For most of your life, you’ve probably tried to be consistent with your sleep routine. Like clockwork, you climb into bed around the same time every night, and you set your alarm for the same time every morning.
Since you entered your early 40s, however, it might take you a few hours to fall asleep, and when you do, you end up waking up multiple times during the night, anxious, and often sweaty with hot flushes. As the sun rises, you might find yourself dreading the workday ahead.
During menopause, your hormone levels fluctuate and then drop, which can cause a disturbance in your sleep habits, leaving you exhausted, and maybe even in a foul mood. Add to that the stress from work or at home, and it may be difficult to figure out what’s contributing most to your fatigue, much less how to treat it.
The link between menopause and tiredness
Why does menopause make us exhausted?
For most women, menopause starts in their 40’s or early 50’s.
This is when your oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate rapidly before eventually dropping. These hormones play a key role in regulating your energy levels. When they’re out of sorts, you may be left feeling tired or even exhausted.
This fluctuation can also lead to other symptoms that may interfere with your quality of life. Anxiety, depression, hot flushes, night sweats, and frequent urination can also disturb your sleep or keep you awake and only exacerbate your fatigue and dampen your mood.
How long will my exhaustion last?
Menopause can be divided into three stages—perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.
Since your hormones will begin fluctuating from the beginning (perimenopause), you may start experiencing sleep disturbances straight away. Even worse, insomnia and other symptoms like anxiety and night sweats can also disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling tired during the day.
Research shows that 40–50% of all menopausal women will experience either insomnia or other sleep disturbances. Feeling tired or even exhausted can last throughout the duration of menopause, starting in its early stage.
For some women, perimenopause will usher in hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, anxiety, and symptoms of insomnia–all of which will disrupt your sleep cycle. Unfortunately, you may feel tired or exhausted through your menopause transition, into postmenopause, so on average for eight years or more.
According to the NHS, on average, most women will endure menopausal symptoms for approximately four years from the date of their last menstrual cycle. Whereas, approximately 10% of women may experience them for up to 12 years.
How do other symptoms contribute to menopause tiredness?
Many women will also experience anxiety, depression, weight gain, frequent urination, and digestive problems during menopause as well. These conditions affect your mood, and mindset, which can leave you feeling even more drained than usual.
Hot flushes and their nocturnal sister, night sweats can also disturb your sleep multiple times per night.
As your oestrogen levels drop, your body temperature can also be disrupted, causing you to feel hot one moment and fine the next. Before you know it, you’re tossing and turning, or flipping your pillow over to find a cool spot. Waking up multiple times per night to urinate can also worsen your fatigue.
Natural remedies for menopause-related fatigue
In addition to engaging in daily exercise, eating healthy, or improving your sleep hygiene, several natural remedies may help you find relief from menopausal fatigue.
In addition to keeping our bones strong, vitamin D keeps our bodies, especially our immune systems, functioning at their best. During menopause, low oestrogen levels may lead to vitamin D deficiency.
When we are feeling weak, depressed, or fatigued, it may help to supplement with vitamin D. It can be found naturally from sunlight, and also in the foods we eat, such as oily fish, red meat, and egg yolks, but it also comes in supplement form.
Benefits: It can reduce inflammation, and absorb calcium to help maintain our bones, so we can avoid osteoporosis. Vitamin D can also lessen the number of hot flushes you may be experiencing.
Recommended dosage: For menopausal women, it is recommended to take 600–800 IUs daily.
Precautions: Too much vitamin D could cause weakness, dry mouth, nausea, stomach pain, or constipation, in addition to elevated blood calcium levels.
Valerian root is an herb that grows throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. Its roots are cultivated for medicinal purposes. It has a sedating effect on the brain and nervous system.
- Benefits: It can be used to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia and other disturbances. It can reduce anxiety symptoms, too. Some studies suggest it can also be used to treat hot flushes.
Recommended dosage: Taking 675-1060 mg daily is recommended for menopausal women.
- Precautions: In general, valerian root is considered safe. Some people may experience dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, or sleepiness when taking it.
Magnesium can be found in the food we eat, like spinach, cashews, almonds, black beans, and dark chocolate, but it also comes in supplement form.
- Benefits: Magnesium may be effective in reducing the frequency of hot flashes. It can also help you feel less anxious, worried, or tense. It can also help alleviate muscle cramps and fatigue.
Recommended dosage: 300-400 mg per day is recommended.
