We often get asked by women - is it normal to feel this exhausted all the time? - No, it's not normal. Unfortunately though, it is very common. Feeling tired all the time can happen for lots of different reasons, but there are lots of things you can do to help ease this symptom.
Why am I tired?
There's no simple answer to this, as for every woman will have a different mixture of things which make you feel tired. But here's some things to consider:
- Your other menopause symptoms: Night sweats and insomnia disrupt your sleep and can leave you feeling exhausted all day; anxiety and stress can also contribute to exhaustion; joint pain can cause fatigue; and brain fog and memory problems can leave you tired from trying to concentrate. That's really just the start.
- How much is going on in your life: Working? Looking after families and/or parents? Trying to keep connected to the people around you? Usually women have a lot going on in menopause, and keeping it all up can really contribute to exhaustion.
- Your stress levels: Linked closely to your symptoms and the amount you have in your life, if you're really stressed this can make you feel exhausted.
- Consider what you're eating: if you're restricting your calories, this can contribute to exhaustion. Also, a poor quality diet can leave your body inflamed and exhausted. It's easy to grab the chocolate or the crips when you're feeling worn out - but try not to do it too often. Getting in your protein, complex carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals will help rule out that diet could be a cause.
- Lack of activity: being inactive leads to muscle weakening, and physical tiredness. It sounds strange but getting up and taking a walk, or exercising will help improve your fitness and reduce tiredness as well as improving your wellbeing.
Also, it’s worth considering how you are assessing your own tiredness levels. Is your tiredness affecting your ability to function, or interfering with your life? If it is, this is serious and you should seek help. However, if you still want the energy levels of a 20 year old this might not be realistic.
Can I reduce fatigue?
Yes - but it takes time. As you can probably tell from reading the list above - there's lots of things you might have to tweak before you start feeling better.
Regular exercise, and a good sleep routine can do wonders. But changing your behaviour to create these within your life is not easy, and it takes practice. Try setting yourself alarms to remind yourself to take a walk, or some notes by the bed to remind you of your sleep routine.
Checking in on your diet is also helpful. If your diet isn't helping you get the energy you need then it may be worth trying to change it. Over eating can make you feel sluggish and less inclined to be active.
Nap if you need it. Ideally, not in the evening or late afternoon because this might disrupt your sleep in the evening. But, if you're exhausted and your body wants a nap, try to listen to it. (We know this can be hard if you're in an office).
Could it be something else?
Yes. Feeling tired all the time is not only a symptom of menopause. When women reach their 40s other conditions, including anaemia, thyroid issues, depression, and diabetes can cause tiredness. If you're concerned then speak to a doctor, and they can assess your symptoms and if needed give you a blood test to find out if you have any of these conditions.