During ovulation, you’re radiant. Your skin glows, your smile is brighter, and you exude confidence.
So how can it be that your mood and energy come crashing down out of nowhere after ovulation?
If you’re wondering if ovulation can make you tired, the short answer is yes, it can. We discuss what ovulation fatigue means — and the reasons behind it might surprise you.
Hormone Fluctuations Throughout Your Cycle
The first half of your cycle, known as the follicular phase, starts when you get your period. At the beginning of the follicular phase, estrogen levels are low. Estrogen begins to rise towards the end of your period to prepare for ovulation.
The second half of your cycle is the luteal phase. Just before ovulation, estrogen peaks. It’s responsible for signaling the release of luteinizing hormone (LH), which kicks off ovulation. A surge in LH tells the ovarian follicles to release the egg to be fertilized.
After ovulation, estrogen levels begin to drop. If the egg is fertilized, progesterone rises to support pregnancy. If it isn’t, progesterone decreases and you’ll get a period.
Here’s a rundown of hormone fluctuations throughout your cycle:
- Menstrual phase: Both estrogen and progesterone are low
- Follicular phase: Estrogen rises
- Ovulation: Peak estrogen
- Luteal phase: Progesterone is high, estrogen is low.
Abrupt hormonal changes in your cycle can lead to physical and mental changes. Keep reading to discover changes in each phase that can impact you.
How Do Hormone Fluctuations Affect Your Mood?
Ever notice how drastically your moods change throughout your cycle? Last week, you were high-fiving everyone on the cosmetic aisle at Target. Now that your period’s approaching, you’re mean-mugging an unruly toddler in the checkout line.
These mood changes are directly linked to changes in estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen’s primary job is to make a baby, which is why it’s associated with feeling confident and aroused. When estrogen peaks, you feel like a goddess. When it drops off, you may feel sad or kind of blah.
Progesterone’s job is to support a pregnancy. Progesterone peaks near the end of a cycle cause PMS symptoms like feeling moody and easily annoyed.
If you don’t become pregnant in a cycle, progesterone drops off. With low estrogen and progesterone levels, your mood may be at an all-time low during your menstrual period.
Here’s how hormone fluctuations throughout your cycle affect your mood:
- Menstrual phase: low mood
- Follicular phase: increasing energy and confidence
- Ovulation: peak energy, increased sexual arousal, increased sense of smell
- Luteal phase: increased sadness, anxiety, and irritability
How Estrogen Fluctuations Affect Your Body and Mind?
As if the emotional roller coaster from changing hormones isn’t enough, physical changes can impact your mood too.
During your menstrual period, both estrogen and progesterone are low. It’s typical to feel a little gloomy and low on energy. The first week of your menstrual cycle is a good time to take it easy and nourish yourself with healthy food.
As you move through the follicular phase, estrogen levels start to rise. You start getting the energy to begin projects and get moving at the gym.
As you approach ovulation, estrogen levels rise, and your energy and mood peak. Now’s the time to socialize and tackle challenging projects.
It’s also a good time to take that high-intensity workout class you’ve been eyeing.
After ovulation, you may notice an abrupt feeling of tiredness known as ovulation fatigue. A sudden change in hormones during ovulation can leave you feeling sleepy after.
Some people experience nausea during ovulation due to hormonal changes. It’s also possible to feel cold, tired, and hungry during ovulation.
The Science Behind Estrogen and Mood
You may notice a low mood when estrogen drops after ovulation. This is because estrogen increases concentrations of serotonin in the body.
Serotonin is a chemical made in the brain that plays a role in your:
- Sexual desire
- Bone health
When estrogen levels are low, serotonin concentrations drop, and you can have disruptions to these systems.
Estrogen also acts as a pain reliever by activating serotonin to block pain sensations. Have you ever noticed feeling sensitive to pain around your period? It could be due to low estrogen.
Why Do You Feel Tired During Ovulation?
What is the difference between normal tiredness and ovulation fatigue? When you’re ovulating, you experience sudden changes in estrogen levels that can cause extreme tiredness.
We know that low estrogen causes chronic fatigue and mood disturbances in menopausal women. These symptoms may last a long time if hormone imbalances are not corrected.
