You may find yourself asking the question from time to time – “Why can’t I sleep even though I’m tired all the time?” It probably feels like it doesn’t make sense- if you’re exhausted you should fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, right? Well, not always. According to The National Sleep Foundation,
“Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our “sleep health” remains an essential question throughout our lifespan.”
The issue you are having can be about much more than just getting more sleep. Luckily, there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make in order to boost your energy and reclaim your life. If you are tired all the time, it is imperative that you make sleep, and high-quality sleep, a priority. However, if you are already getting eight hours or more and you’re still exhausted all the time, your low energy could be due to one of these underlying causes.
10 Reasons You’re ALWAYS Tired + What To Do About It
1. Thyroid Disease
According to The American Thyroid Association, “More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.”
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
- and changes in appetite
If you have any of these symptoms and suspect that your thyroid is the issue, there are many remedies that can help bring your thyroid into balance.
2. Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is a growing epidemic. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands, the small lumps of tissue located directly above your kidneys, become triggered. The primary trigger for the adrenal glands is stress, yet there are ways to heal naturally.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones that are critical for your well-being: adrenaline, cortisol and hormones that regulate the production of your sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone. When your adrenal glands are triggered and over-extended, your adrenal glands produce extra amounts of hormones, such as adrenaline. This is an extraordinary survival mechanism if you are in danger, but if the stress continues over a long period of time (let’s say you are going through a divorce, bankruptcy, the death of a loved or some type of major crisis) your adrenal glands will eventually become damaged from being so hyperactive.
If you have adrenal fatigue you may experience the following:
- You “crash” in the early part of your day and/or throughout your day
- You feel tired all day at work and have more energy at night when you are home
- You’re really exhausted at night but have trouble falling asleep
- You feel unrested even after a full night’s sleep
- You experience continual sweating under your armpits even after minimal activity
- You are always thirsty and can’t seem to quench your thirst; or you have dry mouth; or you’re always craving salt
- You have blurry vision or difficulty focusing with your eyes
- You are continually craving stimulants like coffee, cigarettes, or soda
3. Sedentary Lifestyle
In today’s busy world, many of us spend much of our time sitting. Although this is understandable, it’s not helpful when it comes to preparing our body for rest at the end of the day.
Causes of a sedentary lifestyle:
- desk job
- lack of movement
- back problems
- chronic pain
- habitual sitting
- lack of motivation
Moving regularly, and getting exercise, can help you regulate your hormones to help you get better sleep at night. According to the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina, there is a uniquely potent effect of exercise on sleep. The researchers of a 2005 study concluded that “no other stimulus elicits greater depletion of energy stores, tissue breakdown, or elevation of body temperature, respectively. Exercise offers a potentially attractive alternative or adjuvant treatment for insomnia … Exercise could be a healthy, safe, inexpensive, and simple means of improving sleep.”
Depression is believed to be caused by such variables as:
- high stress
- unresolved emotional problems
- neurotransmitter imbalances
- hormonal imbalances
- nutrition deficiencies
- lack of sunlight
- toxicity from heavy metals
- and food allergies
5. Lack of Sleep or Poor Sleep Quality
Sometimes you’re tired all the time because you just need more shut-eye. Maybe you’ve adapted to a schedule of only 4-5 hours of sleep at night for a long period of time due to your lifestyle or obligations. If that’s the case, I encourage you to make the lifestyle changes you need to get yourself in bed for some high-quality sleep for at least 7 hours per night.
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
- GERD/acid reflux/digestive disorders
- normal family life – infants, children, etc.
If you’re sleeping over 7 hours regularly and still tired all the time, you may have an issue with the quality of sleep. If that is the case, I’d recommend adopting a bedtime routine that encourages restful sleep.
Natural Ways To Get Sleep Fast:
- Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or journaling
- Take an epsom salt bath with essential oils, like lavender to calm your body and mind
- Take magnesium supplements in the range of 300-400 mg. which promote relaxation
- Avoid eating high amounts of sugar or carb-heavy meals several hours before bedtime as they will give you a “sugar high” and keep you up
- Limit caffeine, or at least avoid it after noon
- Turn off all electronics 2 hours or more before bed to avoid blue-light exposure
There are also many natural sleep aids that will help you with your sleep quality. I personally benefit from taking a teaspoon of Natural Calm (Magnesium supplement) each night.
6. Digestive Issues or Poor Digestion
Digestion is so important for your health and if your digestion isn’t working properly could be preventing you from falling asleep or staying asleep. If your digestive tract isn’t absorbing all of your food properly or eliminating effectively, you may have intestinal permeability or “leaky gut,” which can prevent your body from fully resting at night, though this condition is rare.
