“Why am I tired all the time?” As women we can be pulled in several directions in any given day. From being a supportive partner, working full time, keeping up with friends, and, for some, being a mother on top of all that it can begin to take its toll. We have a tendency to put ourselves last on the list for any care or attention (though we may advise others differently). To this extent, though we may be happy with our lot, it can lead to us feeling drained and exhausted much of the time. However, this doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence.
Common reasons why women feel fatigued?
There can be many reasons for women to feel more fatigued. It’s always best to get any underlying medical reason ruled out, especially if it’s been going on for a long time. Due to our menstrual cycle women can be prone to low iron levels, so a blood test to rule this out is a good starting place. The thyroid, which regulates body temperature and metabolism, can also cause fatigue. Again, this can be easily ruled out via a blood test with your GP. Once these have been ruled out there are other reasons your energy may be low that you can start tackling today.
Diet (not enough food, and/or not eating the right foods)
Poor dietary choices are another common reason for fatigue, especially for those energy dips throughout the day. Being always in a rush, trying to finish things off, or even trying to follow the latest diet craze could mean you’re not eating enough, or not enough of the right foods. With that never ending to-do list you may find that you’re skipping meals, or eating them in a rush. The result is that you’re not getting in enough nutrients to run your body in the first place.
This may result in reaching out for those energy boosters such as chocolate, coffee. This, in truth, can leave you worse off than you were before.
Making simple changes like taking the time to eat meal, even when your busy can seem like a chore, but it will help in the long run. Knowing what those meals should be made up off is even more important. Make sure you have a palm-sized amount of protein with each meal. This will slow down the release of energy from your food, so you get more out of it. If you do find you need snacks, having some healthy ones on stand-by so you avoid the highly processed ones will also be a help.
Lack of enough sleep / poor quality sleep
As an adult we need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. I know as a busy mum, that sometimes staying up late, after everyone is gone to bed, can feel like the only time I get for myself. Needless to say, in the long-run, this does not do me any favours.
Our sleep can also be hijacked by too much sugar, caffeine, hormonal changes, stress, late-night TV and other electronic devices to name a few.
Instead, sticking to a bed-time routine with set sleep and wake times (even at the weekend) can train our body to sleep better over time. Looking at what we’re putting in our diet, swapping out the stimulants, can also reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve the quality too. This means we’ll be much more rested the next day, with better energy.
Poor gut health
Our gut is the main processing unit in the body for all that we eat. If the gut is not working at its optimum, then the nutrition the body should be getting from food may not be enough. So even if you have a well balance diet, you may not be extracting all the benefits from it.
A sluggish gut can also cause low energy. The waste food needs to be eliminated, and along with it goes any toxins the liver has processed. These include the leftover hormones, such as oestrogen. If these are not eliminated they can re-enter the blood stream, creating more burden for the body and lower energy.
Stress has huge implications to our overall health. Via the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, It can make us crave more sugar, throwing out our energy. It can impact our hormonal balance, resulting in periods of greater fatigue at various times throughout the month.
Stress doesn’t have to mean being in a high-powered job. It can just mean being busy, worried, or increased emotional stress from the fact that we’re just exhausted to begin with.
While you can’t get rid of stress, we can reduce its impact. By supporting the body with good food, better sleep and movement, you can lay the foundations for better stress responses and less negative effects.
Where can you start to reduce your fatigue?
So where can you go from here? First start by getting your bloods done if they haven’t been done in a while. This will rule out any medical conditions as the cause of your fatigue.
After that, start with simple changes to your diet. Make time to eat and make sure your meals have a balance of all the nutrients that will help with energy such as protein, fiber and healthy fats. Over time, you’ll start to see that you no longer rely on stimulants to keep going and this will help your energy even more.
Begin to listen to your body. If it’s tired, don’t push it, nourish it. Make sure you’re getting sleep and taking some time out for you.
While there can be many reasons for your exhaustion, with some easy to address and others taking some more time and consideration, the benefits of supporting better energy are endless, not least to your overall health.