Why Are We All So Tired?
Fatigue. It’s a word we have become all too familiar with. It’s seemingly everywhere & effecting everyone. This unfortunately means fatigue has become very common & therefore normal, which is a fairly frightening reality. So why on earth are we all so tired? Unfortunately it’s not as simple as you might have hoped, fatigue really is a very nonspecific symptom of a number if health issues. Iron deficiency anaemia seems to cope a lot of the blame & whilst yes it’s the most common nutrient deficiency & it absolutely does manifest as fatigue, especially in women, it’s not the only reason we are all so exhausted. If you are feeling fatigued you really have every right, like every other fatigued person to not feel this way & develop a understanding of why. Fatigue shouldn’t just be ignored as it really is a symptom, a sign that something is not right. Here are a few common reasons (other than iron deficiency of course) that may explain why you might be feeling so tired all the time.
Under-Active Thyroid Function
That little butterfly gland known as the thyroid usually sits quiet high on the suspect list when discussing matters of fatigue. The thyroid gland has two main functions in the body: to control metabolism & regulate body temperature. When we have insufficient production of thyroid hormone our metabolism slows down to conserve energy resulting in…. fatigue. Every cell & organ system requires thyroid hormone to function & without it everything slows right down. Those with an under-active thyroid may also experience weight gain, low mood, constipation, low body temperature & dry skin.
Chronic Stress | Burnout
Let’s face it we live in a world that appears to be synonymous with stress. Stress has become a modern way of life, its become prolonged, abundant, intense & relentless. It’s become scarily normal. Prolonged, excessive stress is also a very common cause of burnout & fatigue.
The adrenal glands are responsible for secreting hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol, aldosterone & in small amounts our sex hormones oestrogen & androgens. When we are stressed our adrenals try to help us through the situation but secreting more cortisol & adrenaline. It’s a survival mechanism really, it’s thinks your in danger & to quickly get us away from said danger a healthy boost of adrenalin should surely do the trick. However when we are chronically stressed & our adrenals are consistently secreting cortisol they simply conk out & become unable to keep up with the demand leaving us feeling fatigued, defeated & burnout.
Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is the most common nutrient deficiency in western society & of course a very common culprit of fatigue. It’s actually what most people associate with fatigue states. Menstruating woman are particularly susceptible to experiencing IDA as we lose iron each month with our period. However before assuming iron to be the culprit its always best to have your levels checked first because not only could it not be iron deficiency but in fact having too much iron can also manifest as fatigue.
There are a number of other nutrients deficiencies that can also cause fatigue & tiredness. These may include:
Vitamin B12 | Rarely gets the attention it deserves but B12 is essential for energy production.
Symptoms of B12 deficiency may include: numbness & tingling in the hands & feet, tongue soreness, loss of appetite & difficulties with memory
Iodine | Essential for the production of thyroid hormone.
Symptoms of Iodine deficiency may include: hypothyroidism, breast tenderness/pain prior to menstruation, ovulation pain & PMS.
Magnesium | An essential mineral for energy production - although true magnesium deficiency is rare, the demand for this mineral increases during periods of chronic stress.
Water | Not technically a nutrient per-say but important to mention none-the-less. Dehydration can absolutely manifest with fatigue. Always drink 1.5 - 2L filtered water daily. You’ll be surprised how amazing you’ll feel if you drink enough water, your digestion & skin will thank you too!
Restless Sleep / Insomnia
Sleep is how our body rejuvenates & repairs, because at the end of the day that’s its purpose. When we aren’t able to get a solid 6-8 hours per night, we start our day 1 step behind the eight ball. Having a quality nights sleep can make the world of difference to your energy & how you feel each day. There are a number of reason one might be having difficulty sleeping so its always best to consult a qualified health practitioner to help you get to the bottom of it & ensure you are able to experience a good quality nights rest.
When the digestive tract in inflamed, under-functioning & producing insufficient enzymes to breakdown our food we aren’t fully able to break down & absorb the essential nutrition we need from our food in order to thrive. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if nutrients aren’t being absorbed then energy probably isn’t being efficiently made & therefore fatigue may result. One of the biggest causes of reduce digestive capacity is in fact stress, as stress has such an inhibitory effect on production of digestive enzymes & your ability to breakdown food.
If you are experiencing fatigue as always you should speak with a qualified health professional for correct diagnosis & treatment.