Chances are, if you’re reading this article while also adulting in this fast-paced world, you probably know what it’s like to feel tired, or even exhausted, from time to time - particularly before your period. We’re here to remind you that this is a normal, natural part of being a human, rather than a machine.
However, if you’re experiencing more than the odd afternoon of drowsiness, you may want to look a little deeper and figure out what’s driving the drowse.
Read on to discover:
- How to tell if your tiredness is normal or not;
- The hormones that may be involved;
- Other factors to consider;
- Our favourite natural energy-boosting remedies.
Pre-Period Fatigue: What's Normal?
It is 100% natural to feel a noticeable drop in your energy in the days before your period, and the first few days of bleeding, as your oestrogen levels dip down to their lowest point. (We’ll break down why further down in this blog so keep reading!)
In fact, a week or so before your period begins, you are likely to feel more inclined to snuggle up at home than hit the town, and you may feel a bit lower in energy and in need of more sleep.
After your period begins and oestrogen starts to increase again, your energy levels should also be on the up, and you can expect to feel a little more lively around days 2-3.
And what certainly isn't normal...
The ‘pre-period’ fatigue we just mentioned, should be just that, ‘pre-period.’ Struggling with energy levels 2 or 3 weeks out of 4 in the month is a sign that your body, hormones and energy production may need some attention.
Other signs of fatigue that you’ll want to watch out for are:
- Getting a good 8 hours of sleep each night yet struggling to make it through the day.
- Relying on pick-me-ups like coffee, sugary foods or energy drinks for a buzz.
- Your ‘3pm slump’ has turned into more of an ‘all day erryday slump’.
- Waking up regularly feeling like you’ve had a night on the tequila, when you were really you were in bed by 9pm, sans liquor.
- Finding it difficult to wake up in the morning, but struggling to fall asleep at night.
- Feeling as though you don’t have the energy for even gentle exercise. Heck, just walking upstairs feels like a workout!
The reality is that feeling tired all the time has become so common for many of us that we accept this foggy state as ‘normal’. Sure, it may be common. But that doesn’t make it normal.
How do hormones affect energy levels?
Hormones are natural chemical messengers inside the body that tell your cells what to do, how to function and what kinds of things to prioritise.
Naturally, hormones are a pretty big deal when it comes to telling our cells where to focus their energy. A few key hormones worth noting are:
- Oestrogen: which contributes towards our ‘get up and go’ drive, and is beneficial for our energy levels in the right amounts. Oestrogen is at its lowest in the few days before your period begins (hence why you may feel sleepier during this time), but begins to rise shortly after.
- Testosterone: it’s not just the muscle-inducing Popeye hormone, and it’s not just for dudes. This hormone plays a key role in strength, energy, sex drive, bone health and cognitive function for all humans.
- Cortisol: As well as being a stress hormone, cortisol is also our primary daytime hormone, keeping us awake and energised during the day. Low cortisol can result in a deep, relentless fatigue that feels as though no amount of sleep will fix, a weaker immune system and a tendency towards low blood sugar levels.
other factors that may be involved
Outside of hormones, there may be other factors behind your fatigue, such as:
- Not getting quality sleep.
- Not eating enough. Food is literally fuel, how can we expect to have energy if we aren’t getting enough of the right kind of fuel?
- Over-exercising, which is understandably super taxing on your energy stores.
- Not drinking enough water.
- Nutrient deficiencies: of particular importance for energy levels are iron (many menstruating women could benefit from an iron supplement), B vitamins, omega–3 fatty acids, and vitamin D.
What you can do about it
Whether you experience odd days or ongoing weeks of low energy, it’s important to have natural ways to support your energy supplies, mood, concentration and general ability to do life.
Here are some of our favourite natural energy supports:
As mentioned above, B vits are essential for great energy. They work as catalysts in the body, converting the food you eat into energy.
Hormonally speaking, vitamin B2 also plays a role in hormone production by the adrenal glands (important for energy and sex hormone balance), while studies show that vitamin B6 supports mood, brain health, PMS and more.
If you suspect that your fatigue is hormonal, we invite you to take a look at balancing your sex hormone levels. Vitex is the OG hormone-balancing herb, and has been used for centuries to balance and regulate the menstrual cycle by optimising ovulation. Happy ovulation = a happy period with less fatigue. Needless to say, we added a LOT of Vitex to Period Pal 😉
Our favourite thing about this herb is its ability to provide an immediate energy boost. 200mgs of a good quality Panax ginseng will feel much like your morning flat white, sans the jitters and adrenaline rush.
This well renowned, antioxidant-rich herb has also been used for centuries as a support for mental clarity, immunity and both physical and mental fatigue.
Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that works to charge up your inner batteries, supporting better energy levels long term and bolstering your ability to cope with life’s smorgasbord of stressors.
This reduces occurrences of fatigue, exhaustion, brain fog, burnout and anxiety and also supports exercise performance, mental clarity, mood and vitality.
If sleep is your nemesis and you lie awake at night with eyes narrowed angrily staring at the passing hours let us introduce you to kava. This herb originates from the Pacific Islands and works fast (some people say as quickly as 15 minutes!) to tap you into island time. It calms the mind, soothes stress and anxiety and supports peaceful sleep.
Our Chill Pills contain high-strength kava from Vanuatu and have been referred to as ‘magic in a bottle to calm the body!’
Feeling tired before your period is normal for a day or so, but if your fatigue is lingering for longer it may be time to dig deeper and investigate the root cause. Check out our Stress & Energy Quiz to get a better idea of your energy levels.
But regardless of whether you’re dealing with odd days or ongoing weeks of low energy, we recommend having natural ways to support your energy supplies, mood, concentration and general ability to do life on hand. Which is exactly why we created Morning Person.