Can you sleep with a tampon in? A doctor shares their advice

When you’re on your period, there’s nothing quite like getting cosy and sleeping those cramps away.

But when you tuck yourself into bed at night, you’re faced with the monthly dilemma: is it safe to sleep in a tampon, or should you switch to sanitary pads, or period pants?

You’ve changed too many bed sheets to know you need some protection, but we’ve all read the somewhat scary – and very real – information about toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

We spoke to Dr Susanna Unsworth, women’s health expert for INTIMINA, to figure out what the deal is when it comes to sleeping with a tampon in.

She says: ‘Safety advice regarding tampons is that they can be worn for up to a maximum of eight hours.

‘If they are worn for longer than eight hours, it increases the risk of toxic shock syndrome – a serious, but rare infection process causing septicemia.

‘Therefore, if you spend less than eight hours a night in bed, they can potentially be worn to sleep overnight.’

Dr Susanna does warn that even if you’re not getting eight-hours shut eye, you should still pick your tampon carefully.

‘You should also wear the lowest absorbency tampon for your flow,’ she says.

Planning on having a lie in? Best to stick with something else. Or do you know you oversleep often and struggle to get out of bed? Again, don’t risk it.

In fact, even though it’s technically okay to do wear a tampon for bed for less than eight hours, Dr Susanna still isn’t keen on the practice.

‘As a health professional, I would generally advise avoiding sleeping with a tampon in,’ she says.

‘Using an alternative sanitary product overnight, to break the cycle of tampon use, is a good way of maintaining menstrual hygiene, which can reduce the risk of infection and TSS.

‘You also reduce the risk of going over the eight hour limit, in case you accidentally over-sleep or have the luxury of a lie in.

‘I have also had patients who have forgotten they wore a tampon overnight, and therefore forget to remove it the next day.

‘This can be a particular problem towards the end of your period and could result in issues with a retained tampon for a much longer period of time, which significantly increases the risk of infection.’

Instead, she recommends wearing pads, which ‘are the safest product to wear overnight’. You could ideally considering reusable pads or period pants to reduce the environmental impact.

‘You can wear the level of absorbency suitable for your flow at the time,’ she adds.

Well, there you have it. You can wear them, but you might want to think twice about doing so.

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