Menopause fatigue – why am I so exhausted?

When most people think of menopause, they think of hot flushes and periods coming to an end. However, many people don’t realise just how common fatigue is as a symptom of menopause!

Why can women feel fatigued during menopause?

Hormone imbalances are to blame here. Oestrogen plays a role in the regulation of other hormones and neurotransmitters (such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine) which play a part in maintaining sleep-wake cycles. This is affected when oestrogen levels lower during menopause. 

Many women experiencing menopause are affected by hot flushes. These are caused by fluctuations in the hormone levels which affect your body’s temperature control. However, these hot flushes don’t only happen during the day. They can occur during the night and make sleeping quite the challenge! This can also contribute to feeling fatigued during the day.  

How can I feel less exhausted during menopause?

Whenever possible, try to practice good sleep hygiene. Sleep in a dark, cool room. Some women find it helps keeping a handheld fan on their bedside table which they can use in the night to cool off. Keep a cold drink to hand for added relief during hot flushes. It’s also worth considering your bedclothes! Opt for thin fabric (or nothing at all). You may want to keep a thin top sheet to hand if you don’t feel like sleeping under the duvet, but still want something on top of you.

There are various other ways you can take action to reduce the severity of hot flushes, which may help you to catch some extra zzz’s overnight. Take steps to reduce your caffeine intake. Some women find that avoiding spicy foods can help. Try to reduce your levels of stress and anxiety wherever possible. This isn’t just beneficial for getting a restful night’s sleep during menopause – it’s important for your overall mental wellbeing, which is particularly important to safeguard during times of change such as the menopause.

 Seeking help

If you’ve tried incorporating the changes above and you’re still struggling with fatigue during menopause, please don’t hesitate to speak to your GP. They’ll be able to make further recommendations which may help.  

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