How to Coordinate Your Life with Your Menstrual Cycle
Perform tasks when you’re at your best, hormonally speaking, by scheduling around your menstrual cycle.
Step 1: Adjust for your cycle Realize that the days cited in the following steps are based on a 28-day menstrual cycle. Your dates may vary.
Step 2: Start a diet Start a diet at the beginning of your cycle, when you're menstruating. At this point, a drop in the hormone progesterone causes a drop in insulin, a hormone that creates hunger by reducing sugar levels. Less appetite, more willpower.
TIP: If your willpower usually flags several days into a diet, start dieting the week before you get your period.
Step 3: Attract a man Lay off deodorant and perfume during Days 6 to 14 of your cycle. Research has found that men find your body's natural scent most appealing in the week around ovulation.
TIP: Lighten up on the face paint, too: Men tend to find women most attractive during ovulation, but makeup masks the effect.
Step 4: Go on a game show On Days 6 to 13 of your cycle, challenge your friends to an evening of charades. Rising levels of estrogen and testosterone boost your confidence and make you unusually quick-witted.
Step 5: Have sex Pencil in sex for day 13 or 14 of your cycle, when the libido-boosting hormones testosterone and progesterone are peaking. Do it in the morning, when a man's testosterone peaks.
Step 6: Feel pain Schedule anything physically painful—bikini waxes, root canals, tattooing, or piercing—on Day 14, around the time you ovulate. That’s when your tolerance for pain is highest.
Step 7: Get a pap smear Schedule your annual pap smear between the 14th and 24th day of your cycle, when the reading tends to be the most accurate.
TIP: The best time for a mammogram is the week after your period ends.
Step 8: Quit smoking Increase your chances of giving up cigarettes by quitting during the second half of your cycle, when high levels of progesterone could help reduce withdrawal symptoms. One study found that women who tried to quit smoking in the first half of their menstrual cycle were half as successful as those who quit in the latter half.
Step 9: Burn more calories Focus on aerobic exercise on Days 15 through 22, when increased progesterone could help you burn up to 30 percent more fat than at other times, according to one study.
Step 10: Don’t sing Stay out of karaoke bars from Day 26 of your cycle until the first day of menstruation. Retained fluid could swell your vocal chords, preventing you from hitting those high notes.
Step 11: Do some yoga Practice yoga or Pilates in the day or two before your period: Levels of the hormone relaxin rise, making you more flexible by softening ligaments.
FACT: European opera houses used to give female singers 'grace days' right before and at the start of their periods because directors believed menstruation adversely affected their voices.