7 Ways to Cope with Perimenopause Fatigue

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7 Ways to Cope with Perimenopause Fatigue | There are a number of perimenopause symptoms, with almost half of women reporting feelings of fatigue. It can become a vicious cycle -- changes in estrogen can cause night sweats, which lead to interrupted sleep, which makes you feel tired, which causes you to drink more caffeine...wash, rinse, repeat. If you're tired of feeling tired, this post has lots of tips and lifestyle changes for women in their 40s and 50s to help you beat exhaustion.

Have you been feeling absolutely exhausted all the time? Is your sleep constantly interrupted and you wake up feeling tired? Have your periods become irregular and painful or heavy? You may be dealing with perimenopause fatigue. But don’t feel alone. Perimenopause fatigue is very normal, with almost half (46%) of perimenopausal women complaining of fatigue. Want tips for how to cope? We’ve rounded up the best ways to deal with the dreaded tiredness.

What Is Perimenopause Fatigue?

The average age for menopause is 51 years old. The transitional phase that leads up to menopause is known as perimenopause. It can start as early as in your 30s and can last seven to 10 years. There are a number of symptoms that accompany perimenopause, one of the most common being perimenopause fatigue. During perimenopause your body’s estrogen and progesterone levels start to fluctuate, which can cause symptoms that lead to fatigue. These include disordered sleep or insomnia as well as night sweats that wake you up.

Areas of the brain that are influenced by estrogen and progesterone are important for sleep regulation. Estrogen plays a role in the metabolism of various neurotransmitters, including serotonin, and in the actions of the hormone melatonin. These neurotransmitters regulate your brain’s sleep-wake cycles. During perimenopause this cycle is disrupted and you wake more frequently during the night.

As you enter perimenopause, your cortisol levels also naturally increase. Cortisol (the stress hormone) plays a crucial role in regulating your body’s natural clock. As your cortisol levels rise, your heart rate increases and your body temperature rises. All of these changes interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep and lead to fatigue.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Perimenopause Fatigue?

  1. Exhaustion
  2. Feeling worn out
  3. Low energy
  4. Interrupted sleep and waking up tired
  5. Nodding off during the day
  6. More irritable than usual
  7. Gaining weight
  8. Irregular periods that are painful or heavy
  9. Feelings of depression and anxiety

When Should I See a Doctor?

It’s important to know that there are times when fatigue is not caused by perimenopause, and may be caused by a more serious underlying condition. If your fatigue is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, make sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Muscle weakness, tiredness in your arms or legs
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or others
  • Abdominal pain or bloating, nausea, vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Vision changes
  • Consistent headaches

If you experience shortness of breath, pain in your chest, arm, or upper back or an irregular, fast, or pounding heartbeat along with your fatigue, head to the emergency room.

7 Ways to Cope with Perimenopause Fatigue

1. Commit to Regular Exercise
Consistent exercise is key to fighting fatigue and other perimenopause symptoms. It boosts endorphins and energy levels, improves mood, and increases cognitive function. As we age, we lose muscle and this loss of muscle can have a direct effect on fatigue, since more muscle means higher metabolism and more energy. A combination of cardio and strength training is ideal for your perimenopausal years. Even a brief walk after you eat can help you combat perimenopause fatigue caused by the relationship between hormones and blood sugar.

2. Prioritize Sleep Hygiene and Treatment
Alleviating fatigue often requires treating underlying sleep issues and improving sleep hygiene. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on modifying dysfunctional emotions and behaviours. It’s one of the most effective ways to improve your sleep hygiene. Processes of CBT include setting a sleep schedule, eliminating day time naps, cutting down screen time before bed, and using your bed for sleep and sex only.

3. Focus on Nutrition
Make sure you’re eating lots of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates, and avoiding simple sugars. Load up on leafy green vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats such as fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds. And stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day. This is a great foundation for maintaining your energy levels. Emotional eating can be a real setback, so try your best to eat only when you’re hungry to manage your blood sugar and help fight fatigue.

4. Be Careful of Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol and sleep don’t mix well. You may have noticed that whenever you drink too much alcohol you toss and turn and don’t get a good night’s rest. Excess alcohol consumption has been linked to insomnia, which means you should re-evaluate that pre-bedtime night cap. Alcohol makes it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep, especially during REM or deep sleep. Alcohol can also increase the risk of sleep apnea which can be dangerous to your health.

5. Create a Consistent Sleep Schedule
To help your body adjust to a good sleep schedule, it’s important to keep your sleep routine consistent. Aim for the same bedtime and wake time each day, even on weekends. It’s also important to create a comfortable sleep environment. This includes a comfy mattress, pillows, and sheets, along with a cool temperature. Try blocking out the light with blackout curtains or a sleep mask, and try a white noise machine or earplugs if you have issues with noise.

6. Limit Caffeine Consumption
While caffeine can give you an immediate mental boost, it then leads to a caffeine crash that makes you feel even more fatigued (ie. the infamous afternoon slump). While some caffeine is okay (experts recommend a daily limit of 400 mg), if you drink too much caffeine, you risk insomnia, which will mess up your sleep cycle. Along with coffee, energy drinks, black teas, and green teas are quite high in caffeine.

7. Try Meditation
Another thing you can do to boost your energy levels is to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Meditation can help eliminate stress and increase energy, as well as improve your health, lower blood pressure, and release anxiety. Want to start meditating? Read our post on how to build a new habit!

If you’re dealing with perimenopause fatigue, try these tips and tricks to cope!

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7 Ways to Cope with Perimenopause Fatigue | There are a number of perimenopause symptoms, with almost half of women reporting feelings of fatigue. It can become a vicious cycle -- changes in estrogen can cause night sweats, which lead to interrupted sleep, which makes you feel tired, which causes you to drink more caffeine...wash, rinse, repeat. If you're tired of feeling tired, this post has lots of tips and lifestyle changes for women in their 40s and 50s to help you beat exhaustion.

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