Sometimes menopause can feel like you're going through puberty all over again. And honestly it kind of is. You’ve got crazy mood swings, easily irritated, a wonky menstrual cycle, lack of energy, and brain fog.
Menopause really is puberty in reserve. And with menopause comes fatigue. Not just “I’m tired” but down and out exhaustion. Crashing Fatigue!! And it can literally put you on your ass!!
So what is crashing fatigue?
Menopause fatigue or crashing fatigue is an sudden loss of energy, an intense feeling of lethargy, and extreme tiredness that can come on at any time of the day.
It’s important to know that crashing fatigue doesn’t just cause extreme tiredness, you may notice an increase in anxiety, a lack of concentration, poor sleep, racing thoughts, a reduced sense of joy or zest for life, lack of motivation, and/or an increase of stress.
It’s important to know that while most conventional doctors are familiar with crashing fatigue, they really don’t have much to offer their patients except a prescription for antidepressants. Which let’s be honest, doesn’t relieve the problem, it's more of a medical Band-Aid.
I’m here to give you some good news, sis!! There are other ways besides a quick fix of antidepressants that can help you find relief.
To get your energy back, to get you feeling like your best self again, the first thing you want to do is locate the cause of the fatigue . . . You guessed it - crashing fatigue is caused 100% by your hormones.
During the perimenopause and menopause stages the ovaries naturally respond less effectively to the pituitary gland’s signal to increase estrogen. This results in estrogen levels being super high some days and super low on others.
Those fluctuations in estrogen can also interrupt the delicate balance of your adrenal glands.
The adrenal glands help make estrogen with DHEA, but unfortunately chronic stress depletes the DHEA, making it hard for your body to maintain proper hormone balance . . . which makes you more prone to crashing fatigue in menopause. I know it’s a crazy cycle!!
So if you are experiencing crashing fatigue, you want to interrupt that pattern and reestablish your normal sleep-wake cycle, which means we want to try to cut back on napping. Yes, even when you feel like you can’t keep your eyes open any longer!
It’s important that we are paying close attention to our hormones so we can restore their natural patterns, allowing them to interact in a healthy way.
Start by slowing down. To keep from draining your energy by a spike in the adrenal hormone, reducing stress is a great place to start. Pace yourself throughout the day. Take small breaks as you need.
You can also help your body reestablish hormone harmony by using herbal extracts. The best formulas contain combinations of phyto-ingredients that have adaptogenic qualities that allow them to continually adjust as necessary. Look for red clover, ashwagandha, and especially black cohosh — these shift naturally to the changing hormonal needs of your body, and they function well together. (*Always chat with your doctor before to see what they recommend for you specifically.)
You may notice a link between your fatigue and your cravings. It’s important that we are providing our body with nutrient dense foods throughout the day to help keep our energy level up.
We need to be making sure we are giving our metabolism what it needs during the day to help protect that stored energy. This is important because it can affect your adrenal function. It’s crucial to stabilize your blood sugar to help prevent crashing fatigue and to help recover from an episode.
The best way to do that is to eat regularly, which means avoiding skipping meals. Eat every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day and keep simple, healthy snacks on hand to avoid that crash.
Some of my favorite midday snacks to help minimize that 3 pm exhaustion:
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Veggies and hummus (for an extra boost toss them into ½ a whole grain pita bread)
- Plain Greek yogurt with berries and nuts
- Protein smoothie made with banana, blueberries, kale, and coconut water
It’s common for fatigue to be connected to dehydration - so do your best to drink your water throughout the day!!
Be a stickler when it comes to your bedtime routine. If you are suffering from crashing fatigue, it’s so important that you are getting your body and mind in the right place when it comes to preparing for bed. The goal here is to set yourself up for better sleep. When you can prompt yourself to fall asleep more easily, you will move into deeper sleep faster and get more restorative rest.
- Take a hot bath or shower 1-3 hours before bed to help stimulate deeper sleep.
- Get into bed at least one hour earlier than your current bedtime — even if you don’t feel sleepy — but don’t try to doze off right away. Instead, settle down and, if you’re using them, turn off all devices after a few minutes, then switch to reading or listening to quiet music. The objective is to get off your feet and lie down and allow your natural relaxation processes to be triggered.
This midlife transition is no joke! It can be tough to navigate, and adding crashing fatigue to the mix is not going to make any of it easier!!
I promise there are effective ways to optimize how you feel in menopause, and they all start with prioritizing your own health and happiness.
If crashing fatigue is affecting the quality of your life, you need to listen to your body and put these steps into action. They can guide you to restore natural sleep patterns, reclaim energy and become more productive.
Soon you’ll l feel like yourself again, and maybe even better.
>> If you are continuing to struggle with fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, cravings, weight gain - I strongly encourage you to set up a FREE 1:1 Discovery Call where you and I can chat and create a plan that is going to help you get back on track, back to feeling your best . . . back to THRIVING in midlife not just surviving! Book your call today!