Tired All the Time?
It’s quite common for me to hear the phrase “I’m just so tired all the time” from clients (and myself).
We live in a society where we are encouraged to go-go-go and push through fatigue with more and more caffeine. But at a certain point, those habits catch up to us, and we are left with an overwhelming sense of fatigue that we don’t know what to do (and even if we did, we’re too tired to do it anyway!).
In this post, I’m going to dive into some of the top reasons why you might be fatigued and outline tips to help you find energy again
Blood Sugar Regulation
Having erratic blood sugar levels can lead to troubles with energy slumps at mid-morning or mid-afternoon intervals. As our body tries to manage the glucose (sugar) in our blood stream, if there is any problem in the process, we feel it as slumps in energy, especially right after meals.
Let's go through the process of blood sugar regulation:
When we eat any form of carbohydrate (apple, poptart, bread, doesn't matter!), our body breaks it down into glucose - a usable form of energy for the body (otherwise known as sugar). Our body then senses that there are glucose molecules in the blood stream. This signals to the pancreas to release insulin, a storage hormone.
Insulin comes to the scene, "grabs" onto a glucose (sugar) molecule, and takes it to a cell "door." Insulin knocks on the door of the cell, and if there is room for storage in the cell, insulin acts as the "key" to unlock the door to the cell so the glucose can be stored for later use. Glucose that is stored is called glycogen, and glucose is typically stored in cells in the liver and muscles (this is why it is advantageous to have more lean muscle mass on our bodies!).
This process works efficiently to ensure glucose doesn't float around in our blood stream longer than it should, which is stressful and inflammatory for the body over time.
However, there are a number of ways that this process can get off track, leading to the blood sugar energy slumps discussed before.
For example, if we have desensitized insulin receptors, insulin will not come to the scene when glucose is present meaning that glucose stays in the blood stream longer than is ideal as the body tries harder and harder to "get ahold" of insulin to come do its job.
Eventually if insulin can't find a cell for storage or isn’t receptive to the body’s call, it will convert the glucose (sugar) to triglycerides (fatty acid molecule) and store it as fat on the body. This solves the problem of sugar in the blood, but can significantly drop the blood sugar levels, resulting in a drop in energy.
How do you fix this blood sugar related energy issue?
Actually, it’s pretty simple: PFC balanced meals!
Having a source of protein, healthy fat, and carbs preferably from veggies on your plate at each meal (especially at breakfast and lunch!) helps keep your blood sugar in check.
Also, avoiding added sugar, processed foods, refined grains/gluten, and vegetable oils can make a huge difference as well.
You can read more here.
Adrenal Health & Stress
If your adrenal glands are struggling from an overwhelming amount of stress, overtime, your body will not be able to have the energy to simply get through everyday tasks.
Our adrenal glands sit on top of our kidneys and produce our stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a necessary hormone, but abuse it (aka be stressed out all the time), and you will lose the ability to use cortisol to your advantage.
Cortisol is meant to be higher in the morning and fall throughout the day to help melatonin rise and allow you to sleep. However, if you are constantly go-go-go all day, stressed from a variety of factors, and not sleeping or eating well, overtime your cortisol pattern becomes dysregulated. You might be producing too much or not enough cortisol, both of which can result in poor energy levels.
Managing stress isn’t easy, but in order to give your adrenals a break, IT. IS. A. MUST!
You can read all about adrenal health and testing options for cortisol here.
Sleep is critical to our overall health as it is the time when our body recovers from the day. If we aren’t making sleep a priority, we will be continuously tired. Use these tips to optimize trouble FALLING asleep:
· Turn off electronics/bright lights 2 hours before bed
· Turn on night shift mode on devices
· Use blue light blocking glasses at night (Amazon, Blublox, or Felix Gray)
· Take an Epsom salt bath or soak feet
· Use/diffuse lavender essential oil
· Avoid caffeine after noon (or even 10am)
· Avoid exercising in the evening
· Eat PFC balanced meals throughout the day
· Avoid eating after dinner, especially sugar
· Read, journal, or listen to relaxing music before bed
· Drink chamomile tea
Use these tips to optimize STAYING asleep:
· Follow all the tips above
· Eat PFC balanced meals during the day, especially focusing on protein/healthy fat at breakfast and lunch
· When you wake up each morning, make sure to get early exposure to natural sunlight
· Check in on adrenal, liver, and hormone health
You know who you are. Using caffeine to “survive” and get through the day is a sign that something else is off in any of the areas that we discussed above.
Does this mean go from 6 cups of coffee a day to 0? Nope, not at all.
Instead, what I recommend is slowly start decreasing your intake each week by 10-25%. You may not have to cut it completely out, but in order for your body to reestablish its baseline health, you can’t have an artificial stimulant constantly present.
Having no energy is HARD. I get it; I live it. But working on your health as a whole and finding ways to relax, eat real food, and sleep will help over time find you more energy!