There’s sleepy, there’s tired, and then there’s fatigue — as in, you wish you were energetic enough to consider yourself exhausted. For many of us, menopause fatigue goes beyond the worn out feeling that came with college all-nighters, sleepless nights as new parents, or stressful careers.
Is this normal?
The majority of women in menopause or perimenopause complain of fatigue. Insomnia, night sweats, the need to pee in the middle of the night, and hormonal changes are all to blame.
What can you do?
Practice good ‘sleep hygiene.’ Keep a consistent routine, remove phones from your bedroom, keep the room cool and dark, and buy breathable cotton sheets. It’s also important to treat those night sweats with hormones.
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What does menopause fatigue feel like?
We all know what it feels like to be tired. You stay up too late partying or studying or working or watching TV, and the next day, you’re tired. But menopausal fatigue is different. Fatigue goes beyond tired. Fatigue is when being tired is a part of who you are. It’s when exhausted feels like a step up.
Symptoms of perimenopause and menopause fatigue may include consistent lack of energy, tiredness, and weakness. Since fatigue symptoms can affect both your mental and physical wellbeing, you likely won't feel like your 100% best self. Other indicators of fatigue include increased mood swings, irritability, brain fog, and forgetfulness.
Why am I fatigued?
Well, there are a lot of reasons. First, you’re probably not sleeping enough. If you have insomnia, night sweats, are stressed out, experiencing mood swings, or are waking up to pee, those things will all take their toll, and will eventually lead to that feeling of existential tiredness.
There’s also the hormonal changes. During perimenopause and menopause, hormone levels fluctuate drastically which can result in the brain waking up throughout the night. As estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone levels change, your body has to work really, hard to adapt. That’s tiring, too.
Ahh. So that’s why even making breakfast feels like a heavy lift. Is it normal?
Yes, it’s totally, completely normal. Fatigue is a common menopause symptom that typically lasts for the entire menopausal transition period. The majority of women in menopause say they’ve experienced symptoms of fatigue, and 94.5% of women in menopause say they’ve experienced difficulty sleeping.
Is there anything I can do about menopausal fatigue?
Yes. The short answer is that you can get better sleep. Obviously, that’s easier said than done, but with some practice, you can improve your sleep hygiene and get more rest. Here are some lifestyle changes we’ve found helpful:
- Set a bedtime and a wake time and as often as possible, try to stick to those times. Be realistic about what you can do. If you currently go to bed at midnight and wake up at 8:00am, you’re probably not going to suddenly become someone who’s lights out at 9:00pm.
- Create a bedtime routine, and try to stick to it. Start to wind down around 30 minutes before bed. Meditate, listen to relaxing music, whatever works for you.
- Try to eliminate or limit screen time late in the day. If you have to, keep your phone outside your bedroom overnight.
- Keep your bedroom cool. Breathable cotton sheets may also help.
- Invest in a set of blackout shades to keep out unwanted light at night.
- Move daily, and get plenty of light during the day.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoons and evenings.
- Avoid excess alcohol.
Balancing your hormones can also be helpful. Check out treatment options on Alloy's product page.