Perhaps (you think) you’ve just gone down with some virus? Or caught a bug? Surely no one can become so totally exhausted several times a week?
Well, yes, they can. You can. For each woman, it’s different. But one of the first signs of perimenopause can be this sense of crashing fatigue: that horrible moment when a rush of exhaustion pours down on you. You might also experience a sudden onset of muscle weakness that frightens you.
The worst part is that you can be feeling fine one moment, and the next, you feel like you need to lay your head down on the desk and sleep. Even though you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
Or you may feel drained, and your brain’s become so foggy that you’re concerned you won’t be able to follow through with your daily routine.
What else does crashing menopause fatigue feel like?
You might have other symptoms at the same time:
- Brain fog
- Frequent hunger
- Difficulty sleeping
- Waking up feeling like you didn’t sleep a wink
- Racing thoughts at night
- Lack of enthusiasm about life
- Lack of energy levels
- Feelings of overwhelm and emotional stress
- Weight gain
Do these describe you? If so, your crashing fatigue (or tiredness or exhaustion) is likely due to menopause.
And you’re probably asking, “How can I deal with this fatigue during menopause?”
The first thing to note is that this is different from normal fatigue – which a good night’s sleep can put right – and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – which never really lets up.
It’s also different from ongoing fatigue that might result from low thyroid levels or low iron levels during perimenopause and menopause.
For this sort of fatigue that doesn’t ease, do schedule an appointment to talk it over with us.
But if you’re thinking you might be experiencing menopausal crashing fatigue, read on and we’ll discuss
- the causes and
- how you can deal with it.
The Cause of Crashing Fatigue Menopause
It’s menopause, so your first suspicion about the cause may be imbalanced hormone levels. Yes! As with almost all menopause symptoms, crashing fatigue is caused by a hormonal imbalance.
You probably already know that estrogen levels decrease during menopause, but do you know why?
During perimenopause and menopause, your ovaries stop being as responsive to your pituitary gland’s messages telling them that they need to increase estrogen production. Sometimes the ovaries are really productive. Other times they produce nothing at all. No wonder you’re all over the place!
Extreme fluctuations in estrogen also affect your stress hormones. If you have an adrenaline flood, you’ll get a rush to start with but a serious crash after. If you’re still menstruating, you probably experience crashing fatigue right before your period starts. (This can be a helpful sign if your cycles have become erratic.)
All this has a strange and very inconvenient and frustrating side effect. You can be exhausted, but you can’t sleep a wink! Why?
During perimenopause, estrogen rises and falls unpredictably. Your body experiences this fluctuation as a hormonal emergency. Your body reacts by jumping into a fight-or-flight response, releasing cortisol and adrenaline. When that happens, your sleep cycle becomes disrupted, and it’s hard to get to sleep.
Another cause is that even though your adrenal glands make estrogen with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), chronic stress depletes DHEA. When you don’t have enough DHEA, your body has a hard time maintaining hormone balance.
Dealing With Crashing Menopausal Fatigue
Conventional doctors tend to offer prescription drugs like antidepressants for the symptoms of crashing fatigue. But even these won’t relieve the problem of extreme exhaustion. When it comes to crashing fatigue, medication isn’t always the answer.
However, you do have other choices that can get you back to feeling energetic and more active.
1 Support Your Hormones
Since crashing fatigue is associated with extreme fluctuations in estrogen levels, getting your hormones back into balance is imperative. Supporting your body in rebalancing naturally declining estrogen and other hormones smooths out the hormonal roller coaster that drains energy and disturbs sleep. There are plenty of supplements and Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement therapies that can rebalance hormones.
For best results, consult with a Nava provider who understands hormone imbalance.
2 Listen to Your Body
While you’re in perimenopause or menopause, you’re more vulnerable to the effects of stress and adrenal hormone responses. Listen to your body. Back off when needed. Pace yourself and take more time-outs during the day.
3 Eat Consistently
For some women, this may be the first time you’ve been encouraged to eat regularly. Women who have crashing fatigue get hungry more often because your body needs more food to support your metabolism and protect energy stores. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level helps to prevent crashing fatigue and recover from episodes.
Since adrenal function has been affected, eating regularly and watching caffeine consumption is important to fuel energy. This is not a time to skip meals! Eat something every 3 to 4 hours. Keep meals simple, healthy, and easy to pop in your mouth.
4 Maintain a Consistent Pre-Sleep Routine
Set yourself up for success! As bedtime approaches, calm your body and mind. Setting a routine gives your body a set of prompts that tell it that it’s time to go to sleep. This will help you fall asleep more quickly, which will lead to deeper sleep (NREM) and more restorative rest.
Here’s a suggestion for a healthy sleep routine:
One to Three Hours Before Bed
Take a 30-45 minute hot bath. This may sound counterintuitive if you suffer from hot flashes and night sweats, but many women swear by it. Taking a hot bath stimulates a passive heating effect that enhances and deepens sleep.
After your bath, prepping your body to cool down tells your body to prepare for rest. Epson salts could be added for an additional relaxing effect.
One Hour Before Your Current Bedtime
Get into bed even if you don’t feel sleepy. Don’t try to go to sleep right away. Take some time to settle down. Turn off all of your devices, then do some easy reading or listen to come quiet music.
Getting off your feet and lying down triggers your natural relaxation processes and activates the internal processes that refresh and repair your system. These processes only function when you’re resting. Taking a supplement like natural melatonin about an hour before bed can help get you into this routine.
Dealing with the emotional and physical ramifications of your midlife transition is quite enough, without the extra symptoms that make it harder. If you have extreme symptoms, it’s time to take a moment to prioritize your own health, happiness, and quality of life.
Nava Can Help with Crashing Fatigue Menopause
Our revolutionary approach to integrative wellness draws from regenerative, holistic, integrative, and traditional medicine. We ground our practice in science, years of clinical experience, and proven principles.
Contact us today to function, feel, and look your best at any age!