Menopause Day Musings – Move Over 5am Club, It’s The Rise of The 4am Club

Oct 18, 2021 | Personal Effectiveness

Menopause Day Musings - Move Over 5am Club, It's The Rise of The 4am Club

Have you heard of the 4am club?

If you haven’t, it’s because it’s not something many talk about with the same zeal as the 5am club.

Let me tell you about it…

I woke up on a beautiful Monday in March 2021, I was on a roll, I had been keeping my promise to myself, following my morning routine. Whether going to the gym or taking walks around my street or in my home gym, I was making progress.

Work, running my business was intense, but I was coping, or so it seemed.

I jumped on my treadmill at my set time and started to walk and by the 30 min mark, I had done a mix of run and walk and was sweating, it felt brilliant.

“This is a great start to the week”, “see you tomorrow, ” I said to my treadmill.

Tuesday morning, I struggled to get out of bed, shocker!, where is the energised Patience ready to get on with her morning routine?

I rolled out of bed to my desk in my home office, and thought “well today no morning exercise, maybe I will be ready in the afternoon”.

I couldn’t hold myself up to type on my keyboard, it was getting increasingly alarming. After a few minutes of trying that felt like hours, I abandoned my desk and went to my favourite chair in the living room. That was where my husband met me at night when he returned from work.

Wednesday, Thursday, I couldn’t move, I totally felt like one of those horror movies where an alien comes to earth and takes over your body, you are walking around and your friends and family think it’s still you, but it’s an imposter, the alien is in full control.

Thursday afternoon I was alarmed enough to call the doctors.

No answers, but with their help, and going through the internet, searching for information about my symptoms, I began to piece together the alien that was now living in my body.

I am perimenopausal.

I was relieved, but at the same time petrified, anxious and uncertain.

I was surprised that this word had not come up anywhere around me, either with friends or family. This is not something mums talk about to daughters, or discuss amongst themselves.

I wasn’t seeing information about it come up on my social media feed either.

I began to call friends to find out more about their experiences, but didn’t get much, because they didn’t know either. The GP recommended HRT straight away, but of course I have heard horror stories in the media, I wasn’t going anywhere near it without my own research.

I was determined to find out first-hand from those who are in the same boat as me. My search continued.

Finally, I called one friend who I knew had talked about it a few years back in a women’s conference.

She kindly took the time to share her journey and experiences. It was so eye opening.

One thing that occurred to me was, I have been unaware of the subtle changes my body had been going through for a long time. All the strange symptoms and health challenges I had been experiencing over the past 7 years, with no answers from doctors, probably were the onset of perimenopause.

The alien I thought had taken over my body was no alien at all, it is the new me, saying goodbye to the trusted hormones of my youth (estrogen and progesterone).

Welcome to the new me.

My body had tried to tell me for many years that she was losing something, but I wasn’t listening, I didn’t have a clue and no one around me did to enlighten me.

My friend had mentioned that sometimes it takes trauma to actually begin to hear your body.

This seemed true in my case, the complete loss of capability to move and function on Tuesday morning, was my body finally shouting to get my attention.

I am grateful for the megaphone of complete breakdown my body used, because I would have kept letting stress do damage to my body without it.

With menopausal symptoms, women need to manage stress to avoid major health complications.

Along with fatigue, other symptoms swiftly got amplified.

Itchy skin, brain fog, joint problems that were happening without any sports injury I could remember, hot flushes and night sweats, and then consistently at 4am every night like the call of the director in a movie saying Action!, my eyes would pop wide open, alert and awake.

That was the end of sleep, as I knew it.

This was how I joined the 4am club.

Unlike the 5am club where you choose to join because you are a go-getter who wants to set your alarm to follow through, nature enrols you into the 4am club, you have to comply with it, no options given and no motivation required.

Yes, the 5am club is for young people and so yesterday’s news, “move over 5am club, the new club is the 4am club” (ha-ha), at least in my world and those of my age mates it is.

The 4am club is exclusive because you get in by two conditions:

  1. Getting older and being perimenopausal
  2. You don’t apply to join, you just arrive at enrolment.

In this club you have some common symptoms that members exhibit:

  •  At 4am sharp your eyes pop open,
  •  You toss and turn but nope! sleep is gone,
  • Fatigue affects you, so you panic that come morning you will be so exhausted, you are very much aware of that fatigue is compounding and debilitating, and
  • Come morning too, you are murderous and anyone who says “good morning” has signed their death warrant,  you are cranky (ha-ha).

