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How to to get through cycle-related tiredness

Notes on feeling energized during those moments of low energy

Tiredness is usually your body’s way of saying, Hold up, slow down, I need a minute. We don’t always listen (we see you, determination) but sometimes—especially during our menstrual cycle—it’s important to tune in, act accordingly, and get the right menstrual products

6 min read | March 19, 2022

Why am I tired during my menstrual cycle?

Menstrual cycle symptoms can vary from period anxiety and cramps to tiredness and fatigue. For some, this menstrual phase symptom might be tiredness, for others, it might be exhaustion (remember that different bodies experience different feelings throughout their menstrual phase cycles). Usually, this lack of energy is associated with when we are premenstrual. This symptom is because of hormonal changes and fluctuations.

It all starts in the Follicular Phase. If you are wondering, what is the follicular phase, we got you. In the follicular phase of our cycle (typically the first two weeks, it could be shorter or longer), our estrogen hormone levels increase. These hormonal changes are associated with high energy levels. When estrogen hormonal levels begin to drop after ovulation, energy levels drop too leading to heavy period fatigue. 

Let’s not forget progesterone, what is progesterone? It is the hormone sometimes known as the ‘sleepy’ hormone. Progesterone levels increase after ovulation (when estrogen levels are low), which can make you feel extreme fatigue.

What can I do to help my period fatigue?

First of all, let’s remember it’s totally fine for you to feel tired. It’s okay to rest, sleep, watch Netflix and chill (that kind of chill, too - more on that here.) But, as a person leading a busy, badass life sometimes we'll want to find ways to up our energy levels. So here are a few ways to manage menstrual fatigue.

#1: Movement

Heads up: some days you might feel like running to Lizzo (just us?), others some stretching can be all your body calls for. During the follicular phase when energy levels—and estrogen levels—are higher could be the time for higher intensity workouts. While the luteal phase (when progesterone levels are higher then drop) might be the time for gentle movement. A 2014 study looked at how aerobic exercise (any type of cardio) affected 30 young women during their cycle. Those who exercised three times a week over the three months showed a significant reduction in cycle-related tiredness. Science backed this up: they had improved blood health and increased hemoglobin levels, too. 

For more tired bodies, here’s one of co-founder Ashley’s favorite stretch poses to do: 

“In the morning I do a forward bend while still in bed, and I like doing the cat cow to wake up, mid day a neck roll, hip and knee reflection stretch and hamstring stretch, especially if I am sitting at my desk all day.”

Ashley Greene Butterfly Pose
Ashley Greene Supported Bridge Pose

#2: Sleep 

Ever heard of sleep hygiene? It’s a thing and it can really help manage tiredness levels during your heavy period cycle. Because of the hormonal imbalance (particularly progesterone levels during the luteal phase), it can be difficult to get to sleep before and during menstruation. But finding a nightly routine that calms you can help you to develop a pattern for your sleep. And not that we need to point this out, but sleep is a pretty good way to curb tiredness. You could try meditation, breathing exercises, taking magnesium before bed, having a warm bath before bed or reducing screen time before bed too. 

#3: Hydrate

If you’re reading this, take a sip of water. Staying hydrated is crucial for maintaining energy levels and avoiding menstrual fatigue (and also for homeostasis, which is a self-regulating process so our bodies can maintain hydration). Water makes up over two-thirds of our bodies, so it’s no surprise that not drinking enough water can make us feel tired. So remember to carry a water bottle, drink water regularly, sip water when you’re working out, and stay hydrated before and after sleep.


About Author

Your hormones can be complex and unpredictable. That’s why we’re here, on The Regular, to do what’s long overdue - to demystify what’s going on with our reproductive systems, our hormones and our whole cycle.

We’re here to support your day-to-day queries serving useful content that is uncomplicated and unbiased. No topic is too complicated or too specific for us to address/focus on.

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