Abstract Background Menstrual pain is a common problem in women of reproductive age and often interferes with the ability to work and with general well-being. Because painful conditions frequently affect sleep, we investigated the impact of this menstrual disorder on sleep patterns in adult women. Additionally, we examined whether medications used to alleviate menstrual pain promoted changes in sleep. Methods According to their hormone profiles and menstrual histories, a total sample of 24 women (25–48 years old) who were experiencing their menstrual periods on the day of the polysomnogram (PSG) were included in the study. All of the participants answered questions regarding the presence of menstrual pain and use of medication. Results Menstrual pain was reported by 66.6% of the women on the night of the PSG. No marked effects were observed on the sleep pattern of these subjects compared with women without menstrual pain. The use of medication did not promote significant changes in the sleep pattern. None of the women were taking oral contraceptives. Conclusions The presence of menstrual pain or the use of medication to alleviate pain did not significantly alter sleep patterns. Thus, the results suggest that the presence of self-described menstrual pain does not affect sleep patterns in adult women.