- Precautions: Typically, excess magnesium from our diets won’t create a problem, since we can excrete it through urination. If you take excessive amounts of magnesium supplements, however, you may experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Finally, if you have kidney failure, muscle weakness, or cardiac conditions, it’s best to consult your doctor before taking a supplement.
Ginger root is a superfood grown in India, China, and Indonesia, and it’s closely related to cardamom and turmeric. It’s used in a variety of international cuisine, and it can be found fresh, dried, in powder or liquid form, as well as in an herbal supplement.
Benefits: Used to treat hot flushes and night sweats. Since it contains gingerol, ginger root is also an anti-inflammatory. It may also help with lowering cholesterol, blood insulin levels, and ultimately weight loss.
- Recommended dosage: It’s recommended that you consume no more than 3-4g of ginger total per day, from both food and supplements.
- Precautions: Bloating, excess gas or heartburn may occur if you consume ginger. It may also interact with blood thinner medication, so be sure to consult your doctor if this applies to you.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oils in a healthy diet rich in oily fish, such as salmon, cod, sardines, etc.
Fatty acids are essential components of our hormone production, so when we enter menopause, it’s even more important to make sure we have enough in our bodies. Omega-3 supplements can also be found in health and wellness shops in capsule or liquid form.
Benefits: Omega-3 can be used to relieve hot flushes, night sweats, and reduce triglyceride levels, which may put women at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. It can also be used to alleviate arthritis and depression.
Recommended dosage: One gram per day (minimum) is recommended either from your diet or from a supplement.
Precautions: You may experience “fishy” breath when taking omega-3 fish oil. Also, an upset stomach and nausea have been reported. Taking more than 3 grams may increase your risk of bleeding, so be sure to consult your doctor about the dosage that would work best for you.
Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells and their ability to transport oxygen throughout the body. As we age, we tend not to need as much iron in our bodies. However, when we are iron-deficient (anaemic), we may feel more tired than usual, especially during perimenopause.
In addition to consuming iron-rich foods such as red meat, spinach, quinoa, and shellfish, you can also find iron supplement tablets, gummies, gentle liquids, or powders.
Benefits: An iron supplement can help you feel less fatigued and boost your energy levels. If you are anaemic, it could also help lower your heart rate and improve your sleep. It can also decrease the frequency of your hot flashes.
Recommended dosage: For women experiencing perimenopause, taking approximately 18 mg daily.
- Precautions: Iron supplements may cause stomach upset or constipation. Also, it’s important to note that postmenopausal women may not need to take iron supplements because our need for iron decreases as we get older.
Ginseng is a medicinal herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. There are two main types: Asian ginseng and American ginseng. The former can have an energy-boosting effect on the body, whilst the latter may have a relaxing effect.
Ginseng has been used to help with relaxation and focus, reduce inflammation, and ward off certain types of cancer. It can be taken in many ways, such as eaten raw, steamed, or steeped in tea in addition to its capsule, powder, or extract form.
Benefits: May reduce the intensity and frequency of hot flushes and night sweats. In particular, red ginseng may be beneficial for heart health in postmenopausal women. It may help reduce fatigue and boost energy levels and even fight inflammation. One study shows significant effects on symptoms of depression and overall well-being.
Recommended dosage: A dose of the crude root can be taken .5–3 grams per day, whereas ginseng extract can range from 100–800 mg.
Precautions: Taken in the correct dosage, there are few common side effects to consider when taking ginseng.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that can grow in freshwater and saltwater. It is packed with nutrients and vitamins such as iron, several B vitamins, and loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components.
Benefits: It can lower our bad cholesterol level (LDL) and triglycerides, which is especially important for postmenopausal women. It may also be effective in treating anemia and providing relief from weakness and fatigue.
Recommended dosage: There is no standardized dosage for spirulina, but it seems the range is 1–8.4 grams per day.
- Precautions: Side effects are rare and mild, and may include: nausea, headaches, and dizziness. Also, anyone with an autoimmune or blood-thinning disorder is advised to avoid this supplement.
Looking for a combined supplement to boost your energy?
From work to play, you deserve to feel energized and at your best. Whilst menopausal symptoms may affect your sleep patterns and energy levels for several years, you may find necessary relief in a natural combined supplement.
Earths Secret’s Thrive Complex is an all-natural, vegan-friendly supplement that may improve your vitality, energy, and endurance. Composed of five natural herbs – turmeric, spirulina, reishi, elderberry, and ginger – this complex can reduce fatigue and boost your energy levels in the way that Mother Nature intended.
No matter how long you remain on the road to this major life change, investing in a natural supplement may be the companion you need on your menopausal journey.