Infradian Rhythm: The hidden key to hormonal health

Understanding the Infradian Rhythm in Women: The Hidden Key to Hormonal Health

When we talk about biological rhythms, we are normally familiar with the circadian rhythm, our 24-hour internal clock governing sleep and wakefulness and inherent to all of us. However, there's another equally important rhythm that plays a crucial role in women's health: the infradian rhythm - or the female body’s second clock. Unlike the circadian rhythm that affects both genders, the infradian rhythm specifically impacts women, governing the menstrual cycle and influencing various bodily functions over a period of about a month. Ignoring or being unaware of this rhythm can have significant repercussions on a woman's hormonal health. For this reason, women shouldn’t follow exactly the same routine everyday - that works for male physiology but not for female physiology, and that’s why 50% of women are suffering from hormonal imbalances. It’s important to note that both infradian and circadian rhythms are linked and may support or disrupt each other: a dysregulated infradian rhythm will mess with your circadian cycle, and vice versa. For this reason, using phase-based self-care supports our month-long hormone cycle as well as our 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. 

What is the Infradian Rhythm?

The infradian rhythm is a biological rhythm that lasts longer than a day. For women, the most familiar infradian rhythm is the menstrual cycle, which typically spans 28 days (though it can vary). During this period, there are significant (and normal) hormonal fluctuations  that affect mood, cognition, energy levels, body temperature, metabolism, sleep cycle, immunity, and your overall reproductive system..

Why is it Important?

  1. Holistic Health: Understanding the infradian rhythm can provide a holistic approach to women's health. By synchronizing with these natural hormonal shifts, women can optimize their energy levels and cognition through smart variations on their diet & supplements, fitness routine, work focus, rest periods & sleep routine, thereby maximizing their overall daily well-being throughout the month.
  2. Stress Management: Cortisol levels rise and fall across the infradian cycle, and pushing the body in the wrong time increases stress and inflammation, disrupting hormones, and promoting anxiety and lack of focus. Stress directly disrupts hormonal balance, leading to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, fibroids and even infertility.
  3. Optimal Physical Performance: Women's metabolic rate, HRV, energy levels and fitness recovery vary across their menstrual cycle. By adjusting workouts to suit these shifts—for example, focusing on intense exercises during the later follicular phase and more restorative practices right before and during  menstruation—women can achieve better results, upkeep their vitality and reduce the risk of injury.
  4. Cognitive Abilities: Hormonal fluctuations can influence brain chemistry, affecting cognitive functions, mood, and behavior. Recognizing these patterns can help women harness their strengths at different phases, from heightened communication skills to improved analytical abilities.

Consequences of Ignoring the Infradian Rhythm:

  1. Hormonal Imbalances: Lack of awareness or respect for the infradian rhythm can disrupt hormonal balance. Symptoms of these imbalances can include bloating, irregular or heavy periods, cramps, skin conditions, mood swings, fatigue… and may result in common hormonal conditions such endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, infertility… as well as autoimmune conditions.
  2. Compromised Mental Health: Chronic neglect of the infradian rhythm can contribute to mood disorders, including depression,anxiety and lack of willpower and motivation.
  3. Reduced Immunity: Hormonal shifts throughout the menstrual cycle can influence immune system function. Ignoring these shifts can potentially weaken the immune response resulting in chronic or puntual infections, UTIs, colds...
  4. Impaired Sleep: Sleep patterns and HRV can change throughout the menstrual cycle, influenced by hormones like progesterone and estrogen. Not adjusting to these shifts can lead to sleep disturbances,reduced sleep quality and hence less vitality.

Embracing the Infradian Rhythm:

The first step is awareness. By tracking menstrual cycles, women can gain insights into their infradian rhythm. Many apps and wearable technologies can help in this endeavor.

Next, it's about having the right information and learning how to best adjust  lifestyle choices and routines. This includes:

  • Diet: Consuming nutrient-rich foods with specific vitamins and minerals or macronutrients that support hormonal changes at different phases.
  • Supplements: Curating a series of smart supplements throughout the cycle that reinforce your nutrition accordingly and harness the healing power of botanicals.
  • Exercise: Tailoring workouts to the energy levels, HRV and physical strengths unique to each phase.
  • Rest: Recognizing when the body needs rest and supporting  it, especially prior and during menstruation.

In conclusion, while the circadian rhythm is crucial for everyone's health, the infradian rhythm plays a vital role in women's health. By acknowledging and aligning with this rhythm, women can harness their body's innate power, fostering better physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Would you like to leverage your own inner power and learn how to optimize your unique female biochemistry, becoming calmer, positive, more productive at work and more at peace with yourself and others? Would you like to learn how to keep your hormones in good balance living a symptoms-free life and painless periods? Stay tuned! 

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