So many people I talk to on a daily basis complain of being tired. To be honest it’s hard not to feel tired, especially if you have family to look after or you are working every day.
Most of us are just not good when it comes to sleep discipline and that’s an easy fix. I’ll discuss this later.
Sometimes though I see people in clinic who are really struggling with tiredness despite doing their best to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
It sounds really obvious doesn’t it? But most people aren’t getting anywhere near enough sleep. The eight hour rule is a good start but that doesn’t stop people going to bed too late.
Are you one of these people who thinks they can manage on six hours of sleep? Or maybe you think bed before 11 or 12 is too early?
Certain hormones in your body fluctuate over a 24 hour period. There are two main hormones I want to touch upon here; Cortisol and Melatonin.
Cortisol, commonly known as a stress hormone, is highest in the morning and it helps you to wake up. Throughout the day your cortisol levels should naturally drop, allowing Melatonin to rise.
Melatonin is your relaxing hormone. As the afternoon comes around and into the early evening your melatonin levels should naturally start to rise. This helps you to relax and fall asleep.
I will cover this in more depth in a sleep article soon.
Due to the natural rhythm of these hormones, your body is best suited for physical repair between the hours of 10:00pm and 02:00am. Then between 02:00am and 06:00am your body undergoes mental/emotional repair.
This could be one reason why you feel so tired throughout the day.
Are You Getting The Right Nutrients?
What’s Going In?
Let’s assume you are getting the right amount of sleep and at the right times, this leads us to your nutrition.
Nutrition is so important when it comes to fatigue. One thing I see a lot is that people are often too focused on trying to lose weight that they only focus on the number of calories they are eating.
The problem with this is that most people are restricting themselves way too much and not taking enough food in to give them energy. In addition to that, this focus on calories makes people forget about nutrients and quite often people are eating the same foods, also low in nutrients, just to hit a calorie goal.
So are you eating enough food and is it all high in nutrients?
Is Your Food Being Absorbed?
There’s a saying which I’m sure you’ve heard before; “You are what you eat”.
Well I would go further than that and say “you are what you eat, digest, absorb and don’t excrete”.
What I mean by this is that it doesn’t matter how good your diet is, if you can’t digest or absorb your food and it passes straight through you then your body can’t use it.
If you are not absorbing your nutrients then you could quite easily develop nutritional deficiencies such as anaemia (lack of iron or B12). One of the symptoms of anaemia is fatigue.
Most people I see in clinic have poorly functioning digestive systems and we often need to address this before any other goals.
If you have any of the following symptoms you can almost be certain of digestive dysfunction; diarrhoea, constipation, gas, indigestion, acid reflux.
Are Your Energy Systems Working Properly?
If your sleep is good, your nutrient intake is spot on and you are able to absorb it then the issue could be at a deeper level.
This is where things can get complicated. But don’t worry I’m going to keep it simple.
In nearly every cell in your body are little power plants called Mitochondria. These mitochondria are what produce energy through and each cell contains between 300-400 mitochondria. In certain parts of the body such as the brain, muscles and the liver there may be up to 2,500.
Unfortunately mitochondria are very easily damaged by many different factors such as; carbon monoxide, heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury, pesticides and organic pollutants.
Clinically, problems with the mitochondria can be associated with conditions such as; chronic fatigue syndrome, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and migraines.
So What Can You Do About All This?
Hopefully by this point you now realise that fatigue may not just be a lack of caffeine in the mornings.
Good sleeping habits are crucial for health and getting to sleep by 10:00pm is incredibly beneficial to your physical repair. But in addition to good sleep you must be eating enough calories for energy and enough nutrients to support all your bodily processes. You will also need to ensure your digestive system is healthy so you can absorb all your nutrients.
Lastly if none of the above makes a difference then you may need to take a dive deeper into your body and the way it works.
If you are struggling with fatigue or low energy then send me an email so I can help you out. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the clinic to speak to me on 0203 356 7060.