The correlation of menstrual cycle with energy levels

Changes in energy levels and mood are common before and during the menstrual cycle. Mood and energy levels consistently change due to hormonal shifts during the whole cycle. This is one of the major reasons why a few women may find that they are more productive during certain weeks than others. Going through a full menstrual cycle can be associated with all kinds of symptoms, some of which are more noticeable than others. Let’s explore the sequence of events our body goes through each month and learn more about identifying these changes so you can maximize your mood and productivity during different stages in your cycle.

What are the different phases of the menstrual cycle?

The first thing to understand is that a typical menstrual cycle lasts around 28 to 32 days on average and has different phases caused by rising and falling levels of hormones: 

·         The menstrual phase  

·         The follicular phase 

·         Ovulation 

·         The luteal phase 

How does the menstrual cycle impact your energy levels?      

As discussed earlier, the way the menstrual cycle impacts your energy levels due to varying hormone levels, primarily estrogen and progesterone. Because your estrogen level and energy level are aligned, they rise and fall together. When estrogen is high, you’re likely feeling high energy and vice versa. Since estrogen is linked to cortisol and testosterone levels, which naturally increase energy levels, hormonal fluctuation can impact your productivity throughout your cycle. 

When progesterone is high, you may notice an increase in your energy levels. Progesterone is responsible for stimulating your brain to produce a neurotransmitter, which can make you feel drowsier and may help you sleep better. In turn, more sleep typically means higher energy levels. When progesterone is low, though, you may experience disturbed sleep patterns, which can decrease your energy levels.

Although hormone and energy levels may vary differently for everyone who menstruates, the general pattern of these hormonal aberrations is more or less the same.

Week 1: As soon as the periods start, estrogen and progesterone levels drop to their lowest. With time, the levels gradually begin to rise and resultantly it is easier to stay active than in the next two weeks. Experiencing cramps is also pretty common during this time. It is suggested that the first few days of periods are a time for relaxation rather than fast-paced activity.

Week 2: In the week after your period ends, the energy levels might begin to go up and as a result, one starts to feel happier and more energized. Estrogen levels begin rising quickly in preparation for ovulation releasing an egg from the ovary, preparing the body for a potential pregnancy.

Week 3: For most women, about two weeks before the next period, estrogen levels peak around the time of ovulation. When estrogen levels fall quickly after ovulation and progesterone levels begin rising, one may feel more tired or sedentary than usual.

Week 4: In the week before the next period, one may feel less energy as both estrogen and progesterone levels are falling. For most women, this is the most problematic part of the cycle. This is because progesterone has a “depressant” effect when compared to estrogen, and may lead to low energy and low mood. Physical activity may help premenstrual symptoms (PMS) get better even if the energy levels are low. 

How to manage low-energy days?

Feeling tired or lacking energy is something we all experience from time to time – whether we have periods or not! In other words, low-energy days might not always be connected to hormones. However, if you notice that your low-energy days align with the relevant days of your cycle, there are some things you can do to combat symptoms.

·         Listen to your body: If you wake up feeling tired, try to avoid pushing yourself too hard with work, chores or physical exertion of any sort.

·         Prioritize good sleep: Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each night, and practice good sleep hygiene to ensure a good night sleep. 

·         Don’t skip exercise: Exercise can boost your energy levels, so don’t skip it altogether. Avoid strenuous exercise and replace it with something gentler, like swimming or yoga. 

·         Try relaxation techniques: There are a number of relaxation techniques like guided breathing, meditation, yoga and warm baths to help release stress and muscle tension.

·         Eat regularly: Rather than having three main meals a day, you might find that eating several small meals and healthy snacks is more suitable. This keeps you more sustained and energetic and caters to all the junk food cravings. 

·         Avoid excessive caffeine: When you feel tired, avoid overdoing the coffee and tea as this can disrupt your sleep and make you feel more tired. 

If your mood and energy levels are really affected by your hormones, particularly during periods, it’s worth speaking to your physician. Your menstrual cycle is more than just your period; it’s the sequence of events that occurs in your body each month. Recognizing how your body responds to each phase of your cycle can help you identify physical and behavioral patterns that occur throughout the month, allowing you to reach peak productivity while maximizing self-care.