Fatigue and Menopause

Feel like you want to go back to bed ten minutes after you get up?  Eyes drooping even after you’ve had a cup of coffee?  Fatigue and menopause go hand in hand.  The main reason for this fatigue seems to be lack of a good night sleep because of night sweats and hot flashes.  It’s so reminiscent of those sleepless nights during pregnancy, hungry babies, and crazy teenagers.  By now we thought we would regain our deepest sleep.  Not true!

One easy solution is to just accept it and take naps when needed.   Albert Einstein, Napoléon Bonaparte, Thomas Edison, and at least three presidents: John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton were great nappers (where are the women?).  Naps are quick and restorative.  We sleep in two hour cycles during the night — the first 20 minutes are light sleep but very restorative; then we go into a deep sleep.  But this is hard to wake up from in the middle of the day.  So set a timer for 20 minutes and voilà.  This is referred to as the power nap.  Try it!  You’ll be refreshed and ready to confront the other many symptoms of menopause in addition to the wonderful parts of your rich life, too.

There is another piece to this puzzle.  If you drink caffeine (coffee, tea, etc.) then have a cup right BEFORE your nap.  This doesn’t sound very logical but the caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in.  So when you wake up, you are ready to go!

One of the more delightful remedies for fatigue is taking a brisk short walk, even if it is just around the block.  The fresh air, the green of nature, beautiful gardens, or even cool graffiti can be refreshing.  And if the sun isn’t out, rain or snow falling on your face will wake anyone up!

Fatigue shouldn’t be mistaken for a serious illness like chronic fatigue syndrome or for sleep apnea, both of which need to be addressed by a doctor.  For more info check out Everyday Health.

If all else fails, there’s always a can of Red Bull or pack of No Doz from your local market but Shakespeare had it right, “To sleep, perchance to dream….”