There are many issues that can kick in around menopause but one can make everything else harder to deal with and that’s fatigue. If we can sort that out, we have much more chance of thriving through our menopausal transition than if we’re tired all the time!
Why is fatigue an issue? There are several reasons. As our hormones fluctuate, tiredness can often be a by-product. Sleep is affected as our hormones change; if you’ve ever been pregnant, you may remember that sleep was possibly difficult then. During menopause, sleep can be disturbed by insomnia, night sweats, needing to pee more often and symptoms like restless legs, for example.
Midlife, when menopause usually happens to women, is also an incredibly busy and potentially stressful time of life. It’s a time when we may be juggling so many different things in our lives that it’s really no wonder we can become exhausted.
Years of putting ourselves last in the priority queue can finally catch up with us. Stress is a major indicator for fatigue at any time and especially during menopause.
But fatigue may also be a sign of other issues. So if lack of energy is really impacting you, be sure to get yourself checked out with a doctor.
There’s a possibility your thyroid, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep apnoea or other chronic health conditions could be the cause. If you’re having very heavy periods during menopause, you may also become anaemic so that’s another thing to consider.
Ways to manage menopause fatigue
1. Make sure you prioritize rest. If you’re suffering from fatigue, listen to your body and make the changes you need to enable you to get back to optimal energy. Sleep is crucial.
2. Check how much caffeine you consume and when you have it. As we go through menopause, our bodies are less able to process things like caffeine and we may find we have to cut back quite drastically and not have it later in the day. Caffeine is a big indicator for hot flashes/flushes, as well as sleeplessness, so consider cutting back.
3. Reduce alcohol too as this can seriously disrupt sleep, especially as estrogen levels decrease. If you’re a regular drinker, give yourself several days a week without alcohol and this should have a positive impact on the quality of your sleep.
4. Balance your blood sugar and sort out your diet. A good diet will help with all menopause symptoms and maintaining consistent blood sugar levels will help to reduce stress levels in the body, thereby supporting hormonal balance. This will help you maintain more consistent energy levels and stop fatigue. It will also help to stop any night sweats that may be disrupting your rest.
Try to cut out sugar and processed food, eat plenty of different kinds of vegetables, eat protein with every meal, add in natural phytoestrogens and eat organic as much as you can to prevent chemicals and hormones that have entered the food chain from messing with your hormones. You can find out more about a good menopause diet here.
5. If restless legs are at issue at night try taking a magnesium supplement. It’s better taken with calcium to aid absorption.
6. Be certain to get enough exercise. If your body isn’t tired, you may struggle to sleep even if you feel mentally or emotionally exhausted. Experiment with a calming and gentle yoga or stretching routine in the hours before you go to bed to see if this helps you to sleep.
7. Eat plenty of iron rich foods or take a supplement if you think low iron may be a factor. A Lack of vitamin B12 can also contribute to fatigue.
8. Remove electronic devices from the bedroom and restrict online activity at least two hours before bedtime, so you have time to wind down and get ready for sleep. Like babies we can benefit from having a go to sleep routine at night. Also, make sure you have enough time set aside for sleep. If you have to get up early, go to bed early!
9. If it’s hard to get to sleep, try a sleep meditation on an app like Insight Timer, but don’t get sucked into checking your phone while you’re doing that! If you’re lying awake, use the time to meditate in bed and you’ll hopefully drift off as you clear your mind – that’s a top tip from Arianna Huffington, author of The Sleep Revolution.
10. Try EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping. This is a new one for me but a woman who’s been through surgical menopause with no HRT absolutely swears by the sleep tapping meditations on The Tapping Solution app. She doesn’t care if it’s just a placebo effect. It works and that’s all that matters – both to stay asleep and have deeper, more restorative sleep.
As with many issues associated with menopause, fatigue is your body telling you something is up. Many times we try hard to just soldier on. We’ve always managed to do certain things and live in certain ways in the past, so we refuse to accommodate our changing bodies during menopause.
I like to think of these menopause-related issues as the canary in the coal mine. If we listen and make the changes we need to, we won’t just fix the current issue, but will also set ourselves up for long-term wellness, rather than contributing to future more serious issues. That’s something well worth doing.
Why not check out our Magnificent Midlife Membership Program which includes a whole workshop on sleep. It might be just the boost you need.
You may also like: Menopause Matters – Resources To Help