Ovulation fatigue causes similar symptoms, but for a shorter amount of time. Ovulation lasts about 12-24 hours. Your ovulation fatigue may resolve before you notice it.
During ovulation, you can experience sleepiness due to:
- Hormonal fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
During ovulation, you may feel abruptly tired. It may seem like your body is exhausted from preparing for ovulation to releasing the egg. This is partially true. Hormonal fatigue is a result of sudden estrogen drops after ovulation.
Research shows that estrogen changes may cause sleeping problems.
In one study, researchers found that women slept less at night during their fertile window. Reduced sleep was linked to high energy levels during the day.
Another study found that women of late reproductive age with low estrogen levels had poor sleep quality. Women with sleep disorders like sleep apnea – both premenopausal and menopausal — had poor sleep and low estrogen levels. The study suggests estrogen replacement may improve sleep quality.
You may also experience menstrual insomnia after ovulation due to changing progesterone.
The Sleep Foundation found that high progesterone causes decreased REM sleep. This is the stage that provides quality rest.
Progesterone also causes increased body temperatures, which can lead to restless nights.
Other Ovulation Symptoms Due to Changes in Estrogen
Estrogen rises during the 3-4 days before ovulation. You may notice physical and mental changes that signal ovulation is approaching.
Here are a few ovulation symptoms to watch for:
- Increased sexual desire
- Heightened sense of smell
- Change in the cervical position
- Cervical mucus becomes wet and stretchy like a raw egg white
For more information on how to check ovulation symptoms yourself, check out this video.
Can Tiredness Around Ovulation Be a Sign of Pregnancy?
Not necessarily — it’s too soon to tell.
Ovulation fatigue shows up too early in your cycle to know if you’re pregnant. Implantation occurs around 10 days past ovulation. At this time you may experience implantation symptoms like light bleeding or cramping.
Pregnancy symptoms like fatigue typically show up 16 days past ovulation. This is the best time to take a pregnancy test because your body will have enough Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) levels to confirm pregnancy.
How to Overcome Ovulation Fatigue?
After feeling on top of the world during the days leading up to ovulation, ovulation fatigue can feel like a sudden crash in energy and mood. You can overcome ovulation fatigue by getting to know the patterns in your cycle and planning your life around them. This also helps you discover ways to nourish your body with the right food and movement.
- Cycle Syncing
Cycle syncing is a way to plan your life around your menstrual cycle. But you don’t have to give all your power to Aunt Flo.
Getting in sync with your cycle means understanding how your hormone fluctuations will affect your daily life.
At the beginning of your cycle, plan light activities when your hormones are low. During your fertile window, you may want to be in front of others while your estrogen levels are peaking. If you experience ovulation fatigue, give yourself permission to take it easy for a day.
- Diet and Exercise Throughout Your Cycle
Throughout your menstrual cycle, your nutritional needs change. During your period, you may need to eat more protein and iron-rich foods. When you’re ovulating, you may want to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods to support hormonal changes.
Seed cycling is a way to incorporate seeds into your diet to naturally balance hormones. During the follicular phase, add flax seeds and pumpkin seeds to your meal. In the luteal phase, add sesame sunflower seeds.
Exercise is a natural way to boost serotonin. But remember not to overexert yourself! Consider doing cardio when your energy is high, like the days leading up to ovulation. On ovulation day, you can do yoga or go for a walk to overcome ovulation fatigue.
Know Your Hormone Levels
By now, you probably have an idea of how hormonal changes in your menstrual cycle will impact your life. So how can you be sure what your hormone levels are?
Devices like the Inito monitor make it easy to track your hormones at home. The monitor confirms ovulation and measures hormone levels surrounding it. With the help of the Inito Fertility Monitor, you can measure your estrogen, luteinizing hormone (LH), progesterone metabolite PdG, and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Always remember to talk to your healthcare provider about the best ways to manage your hormones based on your body’s needs.
Now you can begin planning to throw a party — or when to plan a movie night in.
Wrapping It Up
- You may feel tired during ovulation due to sudden hormone changes.
- Low estrogen may cause low energy, gloomy moods, and poor sleep.
- You can combat ovulation fatigue with cycle syncing, diet changes, and exercise.
- Tracking your hormone levels is the best way to confirm ovulation and predict hormone changes.