Do you ask yourself, “Why am I so tired?” Do you feel like no matter how much sleep you get, you’re still tired all the time?
1. Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease is especially a threat for women and older adults.
Thyroid disease can cause a wide variety of symptoms including:
- muscle and joint pain
- weight gain or loss
- vision problems
- poor work performance
- changes in body temperature
- changes in appetite
A thyroid disorder can show up in many different forms because the thyroid gland is considered a “master gland,” one that secretes hormones that in one way or another impact almost every bodily function. For example, the thyroid gland is responsible for regulating body temperature, heart rate, production of protein, and also helps control your metabolic rate and energy levels.
Thyroid Disease Causes:
How are thyroid disorders caused? There are believed to be four main contributing causes of thyroid disease, which may be the reason you feel like you’re always tired:
- Hormonal imbalances caused by stress and diet
- Food intolerances to things like gluten and dairy
- Radiation and toxicity exposure
- A nutrition deficiency in iodine or selenium
Natural Remedies for Thyroid Disease:
A thyroid disease may be causing you to feel sluggish. Here are some of the ways you can help recover:
- Go gluten- and mostly dairy-free (especially from A1 casein cows).
- Avoid toxins and heavy metals like BPA (Bisphenol A) found in plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
- Have your iodine and selenium levels checked and then include more food sources of both, or taking supplements if need be.
- Detox your body of heavy metals by using products like milk thistle, turmeric, chlorella and cilantro, plus considering having metal fillings removed from your teeth.
- Consume adaptogen herbs and superfoods like maca powder, ashwagandha and tulsi.
- Adjust your diet to have a lower carbohydrate intake, but include plenty of lean protein and healthy fat sources (especially foods like coconut oil, coconut milk, avocado, grass-fed beef, wild fish, chia, flaxseeds and hemp seeds).
2. Sedentary Lifestyle
In today’s busy, office-oriented work environments, it is common for many people to develop a sedentary lifestyle.
Sitting all day is very hard on your body and often causes soreness, pain in your neck, stiffness, back pain and chronic headaches — plus such an unenergetic lifestyle causes fatigue, making you feel like you’re always tired! Your body was made to move, so when it doesn’t get regular activities, you can experience mood issues, sluggishness, tiredness and weight gain.
What Causes a Sedentary Lifestyle:
- desk job
- lack of movement
- back problems
- chronic pain
- habitual sitting
- lack of motivation
Regular exercise can help balance hormones, improve insulin resistance and help you to get better sleep, all of which are important for fighting a lack of energy. Exercise does wonders for the body by releasing endorphins, boosting your stamina and lifting your mood. (Of course, it can also add more muscle tone to your body while burning unhealthy fat.)
While it might feel difficult to get started when you’re always tired, long-term exercise will result in better hormonal balance and prolonged energy as you get more used to it.
How to Get Moving:
- Try a standing desk or one that adjusts for standing and sitting.
- Sit on a large exercise ball. It keeps your back straighter and engages your core without putting as much strain on your hips and legs.
- Take “walk” breaks. Walk around your building, office area or parking lot for 15 minute blocks at a time.
- Plan regular outdoor activities or exercise right before or after work. My favorite is a quick burst training workout first thing in the morning.
- Take 5-minute stretch breaks for every hour of work.
3. Poor Quality Sleep
Most adults need between 7–9 hours of sleep consistently, each and every night, to feel their best, according to the National Sleep Foundation. (8)
Poor Sleep Causes:
- poor diet
- staying up late
- drinking alcohol
- certain medications or supplements
- mood or hormone imbalance
- trauma or abuse
- adrenal fatigue
- pain and chronic pain
- digestive disorders
- normal family life — infants, children, etc.
There is such a range of reasons why we may not be sleeping long enough or well — and many more reasons than what I’ve listed here. However, it is important if you want long-term wellness for you and your family, to actively pursue healthy sleeping habits.
