You wake up in the morning fatigued, feeling like you actually haven’t slept. So you drag yourself to the coffee machine while prepping a toast or some quick granola and oat milk with fruits. Hoping this will give you the kick you need to get through the day.
Before you know it’s 3pm, you haven’t left your desk as work has been incredibly demanding as usual, didn’t manage to have lunch and barely drank any water.
By the end of the day you are exhausted, and just want to cap the day with a glass of red and jump in your bed.
According to the National Health Service, tiredness is one of the most common reasons why we see our GP. And often it is linked to one of the below.
Here are 7 reasons why you are constantly exhausted.
1. Poor Sleep
Poor quality or little sleep every now and then can be manageable, but when it is a regular occurrence, it affects our mood, our energy levels, our ability to think and act mindfully and on a bigger scale our health.
You may experience brain fog, exhaustion, low mood, impatience (feeling snappy), sugar cravings, reduced digestive functions, imbalanced hormones and much more.
Good quality Sleep is really that important to our health.
How to improve your sleep hygiene?
- Step 1. Make sure your evening meals are light and sleep friendly i.e easy to digest
- Step 2. Have a calming herbal tea (Valerian, PassionFlower, Chamomile, Lavender are great herbs for sleep)
- Step 3. Turn off your screens 1h30 before bed (and NO screens in the bedroom)
- Step 4. Optimise your bedroom environment with dark curtains, appropriate room temperature, clean and tidy space
- Step 5. Opt for meditation or yoga nidra before bed if you are struggling to switch off your brain
- Step 6. Turn all the above into a consistent routine, so your body understands it’s time to slow down
- Step 7. If all the above don’t work, talk to a professional to check for nutrient and minerals deficiencies. Some natural supplements such as smooth mag, cherry juice active, and 5htp can really help.
Like ALWAYS please speak to a professional before supplementing
2. Skipping the real juice
Holistic practitioners recommend a minimum of 1.5l of clear water a day. I personally like to drink 3l of clear water a day. That’s when I feel at my best.
For some that may be a bit much but that number will vary depending on how you use your body throughout the day.
I recommend all my clients to drink 2l of clear water a day and any other fluid intake is a bonus.
Signs of dehydration include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, strong smelling pee and much more depending on how dehydrated you are.
Tips to increase your water intake
Step 1– Start your day with a large glass of water , ideally 400 to 500ml. This will wake you up, energise you and gently stimulate your first bowel
Step 2 – Invest in a bright (kinda in your face colour) 1.5l bottle that you fill and keep on your desk all day.
Step 3 – Set 4 reminders on your phone 10am/12pm/2 pm/4 pm to take some sips
Step 4 – Don’t skip step 3
Step 5– If you are one of the odds people that hate the taste of water (I’m not judging, I’m odd too. I hate cats, collect silver rings and talk to myself in the mirror every day) add in a slice of lemon, lime, or cucumber, or berries. No squash though.
3. Low nutrient diet (and at irregular times)
I know how hard it can be at times in our busy lives to manage work, eating well, sleeping enough, our partners, family, skin routine, tongue scraping routine, exercise routine, celery juice, and god knows what else. But really the one most important thing we need besides sleep is nutrients. Nutrients are the fuel to our bodies.
In reality what happens is that everything else takes over, especially work and we forget to fuel our bodies with the right nutrients.
So if you want to focus on only one of these recommendations this week, start with your meals. Improve your diet by having simple and well composed meals at regular times.
Regular time meals will ensure that your blood sugar levels are balanced throughout the day.
Steps to elevate your meals to wholesome and delicious:
Step 1– Stock your fridge with wholesome natural foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, healthy proteins
Step 2– Stock your pantry with easy add ons: Chickpeas, lentils, canned sardines
Step 3– On the weekend roast 2 trays of different vegetables ready to be added to your protein and starches in the week.
Step 4– Replace processed sugary bars and snacks with healthier options. Healthy oat bars, raw balls, fruits, nuts, dark chocolate, smoothies.
Step 5– Avoid snacking. I know I just gave you some yummy snacking options but these are only for when the gap in between your meals is long and you are hungry. Not as an everyday habit. Constant grazing demands our digestive system to constantly work and that too causes fatigue.
Step 6– Set your alarm to systematically take at least 30min to sit down and enjoy your meals mindfully. Eating with joy and appetite is as important as all of the above 🙂
Step 7– If you are suspecting nutrient deficiency, speak to your doctor, to get some blood tests done. Please do not self supplement, especially Iron. Always check your levels first.
I know there are constant ads suggesting we should buy over the counter Iron to improve fatigue but more often than not Iron deficiency isn’t the culprit.
