Feeling a bit tired and down or lacking in energy? You are not alone! During menopause, your hormones go on a roller coaster ride and many people get tired. Some women during menopause will feel a little more tired than usual, others will experience extreme fatigue. Fatigue is one of the 34 official menopause symptoms and is very common. Increased knowledge can help you better understand why you are tired and how to alleviate it.
Sleeping problems during menopause
A common reason behind feeling tired is simply poor sleep at night. This is often due to night sweats and hot flushes. Some women experience cold flashes, making them feel cold despite having several duvets. But how you treat hot flushes or night-time disturbances doesn't really matter, as long as you have found a way that works for you. You will then feel better and have more energy.
Menopausal sleep problems not only make us tired, but can lead to anxiety, irritation and more fatigue. Poor sleep leads to low mood, which can make us more stressed. The 'feel-good' hormone serotonin drops as oestrogen levels fall and you may feel depressed, weepy or even depressed because of this. Being in the menopause involves many changes and also raises questions about the meaning of life and ageing, and this alone can be exhausting.
Many menopausal women experience weight gain, and one reason for this may be that lack of sleep affects food choices. This may mean that we often take the easy way out and neglect our food. So avoid snacking and focus on more regular meals.
What can I do myself?
- Introduce a sleep routine with a set bedtime. Alcohol may help you relax and fall asleep more easily, but it is just as common to wake up in the middle of the night and have a disturbed sleep because of it. Caffeine can have a similar effect. For some, avoiding exercise late at night helps.
- Regular physical activity also helps the body to relax. Recognise where you are today and choose your form of exercise accordingly - all movement counts!
- Stress always affects sleep, whether you are in menopause or not. Try to find a good balance in your life between work and recovery. Also think about what recovery is for you. If sleep and stress management don't work, it will be very difficult to motivate yourself and lose weight, for example, no matter how much you exercise or try to eat right.
- Fatigue and dizziness can also be caused by iron deficiency. Some women experience increased bleeding with perimenopause and this can contribute to iron deficiency. The risk of this is also increased if you eat a diet low in iron, so make sure you eat a varied diet and if you suspect you have iron deficiency, contact your GP, a simple blood test will give you the answer.
- The hormonal changes during menopause may also cause you to start snoring. Both oestrogen and progesterone keep the muscles along the airway flexible. The drop in hormones can cause these muscles to relax more, increasing the risk of snoring. Snoring a lot also makes you more tired during the day.