Menopause already has plenty of annoying symptoms, like hot flashes, mood swings, and irritability. But many women also struggle with severe fatigue, making enjoying regular activities difficult. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to manage these symptoms. Here are a few tips:

Prioritize rest.
If your body is telling you that you need sleep, you should try to get some rest. Aim to sleep 7-9 hours a night. The best way to accomplish this is to have a solid bedtime routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Turn the lights down and the tv off at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Unwind with a good book, warm bath, or a cup of herbal tea. The important thing is to help your body relax, so you can fall asleep easily.

Eat a balanced diet.
Diet can have a huge impact on energy. A diet for energy is low in processed foods and sugar, but high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains. Aim to eat balanced meals at least three times a day that includes some type of protein, fruit or vegetable, and a healthy fat. Going too long without food can also zap energy.

Watch your weight.
Many people just accept weight gain as a part of menopause, but it doesn’t have to be. Carrying around excess weight can make you feel sluggish and lethargic. Losing even just 5-10% of your body weight can improve your energy. It can give you the motivation to eat better and exercise, making weight loss even easier.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, regular exercise gives you more energy. It improves sleep so you feel well-rested and ready to tackle the day. It boosts hormones that make you feel good, so you feel motivated. Aim to workout at least 30-60 minutes a day. Pick an activity that you enjoy, like walking, swimming, or a group fitness class.

Visit your doctor.
The fatigue you are experiencing may be simply related to hormonal changes, but it could also be caused by underlying medical conditions, such as anemia, heart disease, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, or kidney issues. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also cause fatigue. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any of these potential energy zappers.

Limit caffeine.
Too much caffeine can interfere with your ability to rest. More than one cup of coffee a day may impact sleep and throw off your circadian rhythm. After your first “wake up” cup, consider switching to tea or decaf.

Cut back on alcohol.
Although it may seem like alcohol helps you fall asleep, it can interfere with getting the amount of rest you need by disrupting sleep patterns. It can you feeling drained in the morning due to dehydration and the build-up of toxins. Alcohol also alters hormones, which can make other menopause symptoms worse. Nicotine may have the same effect, so it’s best not to smoke.

Take the right supplements.
Although you should always speak to your doctor before taking any supplements, there are several that might help with menopause symptoms, including fatigue. Black cohosh and valerian help regulate hormones, which may help boost energy. Omega-3s and a quality multivitamin can help as well. Fruit and vegetable powders can boost the nutrient content of your diet, resulting in more energy.

With a few small lifestyle changes you can manage your menopause fatigue successfully. Luckily, these symptoms only tend to last a few years until your body adapts to the change in hormones.

Yours in Health-

Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
IVL’s Community Registered Dietitian