Causes of period fatigue and how to fight it
You’re usually a pretty energetic being, then, hello, Aunt Flow, period fatigue hits. Aside from dealing with the cramps, headaches and bloating, is period fatigue natural? Completely.
It’s pretty sciencey stuff that happens down under (sorry) during Aunt Flow’s visit and feeling totally knackered for a week every month is just par for the course. But we get it, and boy are we on your side, period fatigue can really mess with your productivity.
How can you fight period fatigue? Read on.
Why am I so tired during my period?
Cue sciencey stuff: 10 days or so before your period, your body is raring to go in the hopes that the egg you sent down your fallopian tube is met with some (handsome) sperm in your lavish uterus ready to grow a baby. In most cases, when your uterine lining isn’t occupied by a fertilised egg, the hormones prepping your ‘environment’ aren’t needed anymore, causing your hormone levels to plummet.
These roller-coaster changes in your hormones are what makes you so exhausted, but other fatigue-inducing culprits related to your period can include iron deficiency, stress, unhealthy eating habits (why chocolate, why?), and lack of sleep.
What causes fatigue before a period?
So here’s the deal, period fatigue is also a sign of premenstrual symptoms (PMS, for those not in with the lingo). Fatigue before your period is said to be linked to the lack of serotonin that your brain is producing. Serotonin, the happy hormone which regulates your mood, starts to fluctuate as Aunt Flow begins her arrival. This can lead to emotional and mood dips which affect your energy levels.
Other causes of fatigue during PMS can be lack of sleep or disrupted sleep from bloating, cramping, and headaches which can keep you up at night. And not only do you have to contend with that, but changes in your body temperature as your hormones gear up, can make it more difficult for you to sleep.
5 Tips to fight period fatigue
There’s not much you can do about your body’s natural cycle, but the good news is that your energy levels will most likely settle about two weeks after the start of your period.
In the meantime, try these tips to keep awake and beat the fatigue:
1. Energise your diet
Eating a balanced, regular diet helps keep your blood sugar stable, which helps keep you energised and reduces the period shakes.
2. Hydrate your body
Dehydration can make you feel tired and lethargic, and may also make other PMS symptoms worse. Eight glasses a day keeps the yawns away. (Yes, we just made that up).
3. Get active (even if you don’t want to)
Exercise boosts energy levels and eases PMS symptoms. Just ease up on the reps before bed; otherwise, you’ll find it harder to fall asleep.
4. Lights out early
It’s really important to get more sleep during your period as your body is going through a lot and needs all the rest it can get. Ensure your bedroom is a sanctuary of sleep. That means phones off, your bedroom is cool, and the outside world stays out.
5. Say no to caffeine
As your body recalibrates your womb, you’re most likely already going to have sleep disruptions and adding caffeine to the mix… bye-bye z’s.
The importance of self-care
Fighting period fatigue all comes down to self-care. In most cases, getting exercise, eating healthy foods, staying hydrated, and mastering a healthy bedtime routine can keep your energy levels up and help improve your sleep.
However, if Aunt Flow is really cramping (again, sorry) your style and you’re experiencing more severe bouts of fatigue leading to sleeplessness, you may want to chat to your doctor to assist with period insomnia.