There you are chatting away, and you suddenly stop mid-sentence because whatever you were saying is...gone? Just read a message but couldn’t tell someone even under oath what it said? And hang on, why are you halfway up the stairs?
No, you’re most likely not losing your marbles. You’re having difficulty concentrating because of that dastardly menopause. She can be a real cow sometimes, can’t she?
Most women notice this symptom during the early phases of the perimenopause and find it normally comes in waves as they move towards the menopause (and sometimes beyond) rather than being a constant issue.
Although not confirmed, it’s thought to be down to hormonal fluctuations – hormones have a strong link with neurotransmitters in the brain, so when they’re low it has a side-effect on brain function.
Oestrogen, in particular, encourages blood flow to the brain so, if there’s not enough of it about, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to focus at your best.
TOP TIPS FOR YOU
From brain-boosting foods to a workout in the mind gym, there are lots of lifestyle switches you can make to help you banish those menopause concentration problems get back up and firing on all cylinders.
REMEMBER: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
‘Superfoods’ is a marketing term but we can genuinely get behind some of these tasty beauties.
Fruits like blueberries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, and green leafy vegetables like kale contain goodies like Vitamin K.
Oily fish like salmon and mackerel have been shown in some studies to improve memory in older, healthy adults. Swap snacks like crisps and biscuits to dark chocolate and nuts too and you’ll be on fire at your next pub quiz.
STOCK UP ON SUPPLEMENTS
If you’re worried about not getting enough nutrients through your food, you might want to think about buying a supplement. Vitamin B6 and soya isoflavones are credited with helping to regulate hormone activity.
There are also herbal remedies available which claim to boost concentration, including ginkgo biloba. This extract comes from leaves and is believed to help maintain and benefit the blood flow to the brain.
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
Although your brain isn’t literally a muscle, treat it like one and use mind games to exercise it. By doing these regularly, you’ll strengthen neural connections and improve your overall levels of concentration and memory.
Go on, sit back with a cuppa and do a crossword, sudoku – or any kind of mental workout that tickles your fancy – whenever you can.
SORT OUT YOUR BEDTIME ROUTINE
Making sure you set yourself up for a quality night’s sleep will pay dividends the following day.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Avoid screens at least two hours before trying to drift off as the blue light they emit tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime.
Natural remedies like valerian can also help make for a more restful night. If you’re suffering from symptoms which are disrupting your sleep, like insomnia or night sweats, click to read more tailored advice.
MAKE SOME ‘ME TIME’
Stress plays a big role in disrupting concentration. Trying to reduce the number of stressful things you’ve got going on isn’t always possible, but making sure you take some time for yourself away from a hectic schedule is important.
Go for a walk to clear your mind, take a long bath or try a menopause yoga tutorial. Whatever you do, do it for you.
TOP TIPS FOR OTHERS
Sorry what were we saying again? Oh yes, poor concentration and what you can do to help the menopausal women in your life.
OUR ADVICE TO HER
We’ve suggested that she finds ‘me time’ in her busy life to combat stress and sorts out her bedtime routine to set herself up for a brain-charging night’s rest.
She could also sharpen her brain with mind games like sudoku or crosswords.
More info on all of these top tips is on the ‘For her’ section of this page. Take a look.
It can be frustrating when you don’t get a clear answer to what you think is a simple question. But imagine the frustration of not being able to find the answer because your brain seemingly won’t focus on anything?
Give her time and don’t make it a big deal if she can’t give you the answer right away. Brushing over it will stop her from feeling flustered and means she’ll probably know what she wants to say quicker.
SUGGEST A SUPPLEMENT
Some women find ginkgo biloba supplements, extra vitamin B6 and soya isoflavones helps give them a brain boost.
Why not gently ask if she’s tried anything like that? Let her know she can find loads of reputable suppliers over on our nutrition page.
CREATE A WEEKLY MEAL PLAN
With poor concentration, it’s really important women get enough lean protein, vitamins K which is in leafy green like kale and two weekly portions of oily fish containing Omega 3.
Planning meals ahead is a good way to get an overview of what you’re eating and manage weight too, while shopping for the ingredients together and sharing the cooking can take the pressure off. Why don’t you consult a nutritionist together too, to get the most out of your diet?
FIND A NEW FOCUS
We can’t wish symptoms away, but it sure helps if we can find something nice to distract ourselves from them for a while.
Give yourselves and your relationship a new lease of life by finding something new to do together. Take her lead, she may not be up for learning to jive if her concentration is shot, but she might always have wanted to learn photography or how to cook Thai food.