In This Article:
- Fatigue & Sleep Correlations
- How Diet affects your sleep
- Stress & Lifestyle Factors affecting sleep
- Supplements & energy levels: Which ones should you take?
- Chronic Fatigue
It is common to hear adults complain of feeling sluggish, tired and fatigued throughout the course of a day. Relying on a cup of coffee to get going and afternoon slumps have become normalized. The day to day tasks of adult life can be tiring, especially when children are involved. We get it. However, starting the morning feeling energized and ready to take on the day can help boost your mood and productivity levels. Many things could be causing you to feel tired or experience low energy and lifestyle changes and energy supplements can help.
We all have those days where we are simply lagging. Going to bed tired and waking up tired. While it is easy to blame this feeling on sleep disruptions keeping you up all night, such as the neighbor’s barking dog or maybe your bed partner moving around too much, it is also important to think through what may truly be at the root of your feelings of fatigue. If it happens often, there’s likely more to it.
Missing out on high quality sleep, as we mentioned, truly affects physical, emotional, and mental energy. Your body uses that time to restore and reset many functions in the body, including temperature regulation, your immune system, hormone levels, and appetite. Each of these functions contributes to your health and wellness, including your energy levels. If your sleep is disrupted and you’re not getting enough of it, your body doesn’t have a chance to restore and reset the way it needs to.
Diet can contribute to having low energy and feeling tired in a number of ways.
Prolonged inactivity also can lead to simply feeling more tired. Living a sedentary lifestyle further promotes low energy and fatigue. Have you ever felt tired, even after a full day of doing practically nothing? When you sit still for long periods of time, your oxygen levels, blood flow, and heart rate are all affected. Over an extended period of time, this can have adverse effects on the body, including fatigue. However, getting up and moving around or even doing some exercising can boost endorphins, get the heart rate up and the blood flowing -- raising your energy levels.
Inconsistent sleep schedules (lack of sleep hygiene) can cause your body to feel depleted. Developing a good sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time can support your internal clock. The body’s clock regulates your circadian rhythms, which are the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. Sleep is a common example of this. Circadian rhythms help to explain why you get tired around the same time every night and why you just might be able to wake up on time, even without an alarm clock. However, if your sleep pattern is inconsistent, your body will have a difficult time recognizing when it should be awake, which contributes to a tired, low energy feeling.
Too much caffeine can leave you drained. While many of us rely on caffeinated drinks such as vanilla lattes, espressos, and energy drinks, caffeine can give you the jitters and cause you to crash once it wears off. Furthermore, reaching for a caffeinated drink when you need a quick pick-me-up too late in the day can throw off your internal clock. It can keep your body awake when it is time for sleep, causing a disruption in your body’s natural rhythms.
A high alcohol intake can actually disrupt your sleep. Possibly removing that extra glass of wine in the evening or avoiding it all together makes a huge difference to our ‘get up and go’ mojo in the mornings. This is due to the fact that alcohol can interrupt your circadian rhythm and block REM sleep, which is the most restorative type of sleep.
Stress is an unfortunate but inevitable part of adult life. It can affect the body in many ways, causing you to feel low in energy. When the body is stressed, it enters fight-or-flight mode causing an increase in cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare the body to handle any stressful situation at hand, however, if you are always stressed it can wear the body out. Finding ways to cope with stress on a day-to-day basis can help reduce fatigue.
Certain medications can have fatigue or drowsiness listed as a possible side effect, resulting in a battle for energy. If you’re on a prescription for a prolonged period of time that makes you feel lethargic, you should speak with your healthcare provider about potential alternatives.
Ergonomics can play an important role in the quality of sleep you are getting. If our body is consistently placed in a poor position or we’re sleeping on a worn-out mattress that offers no neck or back support, our sleep hours can become compromised without us really knowing. Choosing the right pillow, mattress, and lighting (many people prefer black-out blinds) can really make a difference to how rested we feel in the morning.
As we mentioned before, your diet has the potential to either boost or kill your energy levels. Adding supplements to your diet can help make sure you are giving your body the proper energy boost it needs to get through the day productively. Due to certain dietary and lifestyle restrictions, as well as health conditions, the body can become deficient in vitamins and can cause a person to feel slow, fatigue, or sluggish. You will want to consider the use of specific vitamins and natural supplements in your diet in order to offset these deficiencies.
Vitamin B12 is a b vitamin that our body needs, but does not produce, however, it is found naturally in animal products. B12 plays many important roles in the body including improving memory, preventing anemia, and boosting energy. Because B12 is not a naturally occurring vitamin found within the body, incorporating vitamin B12 into your routine can help to maintain it at adequate levels. Those who experience B12 deficiency often feel fatigued and low energy. This is especially helpful to those who are either vegan, don’t eat red meat, or have other dietary restrictions.
Vitamin C is another essential vitamin, meaning that our bodies are not able to produce it on its own. In fact, humans are the only mammal that doesn’t produce Vitamin C naturally. However, it is vital for the body and has many health benefits. Most commonly, vitamin C is known to boost the immune system, however, vitamin C can also help boost energy. Vitamin C has powerful antioxidant effects and research has shown that it can reduce fatigue significantly.
Glutathione is naturally found in the cells. It is made up of three amino acids, cysteine, glutamate, and glycine. This tripeptide is the body’s master antioxidant that fights off free radicals and also detoxifies the body from the inside-out. It is known to improve focus, sleep, and increase energy.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant found in every cell in the body and is important for proper cell function. The cells rely on CoQ10 to protect the body from oxidative stress and produce energy. When CoQ10 levels are low, the cells are unable to produce the energy needed for them to maintain health. As we age, our CoQ10 levels begin to decrease, which can cause a lack of energy. Incorporating CoQ10 supplements into your routine may give you a much-needed boost.
Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress, boost immunity and your general well-being. Adaptogens enhance mental health and performance and can combat fatigue. Adaptogens are natural energy boosters and especially useful if you experience chronic fatigue or low energy.
Ginseng has been used traditionally in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to assist with many medical issues. Studies have revealed that ginseng stimulates physical and mental activity in people who express feeling tired. Not only does ginseng give you a boost of energy, but it is also known to strengthen focus and concentration.
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, one of the oldest practices in the world, for centuries. It’s an adaptogen that helps the body adapt to stress and promotes healthy energy levels. It supports the adrenal glands to release normal levels of cortisol levels, which lowers stress levels that contribute to mental fatigue.
If you’ve been experiencing prolonged fatigue and can’t seem to overcome it, it is possibly symptomatic of something more serious, such as anemia or a mental health condition that has gone unaddressed. In such cases, it is always best to consult your healthcare professional.
Feeling low energy, sluggish or tired is common, especially as we age. We all need a little pick-me-up every once in a while, but feeling chronically fatigued can impact our quality of life. Incorporating a selection of the right dietary supplements rather than reaching for a sugary or caffeinated drink can help give you the energy boost you are looking for in a healthy and natural way.
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