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How the menstrual cycle impacts your energy levels

The way the menstrual cycle impacts your energy levels has to do with shifting hormones, 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. When it’s low, the opposite is true. And 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 called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), 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 off-kilter sleep patterns, which can decrease your energy levels. 

Let’s explore more about how the menstrual cycle and hormones affect your energy levels throughout the four phases.

Changes in energy levels

Menstrual Phase

Between the cramping, bleeding, and hormonal shifts, you’ll likely feel less energized on your period. As your estrogen levels rise, your progesterone levels will drop. Because of this hormonal decline, you may notice a decline in your energy, too. 

Follicular Phase

As estrogen and progesterone levels rise, your energy levels will too. At this point, you may feel like your most productive, energized self! 

Ovulation Phase

Estrogen and testosterone levels peak during ovulation, which can make you feel more energized. 

Luteal Phase

Your progesterone levels will peak then decrease rapidly (if you don’t become pregnant), which may impact your sleep patterns and leave you feeling low on energy. 

Managing your energy levels

During periods of low energy, allow yourself to relax and practice self-care. Utilize this time to do yoga over high-intensity workouts. Go to bed earlier or sleep in to make up for any sleep loss. You can also eat foods that are proven to give you more energy like oranges, bananas, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. Basically, anything with carbs, protein, and fiber can help increase your stamina. 

It also might be helpful to track your period through an app. This way, you’ll know more or less when to expect your most productive and least productive days, and tailor important tasks around your cycle. Having a better understanding of your cycle doesn’t just help you plan for pregnancy, it can also help you plan your workout routine, social calendar, and more. 

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team

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