Afternoon fatigue & how it can worsen in perimenopause and menopause

Eileen Durward
Ask Eileen

28 August 2023

Afternoon fatigue in perimenopause and menopause

Tiredness and fatigue are really common symptoms in the perimenopause and menopause. So, it's not surprising that when all the hormonal changes are going on, this can hit you even harder, specifically in the afternoon.

Afternoon fatigue would normally hit you between 2 and 4 p.m. - between your lunchtime and your dinnertime. You may find that you’re fine one minute, and then suddenly, the fatigue hits you, and you can't think, you can't focus, you can't do anything at all because you're so tired.

And I know, when it happened to me it was like somebody just pulled the plug and I had no energy left. And I could literally have curled up underneath my desk and slept.

The other symptoms you can get along with this include yawning all the time, finding that you just get a bit weak, headaches can appear, and also, poor concentration, and brain fog. You might find that you get really irritable, short-tempered, and snappy. And a really common symptom along with all this is that you start to crave either sugary or carb-heavy, comforting food.

The causes of afternoon fatigue and what can help

Here are a few things that can cause this and what to do to help yourself:

Poor sleep

Poor sleep is one of the main perimenopause and menopause symptoms anyway. So, if you've not had a good night's sleep, you are going to feel tired. You're going to have less energy. And by the time you get to 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon, you've probably got nothing left to give energy-wise, so this is a really common scenario.

Skipping meals

It may be that you're skipping breakfast and lunch. And I keep saying it's so important to feed your body really well. If you think about it, if you were going on a long car journey, before you left you would fill up with fuel, you would check the oil, you would check the water, and you would check the air in your tyres. So, every single day in perimenopause and menopause, your body is going on a long journey and it needs feeding. It needs hydrating.

Skipping breakfast is one of the worst things that you can do, especially if you have a busy day. If you're one of those people who can't face breakfast, go with a protein powder drink - something that's going to give your body enough oomph to keep it going at least until lunchtime.

And certainly, if you have breakfast but you skip your lunch, that's you possibly going eight hours without any sustenance whatsoever. Again, it's not surprising that you're going to have no energy, and your blood sugar control can go all over the place at this particular time as well. So, you can be stable one minute, and the next minute, your blood sugar levels can drop. And that's what can really plunge you into this pit of fatigue in the early afternoon. So, it's important that you have lunch too.

A carb-heavy lunch

It could also be that you've had a really heavy, carb-loaded lunch. Carbohydrates are quite difficult to digest, break down, and absorb, so your body is actually using a lot of energy to deal with that particular meal.

So, if you've had a big plate of pasta or one of those huge rolls with loads of things in it, or you've had a rice dish, then your body is going to use a great deal of energy in the digestive process, and there's going be little left for you in the afternoon.


It can also be dehydration. If you're dehydrated, your energy will dip quite considerably. Again, that will contribute to brain fog, poor concentration, and headaches as well.

Tips to help fight afternoon fatigue

There are lots of things you can do to help fight this afternoon fatigue and boost your energy, and they're all really, really simple.

First, loads of water, as always. Watch what you eat at lunchtime, so make sure that you have a protein and healthy fat-based meal rather than a carbohydrate-based one, because the protein and the fats will keep your blood sugar level much more stable.

And I know, for me, when afternoon fatigue happened, all I was having was a big bowl of fruit salad for lunch. And yes, it's full of nutrients, but it's also full of fruit sugar, and that was what was causing my big blood sugar spike and blood sugar dip. So, once I changed over to more of a protein and fat-based lunch, I found that the fatigue really eased off. And obviously, remember, don't skip breakfast: it’s really important.

Avoid relying on caffeinated drinks - your tea, coffee, and these energy drinks to keep you revved up - because they will just interfere with your sleep. If you're tired in the afternoon and you have a cup of coffee at 3pm, the caffeine is still going to be whizzing around your system at 11pm at night, and that's going to interfere with your sleep.

So, if you want your little caffeine boost, have it in the morning; but don't forget to have water thereafter so that you don't end up getting dehydrated as well.

You could try our Balance Mineral Drink. This is a mineral-based drink containing nutrients that are used to help fight fatigue and boost energy. Again, having a drink of this in the early afternoon can really support you well.

Balance Mineral Drink

  • Helps reduce fatigue and tiredness
  • Supports normal muscle function and bone maintenance
  • Provides magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium and vitamin D
  • Suitable for vegetarians & vegans
  • Lactose & gluten free


Great product really helps diatry requirements for perimenopause

Louise Allen

Read more customer reviews

Take a nap. Some people find that really helpful. I can't nap because I always feel worse. But if you're going to have a power nap, then have no more than 10 minutes. If you sleep for longer, you end up going into a proper 90-minute sleep cycle, and because you go so deep, it can make you feel really groggy, especially if you wake up before the hour and a half is complete. So, it really does need to be a short, sharp, afternoon catnap.

I hope you found this one helpful. There are loads of things you can do just to keep your energy up, so this is just a little tip of the iceberg of things that can help.

If any of you out there have tips on what helped you boost your afternoon energy, then please share them as always. I love reading about them.

Until next time, take care.

You may also find these topics helpful:

Types of fatigue in perimenopause and menopause & tips to boost your energy

7 reasons you're always tired during menopause

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