The paradox of midlife fatigue is that it's not as simple as just going to bed earlier. Most of us who feel chronically tired know that something else is going on in the body. It can be that you aren't making enough energy (thyroid), the food you're eating isn't the right kind of fuel for your body, your progesterone levels may have fallen too low relative to your estrogen causing insomnia.
You may also have adrenal fatigue, which often kicks in in midlife after years of chronic low-grade stress, but especially after a very stressful event. Adrenal fatigue often insidiously creeps up on you making you not even remember what it feels like to wake up with energy or feel like you can tackle weekend projects like you used to be able to.
The best news is that you can tackle the various causes of fatigue by observing your symptoms and addressing each area of diet, stress, hormones, and adrenal function one by one.
some causes of fatigue and what to do about them
- If you have any kind of autoimmune condition like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, R.A., have a high A1c number that is considered prediabetic, have chronically high fasting blood glucose, have unexplained weight gain (especially in the midsection), suffer from depression, foggy thinking, infertility issues, or cannot lose weight using the dieting and exercise tricks that used to work for you, then switching to a low carb/paleo, primal, or ketogenic way of eating has been shown to help these conditions because eating low carb helps balance your hormones, reduce inflammation, and lowers insulin and blood glucose which also allows you to lose weight and feel more energetic. For more on the low carb lifestyle go here.
- You must be proactive and prioritize the importance of getting enough sleep. If you don't, then over time your mitochondria (the energy centers of your cells) can get damaged and that will leave you unable to generate enough energy for living your life. In fact, mitochondrial damage is at the heart of the metabolic theory of cancer. I have a lot of tips and tricks for you about how to get more sleep here and here.
- Falling progesterone levels in relation to estrogen for women in midlife can turn you into a vampire. I've been through that hell and let me tell you that was one of the worst things I've been through. Get your sex hormones tested and if need be, balanced. Once I did, it was near instant relief and I was able to both fall asleep again easily and stay asleep.
- A low functioning thyroid will slow down every system in your body. This happens at the cellular level because cells can't get enough t3 from a sluggish thyroid to create the energy your body needs. This manifests in many symptoms like fatigue unrelieved by sleep, hair loss, indigestion, constipation, foggy thinking, irregular periods, depression, and many others. It's very easy to determine if you have a sluggish thyroid yourself at home. To learn more go here.
- Adrenal fatigue can often feel like a ‘wired and tired' state of being or total exhaustion. It depends on where you fall on the spectrum of adrenal fatigue progression. It's really really important to recognize the symptoms of adrenal fatigue and be proactive to recover. Adrenal fatigue is a huge signal that your body needs attention and care and healing adrenal fatigue often demands sweeping lifestyle changes in order for healing to happen. For more information about adrenal fatigue, go here.
- Taking the right supplements can absolutely help you feel more energetic and less tired, especially if you've been feeling tired. To see what supplements I take and why they are so important in midlife, go here.