4. Emotional Stress
Our brain represents 2% of our body but uses 20% of our daily energy. So imagine when we are emotionally challenged, overthinking, going over things, studying, how much more energy it uses!?!
I don’t know about you but overthinking comes very easily to me. As soon as I wake up, my thoughts come up rushing like pets I’ve not fed for days. But that’s because I actually feed them too much! So what to do?
Empty your mind as often as you can. Journal, meditation are some of my go-to tools to take all these thoughts out of my head onto paper.
Worries, struggles, fears, joys, plans, all of it.
Empty your mind, create some space, make it lighter.
The hustle is real and has been for ages. Especially for our generation! We have glorified it and sadly at the depend of our health.
The more side hustles we can take on, the better.
The busier we are, the more productive and worthy we feel.
But, realistically we are just digging our own grave. And I know that’s a bit dramatic, but burnout is real and can seriously compromise our health.
I have experienced 3 burnouts in my life and everytime I say to myself, NEVER AGAIN.
It took a few rounds, and I still catch myself wanting to do it all but I’ve learnt the hard way and have found a better balance. It’s definitely an everyday job.
What I’ve realised is that constantly running after things was taking me nowhere but away from myself.
Tips to create more stillness:
Step 1. Block off 15min in between tasks to just breathe, flick through a magazine, have some water slowly or just plainly daydream
Step 2. Plan a weekly stillness moment. It can be reading, walking, meditating blissfully into a dreamy nap 🙂
Step 3. When you catch yourself saying yes to yet another task or project (especially self employed friends ), ask yourself how much exactly will it cost you to take that on.
Because remember: Your health is your wealth.
6. Lack of physical activity
Too much or too little exercising can also cause fatigue. In my clinic see both.
Exercising has the power to lift our mood, energise us and empower us. And, when done in the morning, exercising will give you that sense of achievement early on in the day. And that’s such a great way to feel before you even start work.
On the other hand, an excessive amount of exercise is a form of physical stress for the body that can cause fatigue and injuries.
So it really is about finding the right balance
4 runs, daily HITT sessions sprinkled with a few power yoga flows within a week is a LOT.
Unless you’re training to go challenge Serena at the Australian Open, keep it realistic AND be kind to your body.
Aim for 30 to 60min 5days a week. Low, moderate or, and intensity. Mix it up and more importantly do things you actually enjoy and look forward to.
Too much Caffeine (and at the wrong time)
I think this is probably where you’re rolling your eyes and ready to ignore the rest of this post, but please don’t. I’m actually a nice person with feelings, so hear me out before asking for an imminent break up 😉 and bare in mind that I love coffee too.
Before I share my personal and clinical experience, let’s firsts see what science says:
“The sleepiness and degraded function may be due to basal sleep insufficiency, circadian sleep schedule reversals, rebound sleepiness, and/or a withdrawal syndrome after the acute, over-night, caffeine discontinuation typical of most studies. Studies have shown that caffeine dependence develops at relatively low daily doses and after short periods of regular daily use. Large sample and population-based studies indicate that regular daily dietary caffeine intake is associated with disturbed sleep and associated daytime sleepiness. Further, children and adolescents, while reporting lower daily, weight-corrected caffeine intake, similarly experience sleep disturbance and daytime sleepiness associated with their caffeine use. The risks to sleep and alertness of regular caffeine use are greatly underestimated by both the general population and physicians.” (Roehrs et Rof, 2007)
Now, my opinion is that when it comes to the coffee, it’s not necessarily about stopping it, but about having it in moderation and at the right time.
The way our bodies cope with coffee vary from a person to another. Some people (not many) can have coffee late at night and be totally fine and some others not.
Coffee first thing in the morning is tricking your body and robbing it from it’s natural abilities: Energy regulation and pooping.
Many of my clients drink coffee first thing in the morning, then throughout the day. When we change that, and put it at the perfect time for their body to use it efficiently because yes coffee also has its benefits, they feel much more energised and as a consequence more productive.
So no, I won’t suggest you go cold turkey and cut coffee. Fingers crossed I’m back in your good books 🙂
Here is what you can do to reduce your caffeine intake:
Step 1. Have your first coffee after your first bowel movement and 30min after your breakfast. Caffeine does reduce or inhibit absorption of certain nutrients so best having it away from meals.
Step 2. Week 1. Cut your coffee consumption by 2. So if you are having 3 or 4 coffees a day, stick to 1 or 2
Step 3. Week 2. Replace your second coffee with a matcha latte or matcha tea.
Step 4. For those struggling with insomnia, anxiety, loose or irregular bowel, hormonal imbalance drop the coffee for 6 weeks and replace it with 1 matcha latte a day.
Step 5. You want to take it further, replace the matcha every other day with a delicious turmeric latte or an unsweetened hot chocolate.