If you have digestive pain, discomfort, cramping, or chronic diarrhea or constipation, I’ve personally benefitted from drinking a daily celery juice on an empty stomach. There are many natural ways to reboot your digestion starting with making changes to your diet and increasing water intake.
7. Emotional Stress and Anxiety
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (AADA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the U.S. ages 18 and older (which is 18 percent of the U.S. population). The AADA states that “anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment”.
Anxiety disorders are caused by a complex set of risk factors including:
- brain chemistry
- diet and lifestyle habits
- It’s also very common for someone with anxiety to also have a form of depression, and vice versa — therefore, energy levels can suffer even more.
- poor gut health
I personally benefit from several natural remedies for anxiety that help calm my mind and my body. It is helpful to have a toolbox of options to combat stress in order to see what works for you.
According to Mayo Clinic, “Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated.”
Their site goes on to outline the symptoms of dehydration in adults to be:
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent urination
- Dark-colored urine
If you suspect you’re dehydrated, drink more water. In addition, increase your intake of vegetables and fruits, and make sure you’re eating a whole foods diet, which will make sure you’re getting electrolytes daily.
I recommend you drink half your bodyweight in ounces in water each day. So if you weigh 150 pounds you need to drink 75 ounces of water each day. Remember, if you’re working out a lot or sweating a lot then you need to increase your water intake. Increase your water by 8 ounces for every 30 minutes of exercise.
9. Blood Sugar Imbalance
Many people live with blood sugar imbalance on a daily basis, yet they aren’t aware that this is a major contributing factor to their health problems and lack of energy. If you’re always tired, chances are, your blood sugar is playing a role. Over time, a blood sugar imbalance can lead to serious diseases like type 2 diabetes- which is now an epidemic in the U.S. with over 12% of the adult population now considered diabetic according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
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, which has sadly become an “epidemic” in the U.S with over 12 percent of the adult population now considered diabetic according the US Centers for Disease Control.
Symptoms of a blood sugar imbalance include:
- feelings of fatigue
- food cravings
- and anxiety
To get your blood sugar back under control, you’ll need to reduce, or completely eliminate, all sources of refined sugar from your diet. This includes: soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, sweetened coffee or tea, packaged snacks like cookies and candy, sweeteners (even the natural ones like raw honey and maple syrup), and conventional (non-organic and pasteurized) cow’s milk and dairy products (choose raw milk or pasture-raised, grass-fed, and organic dairy instead). In addition, I recommend reducing or eliminating grains (especially wheat, which includes gluten) from your diet. I have personally benefitted from following a grain-free diet.
In addition, I’ve found that drinking a daily smoothie keeps my blood sugar in balance and it’s made a huge difference in my health and energy levels.
10. Poor Diet
You’ve probably noticed that almost all of the causes of exhaustion can be partially remedied through diet changes. That’s because your diet plays a huge role in your:
- Neurotransmitter function
- Sleep cycles
- Outlook on life
- And more!
So, what causes a poor diet thus leaving you tired all the time? Well, lots of factors, but here are a few key ones:
- Personal and lifestyle habits
- Convenience- wanting food right now and quickly without planning ahead
- Cultural and social influences
What you can do:
- Keep healthy snacks on you at all times to prevent the need to eat fast food
- Eat a whole foods diet- eat food that looks like it does when it comes out of the earth!
- Get a lot of variety in your diet- don’t eat the same thing every day
- Find out what your food allergies and sensitivities are and do what you can to avoid those foods and replace them with healing foods
- Eat lots of healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
- Skip the fad diets– they don’t work. Instead find a meal plan and diet that works for you
- Avoid high-sugar foods, processed and refined flour (“simple carbohydrates”), excessive caffeine, and limit alcohol
Health Coach Tip
If none of the above ring true for you, you may have anemia. According to Dr. Axe, “Anemia, also known as anaemia, occurs when your blood has a lower than normal number of red blood cells or if your red blood cells don’t have enough hemoglobin. Because a side effect of anemia is low circulation of oxygen, anemia symptoms usually include muscle weakness, ongoing fatigue or lethargy, brain fog, and sometimes mood changes.” Although this is not common, if untreated, anemia can be life-threatening, so get your bloodwork checked by your doctor or practitioner as soon as possible.
To Your Energetic & Healthy Life,
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Disclaimer: My blog provides general information and discussion about supplements, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or other health care worker.