Many symptoms of perimenopause and menopause can be frustrating and alter your everyday life. One symptom that impacts daily activities and quality of life is fatigue. During the transition to menopause, many women experience a persistent lack of energy or a feeling of exhaustion. Luckily, menopause fatigue can be managed in a number of ways.
What Causes Fatigue During Menopause?
A combination of factors may cause fatigue during perimenopause and menopause. Changes in the levels of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, thyroid hormones, and adrenal hormones can make you feel extremely tired. That is because these hormones regulate cellular energy within the body. When they’re out of balance, you may feel exhausted or fatigued for no discernible reason.
In addition, many perimenopausal and menopausal women experience insomnia or sleep disruptions. Lack of sleep will obviously result in a feeling of tiredness or lack of energy. Many sleep interruptions are due to hot flashes and night sweats. According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), hot flashes are the most common menopause-related discomfort and can last from 1 to 5 minutes. Night sweats are hot flashes at night that interfere with sleep. Night sweats have been shown to interrupt the most restorative phase of sleep. Sleep may also be disrupted because of more frequent urination.
Managing Fatigue During Perimenopause and Menopause
If you’re exhausted due to perimenopause or menopause, then you can alleviate fatigue in several ways. There are lifestyle changes you can make to boost your energy as well as treatments prescribed by a doctor.
One of the best ways to stay energized is to get regular physical activity. It can be hard to get started when you’re fatigued, but moderate or high-intensity exercise can increase energy levels. Exercise can also help with mood swings, weight gain, and hot flashes. Try to choose things that are manageable and enjoyable. That way, you will be more likely to stick to your workout routine and make it a habit. Don’t overextend yourself and over-exercise because that can make you tired again.
Make Your Bed More Comfortable
If night sweats and hot flashes are keeping you up and causing fatigue, making some changes to your sleep environment may help you get more rest. Wear only light and breathable pajamas or nightgowns. Switch to layered bedding that can easily be removed or added at night. Try sheets and other bedding made with moisture-wicking materials that will help keep you drier when you do sweat. Silk pillowcases stay more relaxed than other materials. You may also want to keep an electric fan nearby to cool down. Some women find relief from keeping a frozen cold pack under the pillow or on their feet.
Take a Nap
If you are able, schedule a quick power nap into your day. A 20-30 minute snooze is sufficient to restore your energy for the rest of the day. If you don’t have to go into an office every day, then set an alarm and get into your comfy bed. If you are at the office, then this may not be as convenient. However, some people working in offices will use part of their lunch breaks to find a quiet spot to get a quick bit of rest in. If you can’t actually get sleep, taking that time to be quiet and refocus your mind can be helpful as well.
Stick to A Routine
One of the most important things to do if your fatigue is caused by sleeplessness is to stick to a daily routine. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. Set aside time before bed each night to wind down by taking a bath, reading, or listening to relaxing music. Some people like to do a short meditation to get themselves ready to go to sleep. Just make sure that TV or other screens are not part of your wind-down, as they have been linked to sleep disturbances. Other good sleep hygiene habits include keeping the room cool and dark and only using the bed for sleep and sex.
Talk to a Menopause Practitioner about Medication and Hormone Replacement
While lifestyle and behavioral changes can help combat menopause fatigue, sometimes you need a bit more help. That’s where a menopause practitioner comes in. A Certified Menopause Practitioner like Dr. Karen Clark of Chapel Hill Gynecology is uniquely qualified to help women manage the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Dr. Clark has been certified by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) as an expert in the care of menopausal and perimenopausal women. Her expertise includes hormone replacement therapy and non-hormonal treatments for managing symptoms like menopause fatigue. To start managing your symptoms, call (919) 960-2720 to schedule an appointment.