Why am I so Tired? Natural Solutions for Energy~ Michelle Tonkin ND
We all have times in our lives when we feel tired or fatigued. Whether that’s from lack of sleep, our diet, stress or even medications we may be currently taking.
In fact, about 1/3 of adults, teens have reported feeling sleepy or fatigued.
Although fatigue can accompany some health conditions and disease processes, often the correction of fatigue can be helped by making a few simple lifestyle changes.
So, what causes fatigue and low energy and how can one Beat Tiredness?
Some of the answers are obvious, such as enough sleep, stress, diet, or even side effects of medication. However, there are other conditions like hypothyroidism, anemia, and chronic fatigue which can also have symptoms like low energy or fatigue. So, let’s look at some of the common causes of fatigue as well as lifestyle suggestions to help your body feeling more energetic and alert.
Lack of Sleep
Getting enough sleep may seem like an obvious reason, but not only is a lack of sleep often a factor in fatigue and energy issues but also the quality of sleep as well as when you do sleep. It is estimated the average adults need around 6-8 hrs. of quality uninterrupted sleep. “According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society, adults need an average of seven hours of sleep per night for optimal health” 10 Reasons You’re Always Tired (And What You Can Do About It) (healthline.com)).
It is also important that sleep be uninterrupted in order for our brain to go through each of the five stages of the sleep cycle. Another important aspect of sleep is when we sleep. It has been noted that sleeping during the day can have a negative impact on our body’s natural circadian rhythm (“biological changes that occur in response to light and darkness during a 24-hour cycle”) When our sleeping habits fall out of the natural circadian rhythm, chronic fatigue may become an issue. We mostly find this problem among those who work at night, such as those with night shift jobs.
“Sleep experts estimate that 2–5% of all shift workers suffer from a sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness or disrupted sleep over a period of one month or more." 10 Reasons You’re Always Tired (And What You Can Do About It) (healthline.com)
So, it is our recommendation to sleep at night whenever possible.
However, if you have a job that requires you to work at night there are several beneficial strategies that can help shift your internal clock, which will in turn benefit your energy levels.
“In one study, shift workers reported significantly less fatigue and better mood after being exposed to bright light pulses, wearing dark sunglasses outside and sleeping in total darkness."(10 Reasons You’re Always Tired (And What You Can Do About It) (healthline.com))
Glasses that block blue light may also prove to be beneficial for those working the night shift.
It's also suggested to develop a regular sleep routine.
A study done showed that teenagers who went to bed at the same time both on weekdays and weekends did in fact report less fatigue and had an easier time being able to fall asleep when compared with those who stayed up later and slept less on the weekends. Napping has also been shown to help boost energy levels. Research suggests that:
“Taking naps has been shown to decrease tiredness in pilots, who often experience fatigue due to long working hours and jet lag” 10 Reasons You’re Always Tired (And What You Can Do About It) (healthline.com)
Natural remedies can also be useful in combating fatigue and feeling tired. One great supplement to help with stress and sleep is Ionix Supreme, it’s a blend of Adaptogenic herbs like Ashwagandha, Gingko Bilboa etc. which not only has been shown to help the body combat stress but also can help with relaxation. Taken in the day can help with energy levels and taken right before bed can promote a restful night sleep.
One issue that can accompany those with chronic sleep issues is Sleep apnea. “Sleep Apnea is a chronic condition in which there may be pauses in breathing, or shallow breathing, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a minute while a person is sleeping." Why Am I So Tired? Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do (verywellmind.com) These pauses and shallow breaths can occur as many as 30 times a minute and, each time breathing returns to normal, often with a snort or a choking sound, it can be very disruptive to a person's sleep.”
Because of the constant disruption in sleep, this condition can be a cause for daytime fatigue.
Some other symptoms with sleep apnea can include: morning headaches, memory problems, poor concentration, irritability, depression, and a sore throat upon waking.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea it is highly suggested to get help from a medical professional. Often, they will suggest a sleep study. This study is used to determine if sleep apnea is an issue and if so, treatments such as a CPAP machine may be suggested. Sleep Apnea is not to be taken lightly as if it remains untreated it can not only lead to fatigue but also heart disease, stroke, or even sudden death.
Lack of Exercise
Too little physical activity can also be the cause of low energy. Unfortunately this can be a vicious cycle, where people have low energy don’t want to exercise, but lack of exercise can also promote low energy.
Studies have shown that even those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome that some exercise may actually help to reduce fatigue, this has shown to be true even with those combatting illnesses like cancer. To boost energy levels with exercise, start slowly, one of the best overall exercises is just walking. Swimming, gardening, or doing some other type of low impact exercise that you enjoy can help boost your energy and your mood.
Our diets help to fuel our bodies providing them with important fuel that we need. However, if we choose foods that are high in sugar and refined carbs it can negatively affect our energy long term. Refined carbs break down too quickly which can shoot our sugar up, resulting in a temporary feel good high until we crash soon after, leaving us feeling shaky, hungry, irritable and tired. It’s important to therefore supply our bodies with a balanced diet and with food and nutrients that can sustain us short and long term.
