Why Your Dreams Get Wild Right Before Your Period

Most women will tell you that PMS and their menstrual cycles take a toll on their day-to-day lives. In fact, over 90% of women report uncomfortable bloating, painful cramping, mood swings, and headaches before and during their cycles, according to the Office on Women's Health. However, there is one symptom that hasn't always been connected to PMS: wild dreams. 


Women all over the world report that they experience adrenaline-pumping dreams just before they begin their menstrual cycles. For many, the dreams they experience are intense and include anything from fighting flame-throwing monsters to scaling death-defying heights by jumping out of spaceships. These dreams get our hearts racing, leaving most waking abruptly in sweaty relief that it was all a dream. Now that so many women are making this connection to their cycles, doctors have an explanation as to why these might be occurring so close to our time of the month.

Causes of intense pre-menstrual dreaming

Experts at Yale Medicine agree that there are many causes of this disruption in rest. Estrogen and progesterone are hormone relatives who are blamed for wreaking havoc before and during a woman's cycle. The progesterone levels of a person tend to lower right before her menstrual cycle begins making sleep difficult. In addition, low estrogen can result in women feeling too warm for comfortable sleep. These hormones have been known to kick into gear and disrupt the REM (rapid eye movement) cycle, where our deepest sleep occurs (via PopSugar). 


According to the Sleep Foundation, most people have about ten minutes of REM stage sleeping each time they achieve it, and others have up to an hour. The Sleep Foundation defines REM as "a stage of sleep associated with dreaming and memory consolidation." If disruptions occur during REM, people may have fewer dreams, but they do tend to remember their dreams better because they are abruptly removed from REM (via Medical News Today). Although the dreams women are reporting are entertaining, most are frustrated and want a solution for interrupted rest. The good news is that there is plenty they can do to experience peaceful sleep.

Ways to get better sleep during PMS

It's true that women cannot change the effects that estrogen and progesterone have on their lives, but there are ways to set up a better chance at sleep before and during menstrual cycles.

Sleep researchers recommend winding down earlier in the evening. Creating and keeping a bedtime routine will help the body prepare for rest. Actions like an evening bath with lavender essential oils, a nightly skincare routine, and a scheduled quiet reading time tell the body that it's time to rest for the evening. Most doctors recommend getting at least seven hours of sleep (via the Sleep Foundation). By getting ready for bed sooner, women can achieve this goal easier.


Other experts suggest staying away from electronic screens for at least 30 minutes before sleep. The blue lights from electronics can be damaging to restfulness, and social media tends to get people's minds spinning, stressing some to the point of anxiousness.

Finally, doctors at Yale Medicine say that exercise is the best weapon against hormones wreaking havoc on our sleep schedules. Exercising lessens the effects of the hormones and gets our bodies tired enough for seven to eight full hours of blissful dreaming. Although adrenaline-pumping dreams can be entertaining to retell in our waking hours, all people are better off well-rested. The next time you wake up from a fire-throwing zombie mudslide, estrogen and progesterone may be responsible.