Experts say fatigue isn't an exact symptom of ovulation, but you could feel more exhausted during th...

If You're Feeling Exhausted During Ovulation, Here's What's Really Happening

Originally Published: 

If you track your cycle and ovulation date, you've probably noticed specific changes. Maybe your weight or skin or mood fluctuates, or maybe you're more energetic when ovulating. But does ovulation make you sleepy? Fatigue in the middle of your cycle isn't unheard of, but knowing what causes it could help analyze your cycle even further.

"No, ovulation doesn't make you feel sleepy," Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, OB-GYN, tells Romper simply. Most of the scientific evidence and research surrounds insomnia during your premenstrual time, which, incidentally, begins right after ovulation. At this point, your progesterone levels are rising, and you'll have drops in your melatonin and cortisol levels. That change in the regulation of your hormones is one of the reasons you might be struggling to sleep.

Melatonin and cortisol both play big roles in your sleep-wake cycle — melatonin has sleep-inducing qualities, while cortisol is largely responsible for keeping you awake. So drops in both of these hormones can lead to extra fatigue and inability to sleep. Your internal body temperature is also slightly higher at this point in your cycle, which could be causing additional restlessness, according to The Cut.


But Dr. Julie Lamb, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, tells Romper that some women may feel sleepier during ovulation. "Each woman is very different and [so is] what she feels around the time of ovulation. In addition to feeling a twinge, a woman can have light spotting, or she can experience headache, fatigue, or nausea. It is not uncommon to feel nothing at all."

Dr. Adam Wolfberg, OB-GYN, tells Romper there are some other symptoms surrounding ovulation that could help you pinpoint exactly when your body is gearing up to release an egg. "The classic symptom of cramping or temporary sharp pain around the time of ovulation has a name: Mittelschmerz pain (German for 'middle pain'), that's thought to come from the ovary releasing the egg," he says. "This is the most common symptom, as the other classic cycle symptoms — mood alterations, breast tenderness, persistent cramping — tend to occur in the second half of the cycle and constitute PMS or its more severe cousin, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). That said, it's not uncommon for women to report many of these symptoms — and other symptoms — at different times in their cycle. If they become really disruptive, I recommend that a woman see her primary care doctor or an OB-GYN."

Another reason why you might be extra tired around ovulation: Your partner is super hot. As Health reported, a study published in PLoS ONE found that women who "rated their partners as being more attractive got less sleep when they were most fertile, while women who said their partners were less attractive scored more sleep." Researchers theorized that women with more attractive partners get less rest because they're "trying to stay up and have more sex (and potentially make a baby)," while those who aren't so attracted to their partners might not be so preoccupied with baby-making, "so there's no reason to lose quality sleep time." Who knew?

If you are having continuous trouble sleeping or experiencing excess fatigue, be sure to bring it up with your doctor in order to rule out any additional health or wellness issues that could be impacting your hormones or cycle. It might be better to bring it up sooner than later, as many times, health concerns like sleep get pushed to the wayside — but sleep is a major part of your health, and good sleep allows you and your body to function better overall. If you feel like your fatigue eases up once ovulation has passed, it may just be the way your body reacts to this function.

Tracking and charting your cycle will help you understand symptoms and signs of how your changes throughout your own specific menstrual cycle. Creating good sleep habits can also help significantly during the periods of your cycle where sleep might be a bit more elusive.

Studies referenced:

"Changes in Sleep Time and Sleep Quality across the Ovulatory Cycle as a Function of Fertility and Partner Attractiveness" (B. Gentle, E. Pillsworth, A. Goetz, 2014)


Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, OB-GYN

Dr. Julie Lamb, board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist

Dr. Adam Wolfberg, OB-GYN

This article was originally published on