Feeling flat, tired, worn out or exhausted all the time is simply no fun at all.
Our lives are so busy these days that it is easy to burn the candle at both ends, trying to keep up with our many tasks that require our energy and constant attention.
And I know what it’s like - I’ve certainly had my share of times where, for some reason or other I’ve pushed myself too hard to get a million things done. I've ended up rewarding myself with an unexpected cold or flu, interrupted sleep and feeling like I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for 100 years. Wake me up in 2116.
When it comes to energy, most patients I see in my clinic would like to feel more energetic. In many cases, it is the driving force behind why they have come to see me in the first place. And it’s absolutely fantastic when I hear them report back after starting their treatment that they have more energy and are starting to feel on top of things again.
But I can’t stress enough just how important it is to work out EXACTLY where the lack of energy is originating, so that it can be addressed quickly and effectively.
So, on that note, here are a few reasons why I find many people feel tired and worn out:
- Nutrient deficiencies. Most people are familiar with the concept of low iron causing fatigue, which is often the first test a doctor will order if you say you are feeling tired. Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen around your body, so if you are low in iron your body will be struggling to get the oxygen it needs. And whilst this can be a reason why you feel fatigued (this is particularly common among women who have heavy periods, vegetarians and vegans) there are also other nutrients that are often overlooked when it comes to the role they play in energy production. These can include magnesium, B-vitamins and co-enzyme Q10. Don’t forget that many pharmaceutical medications deplete nutrients, so if you are taking a medication regularly, please speak to me about what we can do to help maximise your nutritional status.
- Stress – perhaps your stress levels have been too high for too long. If you are constantly under a high degree of stress (particularly where you are not taking much ‘time-out’ to recharge), your body starts to become depleted from the constant demands, and your adrenals (small glands that sit on top of your kidneys that are responsible for producing your stress hormones) simply can’t function properly anymore. This is known as adrenal fatigue, or burnout, and it means you need to take a serious look at what you can do to reduce stress and look after yourself better. It is a signal your body is sending to you that you need to slow the pace down. When your adrenals are exhausted they play havoc with your other hormones. You may feel worn out all the time (in particular, you may find it extremely difficult to get out of bed in the morning), but then feel wound-up and ‘wired’ in the evening.
- You may have something going on with your thyroid. Your thyroid is a small gland in your neck, that controls your metabolism. Because it controls your metabolism, it has a direct effect on your energy levels, and if your thyroid is not functioning properly you can experience a range of symptoms, including fatigue, low moods, difficulty concentrating, irregular periods, dry skin/hair, feeling excessively cold or hot, as well as digestive complaints such as constipation. And contrary to popular belief, it IS possible to be experiencing thyroid symptoms even if your GP has said your thyroid is ok on a test.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why you may be feeling flat and tired, and these can include not drinking enough water, poor quality sleep, a diet that is too high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, through to the more serious issues such as chronic fatigue syndrome.