It can be hard to get a good night’s sleep when you’re going through menopause. Insomnia and increased stress levels can make it difficult to fall asleep, while hot flashes and restless legs can leave you tossing and turning all night. This lack of sleep can make it impossible for many women to make it through the day, overwhelmed with exhaustion and struggling to keep their eyes open.
If you’re starting to wake up in the morning feeling like you barely slept, you’re not alone. Pour yourself a cup of your favorite morning pick-me-up and read on to learn more about crashing fatigue and how you can find some relief!
Crashing fatigue occurs when someone experiences an abrupt loss of energy. For many women, it can feel like a wave of exhaustion that hits them that seems to appear from out of the blue. They can recall feeling alert and attentive just moments before it hit them, leaving them feeling drained.
This unanticipated loss of alertness can feel alarming, especially for women who also experience sudden weakness in their muscles. Crashing fatigue during menopause can make it hard to keep going about your day because all you want to do is curl into the nearest couch or bed and close your eyes for a bit.
There’s not really one cause of crashing fatigue—it’s a combination of the way your hormones make you feel during the day and the way other menopause symptoms can keep you up at night. But the simple answer is that your body is going through some huge changes, and that can be exhausting.
As women age, their bodies begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone. This can affect your mood, leading to higher levels of stress and decreased motivation. Your body reacts to this sudden fluctuation in hormone levels by jumping into fight or flight mode, releasing both cortisol and adrenaline into your body. This can leave you feeling exhausted, but it can also disrupt your sleep cycle.
Producing less estrogen and progesterone also makes you more likely to have sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes you to momentarily stop breathing and disrupt your sleep as you wake up to resume your breathing. Other symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes, night sweats, heartburn, or restless legs, can also disturb your sleep at night.
Crashing fatigue during menopause can feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends—you aren’t getting enough rest to fully recharge your batteries, and you’re draining your battery at a faster rate. If your menopause fatigue is leaving you feeling exhausted, there are steps you can take to help your body adjust to its new chemistry and boost your energy levels.
There are several reasons why you might be experiencing crashing fatigue during menopause, which is why you’ll find more relief through a combination of treating the symptoms of menopause, focusing on increasing your energy levels, and improving your sleep quality.
When you’re feeling low on energy, how you choose to fuel your body and how often you fuel your body can make a huge difference in how you feel. You can help to alleviate the symptoms of menopause, like crashing fatigue, by making sure your body has all the nutrients it needs and avoiding foods that may trigger them. Eating more frequently can help you maintain your energy levels during the day.
A healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein can help you give your body the nutrients it needs. You should try to consume more calcium through dairy products or foods like spinach, almonds, beans, or chia seeds. Heart-healthy fats, like the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish, can help you lower your blood pressure and have fewer hot flashes.
Spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine can also trigger hot flashes. Both alcohol and caffeine can affect your sleep cycle, so limiting your intake of both can also help you sleep better. Soy-rich foods can also help to alleviate symptoms of menopause.
Being dehydrated can make you feel even more fatigued. Staying hydrated can help your body absorb nutrients, keep your digestive system moving, and help you feel more alert. Hot flashes and night sweats cause you to lose water, so it’s important to try to drink more water than you usually do while your body is adjusting to this change in hormones. As an added bonus, staying hydrated can help to alleviate hot flashes and night sweats.
Focus on getting better sleep. Adopting certain new habits, like regular exercise and meditation, can help you sleep better at night. You should also avoid doing anything that can alter your sleep cycle, like taking a long nap during the day or drinking caffeine in the evenings.
Before you go to bed, turn off the screens and let your body unwind. Make sure your bedroom is calm, quiet, and dark so you can get a good night’s sleep.
If crashing fatigue during menopause is affecting your quality of life, it may be time to get some help. Your doctor can help you deal with any mood changes or physical symptoms you are experiencing as your body changes.