Why Am I So Tired All the Time?

3 minute read

By: Sheryl Kraft|Last updated: May 10, 2022
Medically reviewed by: Sharon D. Malone

True story: A woman we know got pulled over in broad daylight. Perplexed, she asked the cop what she did wrong “Your car was veering over the line. Have you been drinking?” 

She wasn’t drunk. She was exhausted. Uh, oh.

Day after day, like a bad movie with the reel is on repeat, you ask: Why am I so tired all the time?

The obvious answer is that you’re not getting enough sleep. Yawn, yawn. But fatigue is not always that simple – especially when menopause takes center stage.

With all the changes that come with menopause, add sleep to the roster. Indeed, studies confirm that sleep disorders, like insomnia and fatigue, are front and center of sleep woes, responsible for the tiredness that plagues you (and 40 to 60 percent of other menopausal women).

It’s likely you know what we’re talking about here: Trouble falling or staying asleep. Being wide awake at 3AM or waking way before your alarm rings. Yeah, that.

AW060 Why Am I So Tired All the Time? (1) (woman, daylight arm over her face in bed)

What’s Sabotaging Your Sleep

Well before your periods stop (up to 10 years prior to menopause, for some women), hormones begin to fluctuate in what’s known as perimenopause. It’s around this time that many women begin to notice that their sleep is off.

Stay with us here, and we promise to make it simple. Fluctuating levels of hormones —progesterone, the sleep-producing hormone and estrogen, notorious for things like night sweats — mess with your nightly experience. Add to that some other stuff that menopause brings, like sleep apnea, anxiety, depression, having to get up to pee in the middle of the night, and there you have it. 

Now that we know what’s happening, let’s consider the best ways to deal with symptoms of menopausal fatigue:

Layer up for Sleep

It can be tough to predict when a hot flash will strike (making you want to rip your clothes off in front of total strangers), but we can just about guarantee that night sweats will tiptoe in at least once a night. You might be cold when you get into bed but be prepared for your body to heat up. By dressing your bed (and yourself) in layers, you can remove each to find instant cool. 

Stick to a Regular Bedtime

Going to sleep and getting up at the same time can help ensure a good (better) night’s rest by keeping your circadian rhythm in, well, rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is your body’s inner clock and is responsible for controlling your sleep-wake cycle — and it likes consistency. 

AW058 Why Am I So Tired All the Time? (full)(photo of woman sleeping from above)

Manage Your Naps

It’s tempting to catch some mid-day zzz’s, and sometimes it’s downright necessary. But avoid snoozing in the late afternoon or evening, if possible, since it might affect your sleep later on.

Revel in a Routine 

Menopause can throw the best-laid plans out of whack, but a good, solid bedtime routine can help you feel calm and settle you in for the night. Aim for whatever strikes your fancy, as long as it’s on the serene side: read, take a soak in a warm tub, listen to some soothing tunes, practice deep breathing, meditation, light stretching or gentle yoga.

Nix the Electronics

Cell phones, computers, tablets and TVs: Put them to sleep long before you turn in, since the light from the devices can interfere with your production of melatonin (a naturally-occurring hormone you need to lull you into slumber). 

Eat Healthfully and Mindfully

Maybe you crave carbs or itch for ice cream, but know that the foods you eat can affect your sleep. It’s best to avoid large meals before bedtime, and steer clear of spicy or acidic foods, which can trigger hot flashes. 

Keep the Bedroom Cool

You don’t want it too hot or too cold, dear Goldilocks, so aim for an in-between temp of between 60- and 67-degrees Fahrenheit, which experts agree is the optimal sleeping climate.

AW059 Why Am I So Tired All the Time? (3) (woman on yoga mat in sunshine)

Exercise

Popular consensus has experts nodding at the benefits of exercise to help you fall asleep more quickly and for a longer, better night’s sleep. And although many of these same experts will caution you not to exercise it too close to bedtime, others don’t believe it makes =much of a difference, so we’ll let you be the judge of that one!

Adjusting your hormones can also help improve your sleep. Head to our product page to check out your options. A menopause-trained doctor will review your choices to make sure you get the right treatment.

We may not be able to control things like the weather or gossiping co-workers. But we do stand a fighting chance to control our fatigue..

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6092036/

  2. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/circadian-rhythm

  3. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/sleep-problems-and-menopause-what-can-i-do

  4. https://www.sleep.org/ways-technology-affects-sleep/

  5. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/women-sleep/menopause-and-sleep

  6. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/best-temperature-for-sleep

  7. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/exercising-for-better-sleep

Written by:

Sheryl Kraft

Sheryl Kraft is a seasoned freelance health writer, who writes, and is passionate about, healthy aging, wellness, fitness, nutrition and just about anything related to improving our lifestyle and personal health. Her work has been published widely in print and online outlets, including AARP, Parade, Family Circle, Weight Watchers, Spry, Prevention, WebMD, Everyday Health and many more. Sheryl lives in Fairfield County, CT., with husband Alan and new puppy Annie, and is the mother of two grown sons, Jonathan and Jeremy.

Medically reviewed by:

Sharon D. Malone

Dr. Sharon Malone is among the nation’s leading obstetrician / gynecologists with a focus on the specific health challenges associated with menopause.