Always tired? The most common causes of fatigue & what to do about it.
You may not be a ‘morning person’, or an ‘afternoon person’, or ‘night owl’ because you’re always feeling tired. Or, you may find one part of the day much more difficult to get through than the rest. In general, we should wake up feeling rested (usually within 10-15 minutes of waking) and our energy should stay consistent throughout the day. Normally, the early evening is when we begin to feel less energetic as we prepare for sleep.
Honestly ask yourself: is this pattern of the day true for me? If it is, consider the most common causes below & make an appointment with your naturopathic doctor to correct the problem for good.
Sounds simple, and it is. However, in today’s busy world we often only drink liquids when we are thirsty. This is incorrect. When we are feeling thirsty, our bodies are already in a state of dehydration. So, sipping small amounts throughout the day is your best defense. Ideally, we need half of our body weight in ounces per day of fluid (a 150lb woman would need to drink 75oz daily). Drink more than 1 coffee or exercise for more than 30 minutes? Add an extra 8oz to your total requirement.
Sometimes we think we are getting a good night’s rest only to wake up exhausted and sluggish despite 8 hours in bed. Quantity and quality of sleep are both important, however, when quality suffers, your fatigue can last all day and you just don’t feel ‘quite like yourself’. If you are taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep or having trouble getting back to sleep if you wake up in the middle of the night, you may need a new strategy. Try giving yourself an hour of no-screens before bed to help boost your body’s natural melatonin production and give you more restful sleep.
This topic can be a book all on its own. To keep it simple we need to understand that our adrenal glands produce our stress hormone cortisol and keep us going even when our body needs a break. The problem is, eventually, you drain all of your energy reserves and experience an energy crash mid-afternoon while craving that second coffee and donut! Correcting your adrenal fatigue can take time and is best done with a qualified naturopathic doctor. Getting your cortisol levels tested is a great start. Click HERE for advanced tests we run for this condition.
This important organ is the master gland of many other functions in the body. Even if your doctor has told you that your thyroid is ‘fine’, it may still be contributing to your low energy. Running a basic thyroid screening test is only the first step in
assessing if this organ is functioning at 100%, and for some women, when the thyroid is not optimal, symptoms of low energy, weight gain and constipation become issues. This is why looking at a comprehensive thyroid panel is best to determine where the problem is, and how to fix it (hint: not everyone needs Synthroid to feel better).
Nutrient Deficiency- Iron & Vitamin B12
One of the easiest fixes for fatigue is correcting a deficiency in a vitamin or mineral (in this cause, known as ‘anemia’). However, trying to do this yourself without proper blood work or an effective supplement is a waste of time (and money!). Iron supplements are generally poorly tolerated and difficult to absorb, so many women give up on taking them for the long-term and don’t see their levels increase. Similarly, vitamin B12 is best absorbed as an intramuscular injection or under the tongue, not in a pill. Talking to our naturopathic doctors about which brands and doses are best for you can save you the unnecessary guess-and-test of figuring it out on your own.