Tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion.
There is nothing worse than that feeling of just not having energy.
So how are you supposed to fix it?
Is it simply a matter of getting more sleep or could it be something else?
In this blog post, you’re going to learn the most common things that could be causing you to feel tired and fatigued and how you can fix them.
Before I jump in and give you advice, please be aware that I am not a medical doctor. This is just nutrition advice that I’m giving out within my scope.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get started.
We’re going to get the obvious one out of the way first because it might be the thing you need.⠀⠀
While this reason might not seem like a big surprise you may not realise how much of an effect lack of sleep has on your daily energy. You can’t mask your tiredness with endless amounts of caffeine or pre-workout (believe me I’ve tried).
That’s just putting a bandaid on a wound that’s continuously bleeding.
You have to get to the root cause.
So here are some tips to get better sleep…
- Set an alarm 30 minutes before bed. If you’re supposed to go to bed at 11:30 set an alarm for 11:00 pm.
This will give you enough time to start sorting yourself out so you can start Tidying up any loose ends you have, finishing up that computer game or figuring out whether you have enough time to get through your Netflix show.
2. Don’t watch T.V or play games in bed.
Your bed is for three things – Sleep, Sex, Reading.
When you watch T.V or eat food in bed it changes the association with your bed and can affect you getting to sleep.
Not only that, if you fall asleep watching Netflix you’re going to get woken up and you’re not going to fall into the deep sleep you need.
3. Create a bedtime ritual.
After that 30-minute alarm goes off you should have a little ritual you do before bed. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Just like waking up in the morning and having a routine to stop off at your favourite coffee shop you should have one for going to bed.
You could do something like – Brush your teeth, have a shower, get in your pyjamas, pack your bag for tomorrow and turn off all electronics in the house.
This is like “power down” mode and will help your brain start to switch off and get you ready for bed.
These simple tips may not seem very mind-blowing but I can guarantee you that if you follow them you will improve your sleep
The best thing for you to do is to get a blood test to see if you’re actually deficient in any vitamin or mineral.
Now let’s say you got a blood test and your iron has come back low, here’s how to increase it.
Low iron can be common in people who don’t eat a lot of meat.
Women can also get low iron because of their menstrual cycle.
So if you are a meat-eater, it would be a good idea for you to increase your red meat consumption to 100 – 150g a day. This will give you roughly 3.5 – 5.2mg of iron a day which gets you close to the 8mg recommendation that you need a day for men.
If you don’t eat meat then you can get Non-Haem iron from fortified cereals, beans, tofu, spinach, almonds and a few other sources.
If you’re a female over the age of 20 your needs are much higher (around 18mg a day) and it would be a good idea to take an iron supplement to help reach daily goals.
To ensure your iron is being absorbed we recommend that you:
– Eat foods high in vitamin C with foods that contain iron. This means having veggies with your meat.
– Cook your plant foods to improve the amount of available iron
– Avoid having tea, coffee or calcium during or directly after having a source of iron.
Again it would be best to get your blood tested to see if you’re low in Iron and then you can make the dietary changes necessary to increase your levels
Dehydration isn’t a sexy topic to talk about when it comes to fatigue and it would probably slip your mind.
However, dehydration has been shown to:
- Increase Tiredness
- Increased Thirst
- Cause Dry mouth, lips & eyes
- Feelings of lethargy
- Decreased cognitive function
- Headaches ⠀⠀⠀
If you’re working in an office all day and you’re not moving much you may not have the feeling of thirst or think about drinking water which is why you need to make a conscious effort to drink more.
A good indication of hydration is your urine colour.
You should be aiming to keep your urine clear. So whenever you go to the bathroom and it’s anything but clear (or close to) it’s a good reminder to drink more water.
You can increase the amount of water you drink by keeping multiple water bottles. Keep a water bottle at your desk, a few at home, in your bag and try to aim to have one with you as often as possible.
Yes, this means you will be peeing more, but it’s much better than being tired, lethargic and dehydrated.
Soups, teas, coffee with milk and other beverages that you enjoy drinking can also help with your hydration.
The only drinks that will dehydrate you would be espresso shots because of the amount of caffeine concentration in a small amount of liquid.
So remember to drink up.
This is another nutrient that people can be deficient in.
B12 is is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA.
Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.
If you’re a vegan you could be low in Vitamin B12 since it’s found in animals, so I’d recommend you do a blood test.
If you aren’t a Vegan and you need more B12 in your diet the best sources are:
- fortified cereals
If you are vegan, there are vegan sources of B12 you should be making a conscious effort to eat. You’ll find vegan products that are fortified with B12 in most supermarkets.
Good sources of vitamin B12 foods vegans can eat include:
- Vegan cereals
- Plant-based milk
- Some soy products
- Some nutritional yeast
- B12 supplements
Again, the best thing to do is to get a blood test to see if you do have a true deficiency. In the meantime, Trying to have a few servings of B12 rich foods can help stop your deficiency.
Having enough vitamin D is important for a number of reasons, including…
- Improving the immune system
- Bone health by helping calcium absorption
- Reduces bone loss
- Vitamin D deficiency associated with the development of CVD, Cancer, IBD and AI disorders
- Reduces depressive symptoms
- Potentially improves strength and fat loss
- Maintains healthy teeth and bones
It’s winter here in Australia and people are starting to cover up which means you’re not getting as much sun exposure.
Hardly any foods have vitamin D so you have two different options to choose from.
You can take a supplement or get in the sun.
Vitamin D recommendations (especially with Sun exposure) can be very individualised which is why I don’t want to give you a broad recommendation.
I’d recommend you download a great app called D minder, which will tell you how much sun you need based on your skin colour and where you are in the world.
If you use the app and still can’t get enough sunlight due to where you are in the world, your job or any other reason then your second option is to use a Vitamin D supplement.
If you want to take a supplement dosage your dose should be between 600 – 1000 IU a day.
Start Taking Action
You could have one or more of these deficiencies and the best thing to do would be to get a blood test.
While you’re waiting for your blood test to come back, or you can’t afford it, start to follow the recommendations I’ve given you.
- Improve your sleep.
- Start drinking more water.
- Eat more iron-rich foods or take a supplement.
- Eat more Vitamin B12 Rich foods or take a supplement.
- Get more sun exposure or take a vitamin D supplement.
- Following these recommendations will definitely help get you back on track and feeling energized again.