What Is Cycle Syncing?
Cycle syncing is one of the latest buzzwords in the natural health and wellness world. It’s said to seriously support hormone health and offer balance to the intense fluctuations in mood, energy, and emotion a woman’s monthly cycle tends to invoke.
Most women have come to accept the roller coaster of emotions that come along each month. If you’re one of countless women who experience extreme ups and downs during their monthly cycle, you might rest a little easier knowing there’s a good reason for the way you feel.
Did you know that your hormone levels fluctuate every single day of your cycle? The ebb and flow of women’s hormones are fluid, changing each and every day. It’s no wonder we can go from crying and insecure one day to charismatic and confident the next…even when we’re not on our periods.
When we begin to better understand our bodies and why we feel a kaleidoscopic cascade of emotions throughout each month, we can start to incorporate ways to naturally help balance out hormones. In turn, this can allow us to bring balance to those unwanted, erratic emotional states. Cycle syncing is something many women are discovering just might help.
What Is Cycle Syncing?
Cycle syncing was created with the constantly shifting hormones women experience throughout each month in mind. The concept of cycle syncing is based on tracking your monthly cycle to gain a deeper awareness of the rise and fall of your hormones each month, and then planning your life around these inevitable hormone fluctuations.
The fluctuations of hormones like estrogen and progesterone each month can seriously impact our sleep, energy, metabolism, and more. Were you aware, for example, that estrogen levels decrease during the first half of a woman’s monthly cycle? Low estrogen is directly related to mood swings, breast tenderness, sadness, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and more. Understanding this, the way we feel throughout each month begins to make a bit more sense.
The idea behind cycle syncing is to become more aware of the hormonal changes that take place each month and making changes to your life that can encourage optimal functioning of the body and mind.
For example, to combat low estrogen levels during the first half of your cycle, you could benefit by consuming foods during this time that promote the production of estrogen. Flax seeds, sesame seeds, berries, peaches, and cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower are all healthy foods known as phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are naturally-occurring plant compounds that behave similarly to estrogen produced in the body. Consuming such foods during the first half of your cycle when estrogen levels are low could help bring back a sense of balance.
How Does Cycle Syncing Work?
Cycle syncing was developed and trademarked by Alisa Vitti, founder of floliving.com. After Vitti was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), she spent over a decade studying women’s menstrual cycles and hormonal health. Over the years of research, she developed the idea of cycle syncing, a concept that allows you to tune into your cycle and understand the best foods to eat, what to drink, when to exercise and when to socialize (and when not to) during the month based on hormone fluctuations.
Here’s how it works.
A woman’s monthly cycle, which is an average of 28 days, is broken down into four different phases, each lasting roughly a week.
- Phase One: Menstruation (days 1-5 approximately)
Menstruation is the phase of a woman’s monthly cycle when the lining of the uterus sheds which causes bleeding. During menstruation, estrogen and progesterone levels are low.
- Phase Two: Follicular Phase (days 6-14 approximately)
During the follicular phase, bleeding stops, and estrogen and progesterone levels begin to rise.
- Phase Three: Ovulation (days 15-17 approximately)
Ovulation is the process of the release of eggs. During this time, estrogen levels are at their highest, and testosterone and progesterone rise.
- Phase Four: Luteal Phase (days 18-28 approximately)
During the luteal phase, estrogen and progesterone levels are elevated. If a woman’s egg has not been fertilized, hormone levels begin to drop, and the menstrual cycle starts over.
How Hormone Fluctuation Affects Women
Ever notice how you seem to get extra hungry a week or two right before your period? It’s not just your imagination, and it’s something you can thank your hormones for. During ovulation and the luteal phase, Vitti says that your metabolism speeds up and caloric needs increase. It’s suggested that these changes can lead to the need for up to 350 more calories a day! No wonder the couple weeks leading up to your period can make you want to eat everything in sight.
Mood highs and lows and a woman’s menstrual cycle go hand in hand. During the luteal phase, stress, sadness, and anger peak as estrogen and progesterone levels fall. During ovulation, however, when estrogen and progesterone levels are high, so are feelings of wellbeing and increased self-esteem.
Socializing and connecting with others is also something Vitti takes into account with cycle syncing. Get this: hormones released during ovulation increase activity in the verbal and social regions of the brain. Ovulation, then, could be a great time to plan get-togethers with friends or schedule meetings and presentations.
Does Cycle Syncing Work?
Every woman’s body is different, and so is their cycle. Beginning to track your cycle with one of the many menstrual tracking apps available is a great place to start when determining if cycle syncing is something that will work for you. Once you’ve begun to track your cycle, you can take notes of any changes in your mood, appetite, energy levels, sleep patterns and anything else you’re aware of. Once you’ve tracked your cycle for a few months, you’ll likely start to notice how you’re feeling during the phases of your menstrual cycle. You can then start to make necessary changes to begin to feel your best.
Keep in mind that cycle syncing is not recommended for women on birth control, as the body’s natural hormones are blocked by the hormones in these contraceptives.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.