Let’s face it: periods are rarely a picnic.
Symptoms like tenderness, mood swings, and spots can all occur in the lead up to your period, the NHS says. And many of us experience fatigue, too.
But if you’ve noticed that that time of the month has made you especially sleepy recently, Active Iron’s pregnancy advisor Avril Flynn spoke about the company’s study which revealed that colder weather can exacerbate symptoms.
“With the winter on the horizon and colder weather starting to creep in, research reveals that it is common for you to experience period fatigue in the winter weather more than any other time of year,” she revealed.
Here are six reasons why riding the red wave might be especially exhausting right now:
1) Seasonal Affective Disorder
The condition can enhance the fatigue many of us feel while on our period, Flynn says. “SAD is associated with reduced exposure to natural sunlight, which can disrupt circadian rhythms and affect mood. This can increase the fatigue experienced during menstruation,” she says.
2) Our diets change
As the cold weather creeps in, many of us crave high-sugar and high-carb comfort food (I had my first beans on toast of the year last night). And while this may soothe us in the short-term, it can play havoc on our periods as they can “cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, leading to energy crashes and increased feelings of fatigue.”
3) Less light can make your periods rougher, too
Get sleepy around your period? Natural light might be to blame for extra fatigue in winter, the pros say: “Shorter daylight hours and less exposure to natural light during the winter can disrupt sleep patterns and the body’s internal clock. This change can lead to poor sleep quality, and an increased feeling of fatigue.”
4) We exercise less in colder weather
I’ve been threatening to go for a run for about a month now, and have never done it. This is common in the colder months, Flynn says, but “since physical activity improves circulation and releases endorphins, it can help reduce fatigue. When physical activity decreases, the symptoms of period fatigue are increased.”
5) We’re more stressed
Cold weather leads to greater stress for most of us ― the NHS points out that ” “colder temperatures can make doing everything harder, increased time indoors can cause stressful interactions with others, and for many the run-up to Christmas heightens that stress and anxiety.”
This “Stress can amplify period symptoms, including fatigue, making it more difficult to manage during the winter months,” Flynn says.
6) We’re dehydrated
It can be harder to remind yourself to drink water while it’s pouring rain outside than it is during a heatwave. But Flynn says that “Dehydration can lead to feelings of tiredness and, in turn, increase period fatigue” ― so let’s all agree to drink our water, shall we?
“To try and reduce period fatigue during the colder months, it’s essential to make self-care a priority and keep up healthy habits,” experts at Active Iron say.
“This can include maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, incorporating gentle exercise into your routine, managing stress through relaxation techniques, and ensuring you get enough exposure to natural light, especially in the mornings.”