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Periods never sleep

A new Bodyform campaign, created by AMV BBDO, shines a light into the darkness of period-induced insomnia

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

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Your period has robbed you of 5 months of sleep. New research conducted by Bodyform has unveiled that on average women lose 5 months of sleep over their lifetime due to the discomfort, anxiety and fear of being on their period. 

This period induced sleep gap is the insight which informs the brand’s latest stigma-busting campaign #Periodsomnia which is informed by the lived experience of sleepless nights from women across the globe. 

According to the brand’s research of over 10,000 women across 11 markets, over half (62%) experience poorer sleep while on their periods. While 33% struggle to sleep because of the anxiety around their sanitary products leaking.

This experience - and period concerns at night time - is having a negative impact on women’s lives, as the research shows over half of women (62%) do not enjoy staying overnight at other people’s houses or even going on holiday during their period. 

A fifth (18%) would rather miss out on a date than face someone seeing a stain on their pyjamas or bedsheets. 

It’s time to stop treating women+ like broken pipes which leak. They just have periods. By revealing these universal truths, we tackle the invisibility around the realities of nights spent menstruating to reassure women+ that what they go through is completely normal and that they're not alone in their experiences

Tanja Grubner, FemCare Global Marketing and Communications Director at Essity

Bursting the myth of sleeping beauty 

If the stereotype of women sleeping is the universal myth of sleeping beauty. This campaign brings to life the reality of sleep that is as far away from that mute, perfect, still princess as humanly possible. 

The campaign brings to the surface the lived experience of women bleeding, dreaming, bloating, tossing and turning. The struggle which comes hand in hand with attempting to sleep on your period for a large proportion of women. 

To bring life to this universal, yet wordless experience of womanhood the brand has coined the term ‘periodsomnia’. By putting a name to the experience, women are represented, heard and their experience validated when so many feel alone in their experience. 

Tanja Grubner, FemCare Global Marketing and Communications Director at Essity, explains "For years, society, brands and advertising have presented images of peaceful, restorative sleep, even for those who are menstruating. The reality shown through #Periodsomnia is that it can be more chaotic for some women+. It’s time to stop treating women+ like broken pipes which leak. They just have periods. By revealing these universal truths, we tackle the invisibility around the realities of nights spent menstruating to reassure women+ that what they go through is completely normal and that they're not alone in their experiences.” 

Once again the long-running partnership delivers compassion and community to a fundamental part of women’s lived that has been glossed over or edited out for too long. 

Luciana De Azevedo Lara, FemCare Communications Manager at Essity, added: "Through the campaign, we aim to raise awareness of these underrepresented issues that affect millions of women+ around the world and highlight that there’s no need for women+ to feel ashamed or embarrassed by them. And while we can’t solve all of the experiences that women+ go through, our products are designed to help them feel more protected and comfortable so they can sleep better throughout the night. After all, periods never sleep, but why shouldn’t we?”

I am hoping this film is the beginning of a conversation and understanding of what one experiences at night, every month, when they menstruate. And how truly incredible it is that we then take on the next day just like any other

Kim Gehrig, Director

A love letter to lived experience

The campaign launches with a film directed by Kim Gehrig, which uses thermal imagery to bring to life the truth that periods never sleep. This is the second spot Gehrig has directed for AMV BBDO and Bodform; Gehrig also directed the acclaimed Viva La Vulva campaign in 2018.

Gehrig commented: “As a teenager I would be awake for endless hours on nights that I had my period. I would ask my mother to go to the late-night pharmacy at 3am to get me painkillers. Even though they were a little helpful, those nights were always uncomfortable, lonely and truly exhausting. Yet, in the morning I was expected to go to school and perform like any other day. When I started this project with Libresse, it struck me that I have never discussed these nights with anyone, ever. What it is like to have your period at night? I can only assume that others probably have not either.”

She continued: “I am hoping this film is the beginning of a conversation and understanding of what one experiences at night, every month, when they menstruate. And how truly incredible it is that we then take on the next day just like any other."

The campaign supports the launch of Essity’s latest product, Libresse Goodnight Towels with MaxCour-V adaptive technology, which adapts better to women’s shape and movements to create more reliable absorption and comfort. 

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