Why am I tired all the time? Common root causes and ways to boost your energy levels
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Feeling chronically tired might be common, but it isn’t normal. You don’t need to live this way, and there are answers with the right support.
If you’re worried about your tiredness, and it’s accompanied by other symptoms, it is always best to get checked out by your GP first, to rule out an underlying condition that could be treated.
But the most likely reason is something you have control over or a product of what’s going on in your life right now. The majority of us will be impacted by chronic tiredness at some point in our lives that isn’t due to a medical condition. Maybe you’re a new parent, struggling with insomnia or going through a really stressful patch. There is a pandemic on, after all!
Whatever the circumstance, here are 4 very common causes of fatigue and tiredness, and some small steps you can take to get your energy back.
4 reasons you're feeling tired, and how to boost your energy again
You’re not sleeping
This might sound obvious, but many of us just aren’t getting enough sleep. Anxiety surrounding the pandemic might also be wreaking havoc with your sleep schedule this year.
There are actually very few people who can function on 6 hours of sleep a night. You might be alright in the short term, but it can have very negative effects on your health longer term. The vast majority of us need 7-9 hours, and it does vary. We’re all unique after all.
If sleep is proving tricky for you right now, try taking these steps:
Set a regular sleep and wake up time, and stick to it. A set routine will help you drift off quicker and get more refreshing sleep.
Get sunlight on your skin in the morning. This will help your body produce melatonin, the sleep hormone, at night time. Strange, but true.
Avoid devices and screens at least an hour before bed, as the blue light is a known sleep disruptor. Pick up a book or take a relaxing bath instead.
You're stressed out
Experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety causes our bodies to produce higher levels of stress hormones like adrenaline. When we are frequently in “fight or flight” mode, our bodies pump out these hormones to keeps us alert and awake for prolonged periods of time to deal with the stressors.
But once those hormones have run their course, it’s common to experience a complete energy crash. Over a long period of time, this can lead to emotional or physical burnout.
If you’re experiencing high levels of stress, you might find you’re alert at night (what we call being tired but wired) but completely exhausted during the day.
If this is you, taking 10 minutes each day to use a breathing practice can be transformational. Breathing practices are a simple way to move the body out of “fight or flight,” and the benefits are cumulative. The more you practice, the more you will notice a difference in your mood and wellbeing. This practice is one of my favourites.
What you’re eating and drinking is zapping your energy
I fully understand how feeling stressed and overwhelmed can mean you put your diet on the back burner and stick to things that are quick, easy and give you that short term fix. It might be a few glasses of wine each night, or a chocolate bar every day to get you through the 3pm slump.
These things are fine in balance, but eating too many processed or high sugar foods can have a terrible impact on your blood sugar balance, and energy levels. You’ll find you have big energy slumps and need more sugar to pick you back up, perpetuating a nasty cycle.
To improve your energy, choose whole grains (like brown rice, quinoa, oats and whole wheat bread) instead of processed grains. Include lots of fruits and veggies, and limit sugar and alcohol.
It’s common to believe that alcohol will help you sleep, but even if it helps you drift off at the start of the night, it is a known sleep disruptor and you won’t be getting the refreshing sleep you need to recharge. You may find you wake up feeling sluggish or a bit groggy.
Add more magnesium
An important mineral you should know about when it comes to energy, is magnesium. It’s particularly common for women to have low levels which can lead to anxiety, fatigue and poor sleep. Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral involved in relaxing our nervous system and helping us get restful kip.
Try including more magnesium rich foods in your diet like dark leafy greens, nuts and dark chocolate.
I know how tough it can be to make sustainable changes to what you’re eating, even when you know you'll feel much better for it. So I’ve put together my free 3-Day Energising Meal Planner to help you eat energising, healthy food in a way that is really quick and easy. No faff. Just good food that will help you feel your best. Download it and let me know how you get on.
You’re doing too much activity, or too little
In our hectic lifestyles, doing more and more can feel totally normal, but sometimes we need to take stock and notice when doing something restful might be more beneficial than adding yet another thing on to our plate.
Equally, not doing any form of movement can actually perpetuate and make feelings of lethargy and sluggishness worse. When we exercise, we increase the amount of mitochondria in our cells (or our energy power houses!) Movement actually does help us build energy.
If you’re struggling to incorporate movement into your routine regularly, start by picking something you love doing. Maybe it’s walking or gardening. Movement doesn’t have to be an intense HIT session, it can be anything that gets you moving your body and your heart rate slightly up.
Choosing something you love doing will make you much more likely to stick with it regularly.
You're more in control than you think
While energy levels will fluctuate, and women will particularly find this at certain times in our menstrual cycle, there are lots of steps you can take to support your body, get rid of tiredness and boost energy levels.
Try picking one area I’ve outlined and commit to taking one action this week to improve things.
If fatigue, tiredness and overwhelm is affecting your wellbeing, I can support you to get back on track. I offer a free 50 minute consultation to talk through your specific concerns, goals and how I can help you boost your energy levels, mood and feel back in the driver’s seat again.
Book your free consultation with me today by finding a time that works for you in my calendar