How to use your hormonal cycle to optimise your work schedule?



We all know that women’s hormonal cycle is very different to men’s, but women have had to graciously adjust to work schedules and productivity approaches designed for men. As a result, many women are not well informed on what their hormones are doing at different times of the month. They believe that their cycle is something that puts them out of energy for the week, when it should be seen as a tool used to optimize a work schedule for the month.


As Alisa Vitti, a women’s menstrual health expert, said during a Forbes interview: “Women are seeking to shift the imbalances created by the patriarchy, we must stop modeling our lives on a masculine biochemical 24-hour schedule. It’s time to work based on a female paradigm of productivity, success and fulfillment.”


Here’s a break up of the 4 phases of the menstrual cycle and how you can use it to your advantage:


Phase 1: Menstruation (1-7 days)


No matter what the calendar says, this is when your month starts. You get your period; estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels, causing you to feel less energized and reduced mental speed.


During this phase you should be creating your to-do list for the month, and learning from last month's highs and lows. You should also hold off on any big meetings, social outings and complicated tasks, until next week.


Phase 2: Follicular (8–14 days)


Estrogen is rising all throughout this phase, and so is your energy. High estrogen levels make you braver, more confident, and more productive. This is the time to bring out your inner superstar.


This phase is great for client dinners, networking and big events, as you will be your best self.


If you want to ask for a raise this is the best time to do it!


Phase 3: Ovulation (15-22 days)


Your third week is split into 2 parts. In the first half, estrogen and testosterone drop, and you may feel fatigue and irritability. In the second half, estrogen rises again, decreasing the symptoms of the previous drop.


While all of that is happening, progesterone is rising throughout the week. As it does, it makes you more physically fatigued, more cautious and slows you down overall. This is the week where you might experience a burst of sadness or crying.


During this week you should accomplish the more complex tasks at the beginning of the week, as you will be more focused, since progesterone levels are not at its peak yet. You should also make sure you are eating regularly because you are more sensitive to a drop in blood sugar this week because of progesterone.


**on the upside you burn 30% more fat if you exercise during this week**


Phase 4: Luteal Phase (23-28 days)


The last week of your cycle. The week before your period. This is when both estrogen and progesterone are dropping, potentially dragging your mood down with them.

Generally, decreasing estrogen will make you more critical, pessimistic and weary. You will prefer the safer option, and be less courageous.


In this phase you should focus on completing tasks and finishing up details of execution. Things like administrative tasks and all the essential (and boring) things adults have to do anyway.


How does sleep factor in?


To be able to use your hormonal cycle as an optimisation tool, you first have to ensure they are balanced, and this is where sleep comes in. Sleep affects hormone levels, and hormone levels affect sleep.


During different phases of the menstruation cycle sleep can be disrupted for different reasons. Some women may lose sleep during phase 2 due to all the extra energy, and high levels of fatigue during phase 3 and 4 because of low estrogen and high progesterone levels, which may result in needing more sleep.


A study evaluating the changes in sleep patterns across the phases of the menstruation cycle has shown that there was a significant decrease in sleep efficiency and quality during the late luteal phase.


Menstruation cycles are not the only hormonal changes that women have to go through in their lifetime. There are other important factors which cause hormonal fluctuations, such as pregnancy, postpartum and menopause.


This is where workplaces can support women. A great way for companies to show their support and encourage women in the workplace is to understand their hormone cycle and provide them with tools to help them during different phases.


A sleeping pod can be very handy here!


If you are interested in a sleeping pod, find out more about Rest Space here.

Get in touch if you want to improve your working environment for women through a sleeping pod.