get on with it.

However, it seems the level of discomfort you feel can be a warning sign of what level of pain to expect from childbirth.

‘The initial stages of labour are very similar to periods,’ explains Dr Dasha Fielder, an Australia GP who specialises in women’s health.

‘Except with periods the pain stays about the same, whereas with labour it continues to increase and get worse until the baby is born.’


The reason behind the thinking is that period and childbirth pain are similar as they both originate from the cervix opening. As with childbirth, menstruating also involves contractions.

Period pain occurs when the muscular wall of the womb contracts to encourage the womb lining to shed away as part of your monthly period.

During the heaviest days of our period, the cervix open ups to around one cms to allow the uterine lining to pass.

The continual contractions are usually so mild that most women can’t feel them. but for some, this process involves cramping and intense bursts of pain.


During labour, the cervix needs to open not one cm but around 10 to allow the baby to be born.

‘The initial stages of labour, when the cervix goes from around zero to five centimetres in diameter, are very, very similar to period cramps,’ Fielder tells Mamamia.

‘It tends to be in a cyclical fashion and the contractions come usually every half an hour or every 20 minutes, and it does feel exactly like period pain.

‘I have tested it three times with my children, so I can tell you as a doctor and a mother it’s exactly right.’ She explained the pain comes from the many nerve fibres within the cervix.