All is not lost though!

You may not be in control of joining the 4am club, but you have a choice, to choose to be in this club grudgingly or choose to embrace this new phase of your life and make it beautiful.

It’s the principle of “fight against the tide or choose to get a boat and let the tide take you to new horizons”

Which do you choose?

Well for me, I choose to go with the tide.

I think in life you get to choose your attitude to things you can’t change…… you can get bitter or better, helpless or empowered

I love getting better and empowered

So I decided every 4am it’s time to grow.

I give myself full permission to embrace getting older, wiser and stronger.

“Time waits for no one”.

This is a great opportunity to redeem time and make it work for me.

The loss of the reproduction hormones estrogen and progesterone causes some devastating changes to the body that need to be managed. Then there is the decrease in melatonin (the sleep hormone) that coincides with the decrease in these reproduction hormones

According to the US National Library of Medicine (National Institute of Health)

At the menopausal transition, insomnia is part of the typical menopausal symptoms (e.g. hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sexual dysfunction, mood disturbances, anxiety and restlessness). These symptoms coexist with the decrease in reproductive hormones and melatonin. These hormonal changes seem to affect sleep directly. A decline in the levels of these hormones in menopausal and postmenopausal women and the complex interaction among these hormones can significantly contribute to sleep problems, poor concentration, fatigue and decreased quality of life.

I am privileged to be running my own business, therefore I am the HR department, I can write my own policy.

Perhaps, things would have been different if I was employed and working for an employer that has no policy that includes support for perimenopausal or menopausal women.

My work policy now had to be flexible, accommodate the inclusion of perimenopause to allow me to transition with acceptance and sometimes much effort from the old Patience to the new me.

Here is what I decided to do:

  • Accept insomnia, offer grace and manage my daytime activities efficiently and effectively.
  • When moments of brain fog kick in, I ride the fog and carry on when inspiration hits again.
  • Recognise energy zappers and eliminate them.
  • Courageously chose to be unapologetic about needing to rest or walk away.
  • Change my eating and exercise habits, because truly if I want to be empowered, there is no other choice. I have to embrace healthy eating and movement.
  • Offer myself kindness and unconditional love.
  • Continue to educate myself on the changes happening in my body and the impact it is having on my wellbeing and mental health.
  • Tap into gratitude, laughter, faith and spousal support.
  • Choose to share my experience and journey to help others. I think within the Black, African and Asian communities, there is a need to talk about menopause more.
  • I have connected on LinkedIn with Kate Usher – A Menopause Coach. I have gained so much from her writings, videos and blogs. The information she provides has helped me to build my life and begin to thrive. She helps me see reason to be excited and celebrate this new phase of life, and
  • I have also found herbal remedies/food supplements useful in helping me manage fatigue and insomnia. Doctors are not allowed to recommend herbal remedies and supplements, so you won’t get this information from your doctors. But please do your own research and check with your doctors before taking on any advice.

Here are tips and tools to consider:

  1. Sleep hygiene practices recommended by my GP-
  2. Herbal teas such as Twinnings Calm and Sleep help me fall back to sleep, when I awake at 4am, I make myself a cup and just get on doing something useful like reading and writing, creating content etc, I get tired and fall into a relaxed sleep. Twinnings Boost helps me with energy during the day and I also add the Calm tea too.
  3. Menopause support food supplements – from A Vogel help with fatigue.
  4. Seven Seas Cod Liver oil supplements have been of great help with overall sense of wellbeing, maintaining immunity, joint and bone health.
  5. Less intense, but consistent exercise and weights, eating wholesome foods and lots of protein, help with energy levels, building muscle and blood sugar regulation.
  6. is a website that contains lots of information on menopause that you might find very useful.
  7. Support and talking to someone, staying informed – I recommend
  8. Like most things in life, having an awareness and understanding of your own personal needs allows you to seek out the right information that will help you thrive.
  9. Get insights on Hormone Replacement Therapy. A lot of research has been done over the years about HRT and its positive impact on the health and wellbeing or perimenopausal and menopausal women, but this is not widely shared in the media. Do lots of your own research and keep speaking to your GP.
  10. Seek ways of of maintaining a positive attitude and outlook on this transition to a different phase in your life.

Here is some food for thought:

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light” – Albus Dumbledore

Finally, Feel free to connect with me too, if you just need a friend to understand where you are at and what you are going through. 

Happy Menopause Day 🙂