Fatigue And Insomnia: Is Your Menopause Really To Blame?

Fatigue and insomnia are fairly common and intrinsically linked to middle aged women. Most women in their mid-30s to late 50s will have suffered from these problems for significant periods of time. And more particularly when they are going through menopause. This is because menopause, and the changes that it brings about in the body, are the commonest contributors to these problems. However, there may be other causes too – and we’ll be coming to those later.

Photo Credit: Rochelle, just rochelle via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Rochelle, just rochelle via Compfight cc

 First let’s take a look at…

Menopause and Fatigue

Menopause leads to major hormonal changes in the body. Particularly, both the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop. And both affect sleep in different ways. We’ll see how:

Progesterone and sleep

Progesterone has a role to play in the brain. It affects that part of your brain associated with the feeling of sleepiness. When the level of this hormone dwindles, you have trouble falling asleep. This is classic premise for insomnia. And as you know, prolonged and regular insomnia leads to long-term fatigue caused by sleep deprivation. In fact, in middle aged women, many sleep disturbances have been reported and attributed to a drop in levels of progesterone.

On the other hand, estrogen also has a role to play…

Estrogen and sleep

Estrogen is associated with what is called REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement – a state in which a person dreams. The dreams are the ways of the brain of assimilating and sorting out the events of the day. It is also the period of deepest relaxation – where the body is at rest and is engaged in restorative and reconstructive processes. However, the fall in estrogen levels at this juncture of life means that even when you do sleep – your mind isn’t able to reach the REM state. Your sleep isn’t completely peaceful or restorative as a result. And this gives rise to fatigue.

Photo Credit: jjay69 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jjay69 via Compfight cc

So, from these facts, it would seem that menopause is a huge contributor to fatigue, especially the kind caused by insomnia.

However, while menopause may be a contributing factor, it is one that can be managed with the proper supplements and therapy. As can insomnia and fatigue being caused by lifestyle factors like:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Caffeine
  • Poor diet
  • Jet lag
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Being bored

For these causes, targeting the cause can often help to overcome the insomnia and the fatigue. However, there can be other more serious causes, and these require more than just remedies. Read on…

What else could be the cause?

Photo Credit: moominmolly via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: moominmolly via Compfight cc

There are a few other problems that could lead to insomnia and fatigue. For instance:

  • If the fatigue is coupled with major depression that is not responding to menopause supplements, then your thyroid could be at fault.
  • Malfunctioning of the adrenal glands could also be the cause for low energy during the day leading to insomnia and fatigue.
  • Anemia is another cause.
  • Having another contributing factor causing narcolepsy, insomnia or sleep apnea could also be a cause.
  • Long term depression or anxiety by themselves could also be a contributor.
  • Finally, heart disease is known to cause fatigue.

If you suspect that any of the above is the case with you, then you need to visit a doctor at the earliest – as you probably need medical attention.

Always remember that fatigue and insomnia in middle aged women can be indicative of something as natural as menopause – or of something much more serious. In either case, proper assessment is essential for one’s safety. And once that has been done, you need to seek medical attention or remedial measures. Because at the end of the day – insomnia or fatigue can both greatly affect the quality of life you are leading!