Natural Ways to Get to Sleep Fast:
- Practice relaxation techniques that help you to unwind and fall asleep, such as journaling or reading.
- Take an Epsom salt bath to soothe muscles and ease your mind.
- Take magnesium supplements in the range of 300–400 milligrams, which promote relaxation and relieve muscle pain.
- Use essential oils such as lavender or frankincense.
- Avoid sugary and carb-heavy meals before bed which can give you a “sugar high,” keeping you up.
- Limit caffeine to small amounts during the morning hours, or at least cut yourself off after noon.
- Turn off all electronics two hours or more before bed to avoid blue-light exposure, which can disturb melatonin levels and make it hard for your mind to become sleepy.
Anemia is a condition where a person has a lower than normal level of red blood cells. Anemia is related to a low supply of oxygen reaching cells and tissues throughout the body.
Anemia symptoms include:
- feeling like you’re always tired despite how much you sleep
- weak bones and muscles
- trouble exercising
- being unable to concentrate
And in extreme cases:
- tiredness, fainting
- shortness of breath
- heart attack, angina
- spleen dysfunction
- digestive issues
- skin yellowing
Causes of Anemia:
- Anemia occurs when there’s a problem with red blood cells making hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body, especially to the brain where it’s much needed.
- It’s connected to insufficient iron levels within the blood, in addition to low vitamin B12 and folate levels.
- Anemia can also be caused by a loss of blood or a diet that’s too low in those essential nutrients and, thus, hinder the body’s ability to make enough hemoglobin.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “If you have anemia, your body doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. As a result, you may feel tired or weak. You also may have other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness or headaches.”
Natural Remedies for Anemia:
Anemia symptoms can be greatly reduced by improving your diet and including plenty of foods that are rich in iron, vitamin B12 and folate. These include:
- Liver (from beef, chicken etc.) that’s extremely high in iron and B vitamins.
- Blackstrap molasses, which a healthy natural sweetener high in iron.
- Brewer’s yeast, or nutritional yeast, which is loaded with B vitamins and tastes something like cheese but is actually totally dairy-free.
- Foods high in vitamin C that help with iron absorption, such as citrus fruits and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower.
- Green leafy vegetables that have a significant amount of iron and folate.
Dehydration occurs when there is an excessive loss of body fluids, especially of water and electrolytes — or not enough water taken in. When you start to feel thirsty, you body is already dehydrated.
Causes of Dehydration:
- Excessive exercise without replenishing
- drinking soda or other beverages instead
- being outside in the hot sun for an hour or more
- illness — vomiting, diarrhea, sweating
- prescription medications
- menstrual cycle
- neglecting to drink water
- higher altitudes
The most common cause of dehydration is simply not drinking enough water, or substituting water intake with only soda or juice. This is a critical mistake as not only does that spike your blood sugar, but also your cells cannot get enough water to function properly!
The major electrolytes in the body — sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate — are ion compounds that literally help your body to have energy via the force of electricity that keeps your organs and cells functioning. Some parts of the body that are more “electrically wired” and require a high amount of electrolytes and water include the brain, heart, nervous system and muscles.
Dehydration affects the actual viscosity (thickness) of your blood and the amount that your heart must beat every minute, as it tries to get oxygen to all your cells.
When you’re dehydrated, your heart sends oxygen and nutrients to your brain, muscles and organs at a slower pace; as a consequence, you begin to feel:
- like you have “brain fog”
- weakness in muscles
- unable to concentrate and perform tasks
Natural Remedies for and Prevention of Dehydration:
Drink more water throughout the day, increase your intake of vegetables and fruits, and make sure you’re getting plenty of electrolytes in the form of whole foods. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, some of the best options to obtain electrolytes and to stay hydrated include:
- Coconut water
- Bell peppers
- Citrus fruit
6. Blood Sugar Imbalance
Most people have blood sugar imbalances that can be easily fixed, but they aren’t even aware that this is a major contributing factor to their health problems and lack of energy. Chances are if you’re always tired, your blood sugar has something to do with it. Over time, imbalances in blood sugar can lead to serious diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of a blood sugar imbalance include:
- feeling fatigued/exhaustion
- food cravings
Causes of Blood Sugar Imbalance:
- poor diet (processed foods, added sugars and simple carbohydrates)
- type I & II diabetes
- pancreatic function
Blood sugar levels become unbalanced when your diet is too high in various forms of sugar, which enter the bloodstream rapidly and can cause mood swings due to extreme elevations in blood glucose. Sugary foods, especially processed ones that contain tons of added sugar, put you on a “sugar high” followed by a “sugar crash.”
