Why Am I Always Tired?

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Sound familiar? You are not alone! Feeling tired is very common and I would say that around 90% of my clients complain about fatigue – it will either be the main reason they have come to see me or it will part of a collection of symptoms that they are experiencing. Feeling tired and lacking in vitality can really affect how we function and for a lot people just doing day to day things can be a real struggle because they are so fatigued. So my aim today is to explain some of the common reasons that cause fatigue and give you insight into how you can boost your energy levels and start feeling fantastic again!

Let’s define fatigue

Extreme tiredness which affects both physical and mental state and can prevent the body and mind from functioning at an optimum level.

Also known as exhaustion, lethargy and listlessness.

Can cause erratic behaviour, low mood, increased need to sugary foods, foggy head, a feeling of ‘I can’t be bothered’, headaches, muscle weakness, the need to sleep all the time and a general lack of strength and vitality.

What causes fatigue?

There are numerous causes of fatigue and it can vary from person to person. Here are some of the main reasons…

  • Not getting enough sleep – sleep plays such a huge factor in energy levels and if you’re not getting enough or getting a poor quality sleep then this will make you feel tired. According to Dr Reza Samvat, a leading sleep disorder specialist, we are actually getting 2 hours less sleep per night than we did 10 years ago and this is wholly attributed to technology and excess ‘screen’ time.
  • Being too busy and stressed – long-term stress can lead to complete exhaustion which is the final stage of the stress response cycle. Our adrenal glands fail to produce the relevant hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) to keep us going because they have literally been burnt out. This is not a situation that you want to find yourself in!
  • Poor dietary choices – too much sugar, refined carbohydrates (cakes, biscuits, bread, cereals) and not enough protein and essential nutrients. When we feel tired, it is so easy to reach for those really sugary foods that provide a quick energy hit. However what you are actually doing is setting yourself up for a fall because you are is spiking your blood sugar levels quickly and shortly afterwards they will come crashing down again, leaving you feeling more fatigued than when you first started.
  • Caffeine and stimulants which do NOT give you energy, they merely put the body into a stress response as they surge your adrenaline levels. Caffeine can also cause insulin resistance which means that your cells do not get their fuel (the sugar) effectively which leaves you feeling tired and can cause you to store more fat.
  • Dehydration – our bodies are made up of 70% water and our cells need water to be able to survive. If you don’t replace the fluids lost during the day, then your cells become dehydrated and tired.
  • Sedentary lifestyle and no exercise – by not moving your body every day can make you tired. Exercise enhances blood flow which enables more oxygen & nutrients to be carried to muscle tissue so that they can produce more energy. So, even when you feel tired, one of the best things that you can do is to exercise!
  • Illness due to a virus or some underlying pathology such as low iron or poor thyroid function. If you think that this may be the case, please contact your healthcare practitioner ASAP.

How to Increase your energy levels

  • Create a good sleep routine - adopting a no screen time policy after 8pm (or even earlier) so that your brain has time to wind down and that you don’t increase your stress levels just before bed, eat dinner early so that you aren’t sleeping on a full stomach and do something relaxing before bed such as reading a book, having a bath or listening to some relaxation music.
  • Eat lots of nutritious and energy-boosting foods – will cover this in a moment.
  • Avoid foods high in sugars and eat small, regular meals as this helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced and will give you a more sustained release of energy.
  • Cut out Coffee, caffeinated drinks and stimulants.
  • Reduce Stress by adopting some relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. Massage and exercise are also excellent stress busters!
  • Drink plenty of filtered water to keep hydrated.
  • Do some daily exercise – go for a walk, do some skipping, do a Konga class – whatever works for you, just try to move your body every day.

Energy Boosting Foods

  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables – the more colours the better!
  • Good quality protein at every meal (eggs, lean meats, fish, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds) this helps to anchor blood sugar levels & gives us more sustained energy – check out this post for more info about Protein.
  • Good sources of fats such as avocados, olive oil, flaxseed oil, nuts & seeds as fats are essential for energy production.
  • Whole grains like oats, spelt, kamut & wholegrain rice – No white stuff! Whole grains have a much lower GI (Glycaemic Index) and therefore do not spike your blood sugar levels.
  • Superfoods such as Goji berries, Maca, Maqui berry, Spirulina, Cacao – these are great to incorporate into your diet as they contain lots of antioxidants and nutrients. Here’s more info about Superfoods.

Energy Boosting Herbs and Nutrients

  • Magnesium – involved in energy production, muscle activity and nerve conduction. Check out this post about the importance of Magnesium.
  • B Vitamins especially B12, B9 (Folic acid) and B6. B vitamins are essential for metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, to produce red blood cells (which carry oxygen around the body) and play a pivotal role in cellular energy production.
  • CoQ10 – needed to produce cellular energy and essential for cardiovascular function.
  • Vitamin C – helps to release energy from fats, involved in producing the thyroid hormone (which controls metabolism), helps iron absorption and support adrenal gland function which is important when stress is involved.
  • Siberian Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Rhodiola and Withania are all fantastic herbs that help the body to adapt to stress, help improve physical and mental performance and combat the effects of fatigue.

**If you are currently taking any medication, please consult with your healthcare practitioner before taking any herbs or nutrients to ensure that there are no interactions or contraindications.**


You have the power to choose how much energy you have by making good food and lifestyle choices. Start taking little steps now as everything you do will have a positive effect, even if it is just changing one thing in your diet or going for a 15 minute walk. Do whatever is going to work for you and your body!

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Michelle is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, Reflexologist and Reiki practitioner who is passionate about living a holistic lifestyle and helping others to achieve their health goals. She is also a Jungle Body Dance Fitness Instructor, which not only keeps her fit but also helps her to inspire others to feel confident and get in shape.

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