It is suggested to replace sugar and refined carbs instead with foods that are rich in fiber, such as whole foods. A whole foods-based diet will help keep you satisfied and keep your energy levels consistent and even throughout the day. Are you on the go? don’t have time in the mornings or maybe afternoons?
We suggest Isalean shakes or bars. This is science- based nutrition that provides your body with awesome high- quality nutrition that will help fill in the gaps in your diet! Great for everyone from those looking to lose a few pounds, to those who are athletes and everyone in-between!
Another possible culprit for feeling tired are Food sensitivities or intolerances. Normally these can cause symptoms ranging from digestive issues to headaches. However fatigue can also be a symptom of an intolerance to something you are eating. Some of the most common food sensitives are gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, soy and corn.
If you think food allergies could be slowing you down, you should consider talking to your primary care physician. They may suggest a food allergy test to see what foods you may be sensitive to. For those dealing with food sensitivities you may have to take certain foods out of your diet for a period of time until your gut has healed. You can check out more out info about that in the Leaky Gut Syndrome video here.
“Up to 60% of the human adult body is water” ~ The Water in You: Water and the Human Body (usgs.gov) so making sure we are hydrated is very important. Our body uses water in many of its biochemical processes and we lose water in our breath, stool, pee, and sweat.
“Several studies have shown that being even mildly dehydrated can lead to lower energy levels and a decreased ability to concentrate." (10 Reasons You’re Always Tired (And What You Can Do About It) (healthline.com)”
It is important to drink at least 64oz of water per day. Some people may need more depending their weight and on how much physical exertion they do. Some symptoms of dehydration may include: thirst, fatigue, dizziness, and headaches.
A great way to help replenish your body’s electrolytes is with the Amped Hydrate. It tastes great and is an easy way to add back lost minerals through sweat etc. Add this to your water for a boost in essential minerals like sodium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, as well as Vitamin C, and B Complex!
Unfortunately, with many adults and teenagers running on empty there are many popular energy drinks on the market. They usually have the following ingredients:
Large doses of B vitamins
While these do provide a quick energy boost, most of these energy drinks often set people up for rebound fatigue as the caffeine and sugar wear off
“an energy shot may contain up to 350 mg, and some energy drinks provide as much as 500 mg per can. By comparison, coffee typically contains between 77–150 mg of caffeine per cup." 10 Reasons You’re Always Tired (And What You Can Do About It) (healthline.com)
Even at smaller dosages, caffeine drank in the afternoon can affect the quality of sleep and may impact energy the following day as well.
To help break this vicious cycle it is recommended to gradually come off the energy drinks and also limit coffee and other caffeinated beverage throughout the day.
We suggest using natural energy boosters such as found in E-Shot.
This little bundle energy gets its energy source from Adaptogenic herbs like Eleuthero Root and Schisandra Berry and its caffeine from the plant Yerba Mate. E-shots actually help your body deal with stress and fatigue and don’t leave you crashing later. My dad likes to use them when he has to drive on road trips, and others use them to stay sharp studying for school, or working on projects for work.
“Depression is a condition believed to be caused abnormalities in mood-regulating chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain.1” Why Am I So Tired? Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do (verywellmind.com)
Those with depression can have issues with their sleep and energy levels. They can trouble falling asleep or may also wake up during the night. It can also make people feel sluggish or not motivated. Other symptoms can include: feeling sad, empty, changes in weight and or appetite, feeling worthless, guilty, and also even having thoughts of death and or suicide.
Depression has many factors but since brain chemistry can be a major issue, we often suggest the Isalean or Whole Blend shakes as they contain all the major amino acids in an easy to digest format. These shakes are often called “Happy Shakes” as they help to balance the brain chemistry.
Anemia can be another cause of fatigue. Anemia occurs when the body has a lower number of red blood cells or you aren’t producing enough hemoglobin.
“Hemoglobin is the substance which gives red blood cells their color. It is also involved in carrying oxygen throughout your body.” Why Am I So Tired? Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do (verywellmind.com)
If you are deficient in either red blood cells or hemoglobin your body will not get enough oxygen and this can make you have symptoms such as pale skin, dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath.
“Iron deficiency alone, even without anemia, is now thought to be a cause of chronic fatigue.2” Why Am I So Tired? Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do (verywellmind.com)
Getting a blood test from your doctor is helpful to rule out possible anemia and or iron deficiency. A great way to get a natural whole food- based form of Iron is from New Chapter Iron Complex. This is a whole foods- based Iron which does not need to be taken with food and is very safe. Another great idea is to add the Isagenix Greens! to your regime, these are high quality, dense nutrients that have a lot of naturally occurring amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Greens are well known to have naturally occurring high amounts of iron in them, which is great for helping to oxygenate the body and increasing iron. It is also recommended to take a good high quality Vitamin C such as Whole Cfrom OHS as Vitamin C works in conjunction with iron for best absorption.
“Hypothyroidism is a disease in which thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid disease is very common, especially in women, and affects 27 to 60 million people in the United States alone.” Why Am I So Tired? Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do (verywellmind.com)
The thyroid is located in the center of your neck. Its hormones are what help control our metabolism and energy. If our thyroid is low we can experience symptoms like tiredness, fatigue, weight gain, and feeling cold.
