5 Best Sleeping Positions to Relieve Period Cramps

Millions of women each month experience excruciating pain and discomfort while menstruating. While several causes contribute to the symptom, one lifestyle habit often affected by this is quality sleep.

Quality sleep is crucial for overall well-being, and it is vital that you find an ideal sleeping position that can help in managing menstrual discomfort. If you are looking for ways to alleviate the pain while getting good quality sleep, you have come to the right place.

This comprehensive guide will take a look at the best sleeping positions to relieve period cramps and enhance the overall sleep experience during menstruation.

What is the Connection Between Sleep and Menstrual Health?

Not just due to the menstrual cramps, several associated factors disrupt the sleep cycle when one is menstruating.

Sleep regulates various bodily functions, including hormone production, metabolism, and immune system activity. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone tend to fluctuate significantly during the menstrual cycle and can influence sleep patterns and overall well-being.

In most cases, the pain and the muscle cramping often make it difficult for most women to relax and catch a good night’s sleep. But that’s not the end of their peril. During menstruation, hormonal changes may lead to disturbances in sleep, contributing to increased sensitivity to pain and discomfort.

This is one of the reasons why adopting sleep-friendly practices and positions is advised by our team at Queen’s Gynecology to minimize the impact of menstrual cramps on sleep quality.

What are the Best Positions for Relieving Period Cramps?

Before we proceed to discuss the best sleeping positions during your menstrual cycle, let us clarify one thing – Sleep is not a miracle worker that will “entirely cure” the pain and discomfort one is experiencing while menstruating.

Adopting ideal sleeping positions allows women with heavy period cramping to seek temporary relief so they can prioritize their sleep instead of lying on the bed in pain and anguish.

Following are some of the best sleeping positions for period cramp relief:

1. Fetal Position

The fetal position is one of the most recommended sleeping positions for women experiencing period cramps. By curling up on your side with your knees drawn toward your chest, you can help alleviate tension in the abdominal muscles and reduce pressure on the pelvis.

Also, for women who experience lower back pain and discomfort during their period, this sleeping position promotes better spine alignment, thereby reducing the pain.

How do I get into this sleeping position?

  • Start by lying down on your side, preferably on the left side.
  • Gradually draw your knees up towards your chest.
  • For added comfort, place a pillow between your knees.

2. Legs Elevated Position

Besides the pain that most women experience alongside period cramps, many women also complain about swelling around their legs and discomfort. Sleeping with the legs in an elevated position boosts blood circulation and significantly reduces swelling.

This position is particularly effective for minimizing bloating and fluid retention, common symptoms during menstruation.

How do I get into this sleeping position?

  • Lie down on the bed on your back.
  • Place a pillow or a cushion underneath your feet to elevate and incline it slightly.
  • Keep your knees bent slightly so as not to strain your spine and back.

3. Sleeping on the Back with a Pillow Under the Knees

If you are looking for a neutral sleeping position that will not deter from what you usually do but also target the symptoms you are experiencing, the addition of a pillow or cushion underneath the knees can do magic. Not only does the sleeping position maintain the natural curvature of the spine, but it also alleviates lower back pain and pelvic pressure, relieving period cramps.

How do I get into this sleeping position?

  • Lie down on the bed on your back like you would usually sleep.
  • Take a pillow or cushion and place it underneath the knees so it easily supports the spine’s natural curvature and relieves some of the pressure from the back.

4. Modified Missionary Position

The modified missionary position is optimal if you are a stomach sleeper and find it more comfortable to have some kind of pressure on your abdomen while sleeping. This position involves placing a pillow under the hips to reduce pressure on the pelvic area and ease menstrual cramps.

How do I get into this sleeping position?

  • Ideally, you want to start with a neutral sleeping position, like lying on the bed.
  • Then, place a pillow under your hips to slightly elevate the position of the hips.
  • If the elevation is too much, you can balance it by using an extra pillow underneath your head.

5. Side Sleeping with Body Pillow

Body pillows are a great addition to your sleeping schedule, especially if you are experiencing pain and discomfort during your periods. Hugging a body pillow while sleeping on your side can help align the spine, reduce tension in the lower back, and alleviate menstrual cramps.

How do I get into this sleeping position?

  • Lie down on the bed on your preferred side. For example, if you sleep on your left side, get into that position first.
  • Place the body pillow alongside you, ensuring that you hug it close to your body, all while ensuring the spinal alignment isn’t hampered.

What are Some Additional Tips to Enhance Sleep Quality During Menstruation?

Besides adopting a healthy and comfortable sleeping position, there are a few additional tips that you can consider to improve your sleep quality.

Some of them include:

  • Use heat therapy to reduce the cramps and pain so that you can have a comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Dehydration can have adverse impacts on the body, especially when you are menstruating. So, prioritize hydration for optimal health.
  • Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or gentle yoga before bedtime to calm the mind and promote restful sleep.
  • Sometimes, your bedding can make or break the situation. So, to ensure a fitful night’s sleep, invest in good-quality bedding.
  • You must have a steady sleeping and bedtime routine and stick to it even during your periods.


Every woman’s experience with their periods is subjective. While some don’t experience any harsh side effects, some women experience debilitating symptoms during those days. Irrespective of the situation, getting good-quality sleep is integral to maintaining optimal well-being and alleviating the symptoms.

If your period cramps are beyond manageable and progressively getting worse, it is not normal and needs medical intervention. Our experienced gynecologists at Queen’s Gynecology are here to assess the underlying complications and offer tailored treatment plans that eliminate the root cause of the pain and discomfort.

For more details, kindly contact our team for appointments.

Kashmera Hazra

Kashmera Hazra

Kashmera Hazra is an engineer turned writer. She is an alumnus of the prestigious university Birla institute of technology, Mesra, and has several international journals and research papers in her name. She worked as a content writer with HealthKart and has over six years of experience in this field.

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