Why am I so tired?
If you feel tired all the time, you’re not alone. On average, Australian women feel that they don’t have enough energy for themselves and important activities six out of every ten days. Men feel the same way five out of every ten days.
A recent report even says that Australia is suffering a human energy crisis. An epidemic of sleep deprivation is cited as a telling factor, due to a widespread under appreciation of sleep in the corporate world.
Are you part of this epidemic?
Start by taking the energy quiz below. Your score will tell you whether your tiredness is fleeting or longer-term, and how low your energy levels really are.
Energy quiz: What’s your energy like throughout the day?
Patrick Holford and Dr Hyla Cass developed the following quiz for their book Natural Highs: Increase your energy, sharpen your mind, improve your mood, relax and beat stress.
If you scored above five, read on to understand why you’re feeling so tired and to find natural ways to boost your energy.
Causes of tiredness
If you often feel tired and lack energy, it could be due to something that’s quite easy to identify – and hopefully easy to fix. Some of the top causes of tiredness are:
1. Lack of sleep
Unsurprisingly, sleep deficiency can cause you to feel tired during waking hours. If you feel like you could fall asleep when you’re sitting and talking to someone, or have been sitting in traffic for a few minutes, you could be sleep deprived.
2. Poor diet
Regularly eating too much, too little, or unhealthy foods can make you feel sluggish.
Prolonged, excessive stress can cause exhaustion, be it at work, in relationships or due to financial pressures or major life events.
4. Limited physical activity
One reason you may be feeling tired all the time may be that you’re not getting enough exercise. Research suggests that people with sedentary lifestyles have higher levels of fatigue than their more active peers.
Natural ways to support your energy
Fortunately, there are healthy ways to boost your energy levels. Most of these are also great for your general health and wellbeing, so potential benefits are far-reaching.
1. Hydrate with water
It seems like water helps fix everything – and tiredness is no exception. A study of 22 people who typically drank less than 1.2 litres of water a day and increased their water intake showed a significant decrease in fatigue and sleepiness. Plus, water will be important in avoiding dehydration-related fatigue when it comes to the next step….
Research suggests a strong relationship between increased physical activity and reduced risk of low energy and fatigue. Try to move more
to boost your energy – even a daily brisk walk will be beneficial.
3. Make healthy food choices
A well-balanced diet is important to feeding your body with the fuel it needs. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and choosing whole grains instead of refined products is recommended to improve sleep quality.
Also make sure you’re getting adequate levels of nutrients that support energy production
4. Get enough sleep
It makes sense that more sleep equals less tiredness, but how much should you aim for? Adults should sleep at least 7 hours a night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
5. Stress relief
Do what you can to avoid situations that make you feel anxious – think of all the energy you’ll save without all that stressing out. This could be a tricky one if it’s finances or work that leave you feeling drained, so start with stressors that are easier to address. Try our 3 ways to stress less action plan
or 5 easy ways to relax and find your calm
6. Limit alcohol
You don’t have to give up after-work drinks or a wine with dinner altogether, but only ever drink alcohol in moderation. Although some studies suggest that low levels of alcohol can initially improve sleep, high or continued doses can disturb sleep and exacerbate daytime sleepiness.
7. Quit smoking
Research suggests that smoking is a risk factor for fatigue in men, and that for this and many other reasons, the benefits of quitting are unquestionable.