During both menopause and perimenopause, hormonal imbalances can cause extreme fatigue. The drop in estrogen levels is the real culprit, but added stresses or anxieties that occur as a result of other symptoms can also contribute. As well as this, low iron levels and low functioning thyroid are more commonly seen in women of menopausal age. Both of these things can also cause fatigue.
First Things First…
Give yourself a break. Stop beating yourself up if you can’t quite fit as much into your day, or you need to take that extra hour to recoup. You are doing your best and that is all anyone can ask. Fatigue that hasn’t occurred due to lack of sleep can be hard to beat.
Menopausal fatigue can hit us like an unexpected slap in the face. You could be pushing a trolley around the supermarket, feeling right as rain one minute. The next minute, you feel an overwhelming sense to sleep. It’s yet another loop-the- loop on the menopause rollercoaster.
So Can You Do About Menopause-related Fatigue?
Instead of trying to fit in a mid-afternoon cat-nap at the weekends, simply focus on these two things; exercise and nutrition. Contrary to popular belief, sleeping more does not eliminate fatigue. In fact, too much sleep can have the opposite effect. Exercise is one of the most underrated remedies for insomnia, depression and anxiety.
When we’re tired, exercise is the very last thing we want to do, but numerous studies and research has shown that if you can fit in that workout during those times, it can actually reduce fatigue and boost energy levels by up to a fifth! Even a simple light jog or a long walk could make all the difference.
Drink plenty of water all day, every day. You might not feel dehydrated, but your body could be telling you otherwise. Fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration, so always bear this in mind. Even a loss of just 1-2% body water can begin to impact your energy levels and thinking. If work allows, keep a bottle of water on your desk or workspace throughout the day as a reminder to drink more.
As well as drinking lots of water, good nutrition is vital. You are what you eat; so eat foods that boost energy (but avoid processed foods) and eat at the right times too. It’s better to eat five or six smaller meals spread throughout the day; this helps to eliminate that sluggish feeling after a larger meal.
It can be difficult to distinguish exactly where your fatigue is coming from. In many cases, it’s the stress and anxiety that comes from coping with other menopause symptoms that leaves us fatigued. This is different to fatigue that has occurred as a result of depleting hormones. It’s important to determine which one you are suffering from. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, these things can make you extremely tired.