PCOS and Sleep: How to Get a Good Night's Sleep When you Have PCOS
Despite it being a hot topic within the wellbeing industry these last few years, sleep remains an underrated essential where health is concerned.
Good quality sleep helps to reduce our risk of illness, sharpen our memory, and regulate our emotions. There's no question – sleep should be a top priority if we want our bodies and minds to operate optimally. However, actually getting a good night's sleep isn't as straightforward as it may sound when you have PCOS.
Research suggests that people who have PCOS may be increasingly likely to experience sleep disturbances. And, frustratingly, the link between PCOS and poor sleep may be bidirectional as well, meaning that whilst PCOS symptoms may cause disrupted sleep, it's also likely that inadequate or poor quality sleep enhances the severity of symptoms, too. As with most elements of PCOS, the relationship between symptoms and sleep quality isn't fully understood. What we do know, however, is that getting quality sleep as often as possible is ideal. So, that in mind, here are 6 ways you can set yourself up for a good night's sleep tonight...
How to get a good night's sleep when you have PCOS
1. Create a bedtime routine
Will a solid bedtime routine rid you of PCOS-related sleep disturbances? Probably not. But, it will help to prepare your body and mind for bedtime, so you may find it easier to fall and stay asleep.
One important element of many (anecdotally, at least) successful sleep routines is setting – and sticking to – a bed time and a wake-up time. Yes, even on the weekends. This helps to promote a healthy circadian rhythm (your internal sleep-wake cycle that's driven by external cues, such as daylight), meaning your body knows when to feel tired and when to feel energetic.
Your bedtime routine should also contain a wind-down ritual that encourages your body and mind to relax. This could involve meditation, journalling, reading, stretching, listening to soothing music, or spritzing lavender-scented pillow spray – whatever helps you to feel calm.
2. Make your bedroom a tech-free zone
Research has found that blue light – the kind that's emitted from phones and iPads - can actually suppress the release of melatonin, a hormone that makes us feel sleepy. This means that when we watch TikToks before bed (no judgement) we're actually making ourselves more alert and less primed for quality sleep.
Our advice? Turn your tech off at least an hour before bedtime and leave gadgets in a different room overnight, if possible, to avoid the temptation to scroll.
3. Write your worries down
Studies have found that anxiety is common in PCOS sufferers, which means that many struggle to drift off due to a busy mind. If that's you, consider doing a worry dump before bed to help clear your mind.
In your journal, note down everything that has been playing on your mind and that couldn't prevent you from falling asleep with ease – regardless of how small or insignificant some of the worries may seem. For each anxiety, answer the following questions:
- Are you worried about it? (If the answer is yes, continue. If no, put the thought to rest.)
- Can you do anything about it? (If the answer is yes, continue, but if no, try to forget about it.)
- Can you do anything about it right now? (If the answer is yes, do it, and if not, postpone the thought until the next day.)
4. Exercise during the day
Exercise is not only a great aid to PCOS sufferers and their wellbeing, but also to their sleeping patterns too. Research indicates that working out during the day can help you sleep better at night and with less disturbances. However, it’s important not to exercise too close to bedtime – this can have the opposite desired outcome.
5. Style the perfect sleep environment
Invest in a good quality mattress that supports your frame, plus pillows and a duvet that suit your sleep style. Opt for bedding made from natural fibres for comfort and temperature regulation, and be sure to block out any light pollution using blackout window dressings and an eye mask.
6. Seek supportIf you have PCOS and you struggle with sleep disruptions don't suffer in silence – seek support from your healthcare provider. They will be able to assist you in exploring the best solutions for you.