A Thyroid test can help rule out if an underactive thyroid could be causing your symptoms of fatigue.
Another possible issue with the thyroid are viral infections. Viral Infections such as Epstein Barr virus can affect the thyroid gland and can be a cause for hypo or hyperthyroidism. It is therefore recommended to consider adding a natural antiviral such as Takuna from Nutramedix to help support your body in eliminating viral infections like Epstein Barr which could be affecting your thyroid gland.
Heart disease and heart failure can make you feel tired and unable to exercise. With these issues the heart is not as effective in pumping oxygenated blood to the body and its tissues. This can make even the simplest of activities difficult.
“Other possible symptoms of heart disease include chest pain, palpitations, dizziness, fainting, and shortness of breath.” Why Am I So Tired? Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do (verywellmind.com)
Its important to keep your doctor or physician aware of any possible history of heart disease in the family as well as any symptoms you may currently be experiencing. A natural product that can help with heart function as well as help the body to clear accumulation of plaque in the arteries is Cardio ND from Premier Research Labs.
Diabetes is a health issue that occurs when the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or is not able to use the insulin like it should. Insulin is a hormone that the pancreas makes and this hormone is what is responsible for glucose entering into the body’s cells for energy production. Which can be why those with diabetes can have energy issues. Other issues may include:
“frequent urination, extreme thirst, unexplained weight loss, extreme hunger, sudden vision changes, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, dry skin, slow-healing wounds or more infections than usual.” Why Am I So Tired? Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do (verywellmind.com)
A blood sugar test can help determine if your sugar falls within a normal range and another test known as hemoglobin A1C can help give an average of what your blood sugar has been doing for the past 3 months. A product that we suggest to help with high blood sugar is called Curalin. This product consists of herbs like Gymnema Slyvestre, Tumeric, Bitter Melon, Amla, Cinnamon, Fenugreek and others which help the blood with blood sugar regulation and inflammation.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
“Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder characterized by intense fatigue that does not improve with rest and which may be made worse by physical or mental exertion.” Why Am I So Tired? Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do (verywellmind.com)
Besides major energy and fatigue issues, those dealing with CFS may also have symptoms such as short- term memory or concentration issues, muscle and joint pain, headaches, sore throats, and tender lymph nodes
Doctors used to label chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) as the Epstein-Barr virus disease. The thought being that this virus was the sole cause. Although many with Chronic Fatigue do test positive for Epstein-Barr, there is another factor involved-- reduced immunity response. This is the immune system that has been worn down through overuse of antibiotics, drugs, bad diet, and stress, and has paved the way for foreign invaders like parasites, bacteria, viruses and Candidiasis to take residence. In addition, these parasites (by definition anything that survives off the host) steal nutrition from the body to nourish and feed themselves, robbing the host of vital nutrients needed to function. In doing so, these parasites also produce their own toxins which further aggravate the situation, throwing more toxins into the already compromised system.
The loss of valuable nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes) is also a part of this process. With all the nutrient robbing, the enzyme systems that require vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to function properly slow down. As a result, the body fatigues and immune function declines, as it is not being given the energy it needs to do its job. According to Dr. Edward J. Conley, “The onset of chronic fatigue syndrome results from the progressive deterioration of enzymatic reactions, rather than from an attack by a single virus.”
~ Conley, Edward J. Dr. America Exhausted Breakthrough Treatment of Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Flint: Vitality Press, 1997
Boost Energy Levels and Beat Tiredness!
Those dealing with Chronic Fatigue issues would therefore greatly benefit from a comprehensive nutritional program that address adrenal fatigue, as well as possible viral infections, and nutrient deficiencies.
Everyone has stress but Chronic stress has been shown to be directly related to feeling fatigued and feeling tired.
“One study in college students found that avoiding dealing with stress led to the greatest level of fatigue 10 Reasons You’re Always Tired (And What You Can Do About It) (healthline.com)
It is important to manage stress and to develop a strategy to helps you to cope with life’s daily pressures. Some recommendations can include deep breathing, getting a massage, acupuncture, exercise, engaging in a fun activity, or even just laughter! We also suggest taking a dietary supplement like the Ionix supreme and adrenal support to help your body deal and handle stress in general.
Everyone gets tired and fatigued at times. Sometimes it can something as simple as getting more sleep or eating better. Other times however there may be medical reasons for your tiredness. Especially if you find being fatigued and tired the norm instead of the exception to the rule. So, it’s important that if you’re finding yourself often tired or fatigued to get checked out by a physician to make sure there are no underlying causes that need to be addressed.
The good news is that for most people, fatigue can be corrected by making a few simple lifestyle changes such as sleep, diet, exercise, managing stress, and supplements to support the body. These changes can benefit almost anyone and can not only improve your energy levels but quality of life in general. Sources: Tonkin, M (2012), Lyme and Coinfections, the Road to Recovery Lu Lu Press Raleigh, NC 10 Reasons You’re Always Tired (And What You Can Do About It) (healthline.com) Why Am I So Tired? Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do (verywellmind.com)