Natural Remedies for Blood Sugar Imbalances:
To get blood sugar levels back under control, you’ll need to really reduce, or even to completely eliminate, all sources of refined sugar from your diet. These include:
- All sugary beverages — which are some of the worst culprits — like all soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee or tea beverages.
- Packaged snacks like all cookies, cakes, cereals and candy.
- Even natural sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup, which can still affect blood sugar levels.
- Also consider cutting back or eliminating grains, especially gluten-containing grains like wheat products (including “whole wheat”). These contain large amounts of carbohydrates that are broken down into sugar within a few minutes of consumption. They can cause intestinal inflammation that affects hormones like cortisol and leptin, leaving you feeling weak and tired.
- Conventional (nonorganic and pasteurized) cow’s milk and dairy products should also be eliminated. Stay away from dairy products that contain A1 casein, which is produced by conventional cows and found in most milk, yogurt and cheese that’s available in the grocery store. When buying dairy, only purchase raw and organic kinds from pasture-raised animals.
7. Poor Diet
You’ve probably noticed that almost all of the causes of you feeling like you’re always tired can be partially alleviated through changing your diet. That’s because your diet ultimately impacts your:
- hormones, causing imbalances
- neurotransmitter function, which make you prone to anxiety or depression
- sleep cycles, making it hard to get enough restful sleep
- outlook on life
- motivation and so much more
Causes of a Poor Diet Causing You To Be Tired:
- other influences
One of the biggest risk factors for feeling tired all the time is being a “carboholic,” meaning someone who overeats grains, refined carbs and sugary foods. This same person also doesn’t acquire enough healthy fats, proteins, vegetables and essential nutrients that support ongoing energy.
How to Correct a Poor Diet:
Instead of hitting the dreaded 2 p.m. “post-lunch coma,” try changing your diet to incorporate more of these energy-promoting foods:
- Foods high in B vitamins — B vitamins are abundant mostly in protein-rich foods. Try having plenty of sources like grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, cage-free organic eggs and poultry, and all kinds of green leafy vegetables.
- Foods high in calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc, which can all help you to relieve stress and get better sleep — these include unpasteurized organic dairy products, avocados, wild-caught salmon, green vegetables, nuts and seeds.
- Healthy sources of fats, including omega-3 fatty acids — wild-caught fish, seeds, coconut and olive oil, avocados, and nuts can help stabilize hormones and your mood, so you sleep through the night better and fight depression, stress, and thyroid (such as hypothyroidism) or adrenal disorders.
At the same time, try to limit or avoid the following …
- High-sugar foods: Consuming too much sugar can negatively impact your energy by giving you blood “sugar highs” followed by “lows.”
- Processed and refined flour: These “simple carbohydrate” foods act very similar to sugar in the body. They lead to fluctuations in blood sugar, mood swings, hormonal changes and food cravings.
- Excessive caffeine: Too much caffeine can cause anxiety and hinder your ability to sleep well, even if you stop drinking it in the afternoon. Caffeine can remain in your system for up to six hours, so if you are going to have some, curb your intake by around noon each day.
- Too much alcohol: Alcohol may help you to fall asleep, but it also interferes with REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep), which is the deepest sleep state that’s needed to feel rested the following day. It can also increase anxiety and make it hard to manage stress.