Are you on birth control and noticing a change in your sleep habits? Listen up. While 65 percent of women in the United States are on birth control for various reasons from pregnancy prevention to treating acne, there are also some downsides, specifically its effects on sleep health.
While the benefits of birth control are well-documented in preventing unwanted pregnancies and managing various health conditions, its potential impact on sleep remains an area of interest and concern.
As birth control continues to develop and more types become available, women now have more options of birth control to suit their lifestyle and needs. Along with this, since sleep is such an important pillar of our health, we wanted to know how different types can affect sleep from hormonal oral contraceptives to non-hormonal copper IUDs.
All things sleep and birth control are swirling through social media from people sharing their own experiences to informational videos on how birth control can prevent you from falling asleep and staying asleep.
We had an array of questions on this topic so we brought in some experts to learn more about how certain methods of birth control can affect sleep. Along with this, we wanted to know how women could treat certain sleeping problems while on birth control or find alternatives that work best for them. If you are in need of a new contraceptive solution, we are here to help!
Can Birth Control Actually Affect Sleep? An Expert Weighs In
Given women expressing their worries about the impact of birth control on their sleep, we aimed to figure out whether birth control was responsible or if other factors in their lives could be influencing the situation.
We spoke with Dr. Monte Swarup, who is a board certified OB/GYN and the founder of a leading HPV information site known as HPV HUB. Swarup confirmed that birth control does have an affect on sleep as it is a side effect of the pill, but one that is rare.
In some cases, birth control can cause insomnia due to the temperature changes in a woman’s body when she takes the pill. Specifically, hormonal oral contraceptives mainly affect the body’s basal temperature. With this, Swarup said one’s body temperature will rise slowly each month instead of just elevating when one has normal ovulation when not on birth control.
“This can be an impact of the drug,” he told Sleepopolis. “Any time there are hormonal changes body temperature can also be affected which has an impact on sleep quality.”
Due to the abundance of available birth control options, each form is associated with distinct side effects based on the hormonal changes that come with taking it.
“Research shows that hormonal birth control increased sleepiness in the daytime,” he said. “People using progestogen-only birth control slept less than combined type of birth control.”
So, if you think this is the case for you, what’s left to do? Swarup provided us with potential approaches to explore if you suspect that your birth control might be affecting your sleep health negatively.
He suggested monitoring when you take the pill, considering a new type of birth control, and even limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption. Since hormonal contraceptives might be doing the most harm to one’s sleep, a non-hormonal contraceptive is always an available option such as a copper IUD.
Don’t just think if you’re having trouble sleeping while on the pill, it’s a normal side effect you just have to deal with. It’s important to evaluate how your body is reacting to the pill and then see if more suitable options are available for your body and lifestyle.
Swarup, Monte. Personal Interview. July 24, 2024.