There is nothing worse than dragging yourself through the day, fuelling yourself with stimulants, such as coffee and energy drinks to keep going and then crash in the evening, only to repeat this cycle the next day. Before I turned my diet and lifestyle around, I was falling asleep in my work breaks, tempted to fall asleep in meetings, in the middle of studying at university, during my university lectures, and I would require a nap every day. I had no idea that this was so abnormal and that it was actually possible to live a vibrant energetic life every day.
Sleep is vital for healing, and fatigue to me is your body requiring the chance to detox, heal and do some work. Sleep is critical, and if your body is asking for rest, then your body needs it and you should listen and take action.
Top things to consider to regain your energy
Inflammation, occurs when the body is fighting against something that it perceives as an invader. It is there to heal the body, and rid the body of any potential invader. However, prolonged inflammation may be causing your fatigue. Foods you’re eating may be causing inflammation – wheat, gluten, corn, soy, sugar, artificial additives, and foods not prepared properly and traditionally, such as soaking or fermenting. Consider discovering what foods may be causing inflammation in your individual body. The best way to do this is via an elimination diet, such as one of the Changing Habits Protocols or Programs. Inflammation may be in your body for a reason, such as infections (e.g. Ross River Fever) or toxicity (e.g. heavy metals).
- Iodine; required for the production of thyroid hormones which are critical for energy production and maintenance. Consider a urine iodine test, or start incorporating iodine rich foods such as seaweed – dulse and kelp. I love kelp noodles as a pasta replacement or added to soups.
- Iron; iron is required to produce haemoglobin which is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to your cells from your lungs. This means the cells in your body may be lacking oxygen, resulting in feeling weak, having a ‘foggy brain’, feeling fatigued and exhausted. it is advised to have an iron test, as you can be deficient even if you are eating optimal amounts of iron. You may not be absorbing it properly, or there can be other reasons for a deficiency. The most absorbable form of iron is found in animal proteins, particularly liver. You can also consume liver capsules or pate on a regular basis too. Other foods containing iron are activated pumpkin seeds, soaked and possibly fermented legumes, spinach and blackstrap molasses.
- B vitamins; Including riboflavin, thiamine and B6, which are all needed for proper mitochondrial function. This is the energy powerhouse, as it produces our ATP (Adenosine 5′-triphosphate), which is the principal molecule for storing and transferring energy in cells. Liver is one of the best sources of all B vitamins. Other foods containing B vitamins include eggs, milk, cheese, meat, fish, sardines and poultry.
Adrenal gland issues
When we experience prolonged stress, infection, too many stimulants and sleep deprivation, our adrenal glands may become fatigued. Our adrenal glands produce many neurotransmitters, one being cortisol. Cortisol, boosts our energy throughout the day. It is at it’s highest in the morning and decreases into the night. However, many individuals suffering from adrenal fatigue will not produce sufficient amounts of cortisol and therefore have low energy throughout the day.
Tests can be done by a holistic practitioner, who will ascertain if you are deficient in nutrients, have low cortisol levels as well as identifying the root cause of the deficiencies.
Master your sleep pattern
Adequate rest and sleep, is essential to help our bodies heal as well as providing us with energy throughout the day. Aim to get 7-8 hours sleep every night. Here are some tips to enhance your ability to have a long, rested sleep;
- Aim to go to bed at the same time every night.
- Look at the sun when you wake up, as this helps to set up your circadian rhythm.
- Get outside in the sunshine during the day, especially in the morning.
- Make sure you have optimal magnesium levels. Have an Epsom salt bath before bed, as this can assist in increasing your magnesium levels.
- During the evening, avoid the ‘blue light’ from the screen of your phone, iPad, computer as well as any fluorescent lights and television. Bright lights, tell our bodies to stop producing melatonin, which is essential for sleep.
- Reduce and manage stress in your life – click here and here for some tips
- Introduce adaptogen herbs into your daily diet to provide energy throughout the day, and reduce stress
Of course, there are many other factors that can cause someone’s fatigue, however the tips shared above are a perfect start, as you deserve to feel vibrant and energetic every day.
Have you felt fatigued and then made lifestyle changes to restore your energy? How did you do it? We would love to hear from you.
Nutritionist & GAPS Practitioner