Fatigue is common among women, with around a third complaining of a lack of energy, and women are two to four times more likely to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome than men. According to a National Sleep Foundation Poll, compared to men, women are more likely to have trouble falling and staying asleep, to have pain at night, and to experience fatigue during the day. I see this in many of my patients who complain of afternoon fatigue and often need a nap to make it through the evening. These women tell me that after work they are so exhausted that they can’t follow through on exercise plans, get meals together, or do much other than press buttons on the remote and order pizza or takeout Chinese. In addition, when it comes to some moms, I hear complaints that they don’t have the energy it takes to soothe a grumpy or teething baby, supervise homework, or keep track of teen whereabouts. This type of fatigue can turn into anxiety, depression or other destructive behaviors such as overeating or over-imbibing. Fatigue and insomnia are usually related, so it isn’t surprising that they have shared solutions as well. Plus, learning how to overcome energy slumps helps you to establish healthy and sustaining sleep patterns.
One important discovery I’ve made after seeing more than 10,000 women in my practice is that different women experience distinctive challenges with sleep, and have diverse needs when it comes to getting rest. I realized some time ago that I can categorize most women into one of five groups based on a mix of hormone types, body types, common lab patterns, personality strengths and weaknesses, Chinese medicine diagnostics, and Ayurvedic. I call these Power Types because they represent five individual Super Women that I see again and again in my practice. Whatever your type, sleep deprivation and insomnia are like kryptonite—both drain your energy, cause weight gain, and make it difficult to have focus and clarity. Here’s a peek at the five Power Types/Super Women in regards to their sleep challenges, and the solutions that helps restore rest, energy, and balance:
The Gypsy Girl Fatigue Personality
This highly creative and artistic Super Woman hums busily through her days and is often tired by the time evening arrives. Still, Gypsy Girls like to stay up late reading, writing, painting—doing whatever sort of creativity fits her mood. These ladies find the night to a sort of solitude that can fuel their imagination and artistic fire. Unfortunately, the side effect from being a chronic night owl is insomnia, and I often find that Gypsy Girls crash hard if they have extended bouts of late nights and early mornings. Gypsy Girls also have a tendency to be flighty and can tend towards anxious thinking that can also complicate and disrupt restful slumber.
The Boss Lady Fatigue Personality
This busy woman is one who is always on the move. Boss Ladies tend to have a full calendar of engagements and appointments. The Boss Lady schedule can be so cram-packed that nutrition takes a back seat, and coffee can be a crutch. The result is a lifestyle that leads to overstimulation, stress, and anxiety, and sleep gets shortchanged. This high-powered go-getter type of woman often tells me that she’s a night person, and that she just doesn’t need much sleep—when in reality she is probably in a hormone disrupted state. That means that melatonin (the sleep hormone that makes you naturally drowsy at night) is out of balance, and causes a sleep-disrupted state. So while the ambitions of the Boss Lady can be great for hitting deadlines, it isn’t so great for your health.
The Savvy Chick Fatigue Personality
When in balance, this type of women has potent creativity and passion, plus a strong drive and work ethic. Of course, with all that responsibility, these women often suffer from erratic emotions that can interfere with sleep. Thanks to all the heavy thinking and creativity, Savvy Chicks can tip over into clouds of anxiety and depression, which makes falling and staying asleep difficult.
The Earth Mama Fatigue Personality
When in balance this gal usually sleeps soundly and wakes up rested, steady, and strong. Unfortunately, this type, when out of balance, tends to overcommit, to excessively people-please, to gain weight, and to isolate—all of which can interfere with sleep. For Earth Mamas, it’s excessive sleep that can be the problem, especially if you experience bouts of depression. Too much sleep can leave an Earth Mama sluggish all day long.
The Nightingale Fatigue Personality
This lady will save the day every time—when her system is in balance and she is fully charged. The downside is that this Power Type has a tendency to over-give to others while robbing herself of the self-care she needs. This can lead to a depleted immune system and vulnerability to illnesses. Overwork and over-giving can lead to alterations in the normal sleep-wake cycle of the Nightingale, and this can affect two hormones that influence sleep, melatonin and cortisol (the stress hormone).
Not to worry! The right diet, supplements, exercise, and beauty regimens customized to your type will remedy your fatigue issues and have your energy soaring. When you discover your Power Type, you get your own personalized prescription for health—letting you say goodbye to fatigue—Forever!
To find your Power Type and the tools you need to regain your energy take the test, and read my book Super Woman Rx.
This post was written by Dr. Taz: Nationally recognized, Dr. Tasneem Bhatia MD (Dr. Taz) is a board-certified integrative medicine physician and wellness expert, specializing in women’s health, weight loss, nutrition and family wellness. She is the author of “What Doctors Eat,” “The 21 Day Belly Fix,” and the breakthrough “Super Woman RX.” She has been featured in numerous media outlets including The Today Show, Dr. Oz and Live with Kelly.