The reason why you feel tired all the time

Do often wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed? Do rely on caffeine to pull you through the day? If feeling exhausted is an everyday occurrence, tackling these common causes of fatigue will bring your energy levels back up to scratch.

Poor sleep

One obvious reason why you’re hitting snooze as many times as possible is that you either need more sleep or a require a better quality of sleep.

How much sleep are you getting? Everyone varies in the amount of sleep they need to feel fully refreshed, but the Sleep Health Foundation recommends adults get a average of 7-9 hours of sleep a night. That means if you’re going to bed at 12am and getting up again at 6am, chances are you’re building up a sleep deficit.

For many people however, the issue with sleep is the quality of sleep you’re getting. If your sleep is often disrupted, this could be the reason you’re not waking feeling restored. Common sleep disturbances include noises, children, pets, checking your phone before bed and through the night, late afternoon caffeine and even undiagnosed sleep apnoea.

What you can do:

  • Check how much sleep you’re getting by using an activity tracker or sleep diary – this gives you a snapshot to work from.
  • Go to bed earlier, aiming for the same time every night. Setting a bedtime alarm can help here.
  • Remove the temptation to check your phone by putting it on charge in another room.
  • Wind down before bed by reading book, mediating or listening to music.

Lack of exercise

It’s been proven that exercise is one fo the best things you can do to increase your overall energy. However, we often use the excuse of lack of time, or energy to do this important energy booster.

It’s important to make a habit of it, so just start of slow and light. You don’t need to run a marathon on your first day, even a 30 minute walk is sufficient.

Just remember that you may not always feel like doing it, but you never regret when you have done exercise.

What you can do:

  • Starting walking each day for 30 minutes
  • Book an appointment with your nearest Physiotherapist if you are encountering pain or discomfort when exercising
  • Start an exercise journal, so you can monitor your progress

Underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism) 

Your thyroid is a gland in your neck that produces hormones important for many bodily processes. An underactive thyroid (a condition called hypothyroidism) can cause low energy levels, fatigue and trouble concentrating.

Because the thyroid plays a major role in regulating your metabolism, many people with hypothyroidism also experience unexplained weight gain. Hair loss, intolerance to cold temperatures, fatigued and aching muscles, slow heart rate, and depression are also common symptoms.

Hypothyroidism is more common in women than in men, and the risk increases with age. The most common cause is the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s disease, but it can also be caused by other things such as iodine deficiency.

What you can do:

  • Speak to your GP, who might suggest a blood test check your thyroid function.
  • Iodine is low in our food supply, so an iodine supplement can be useful to support healthy thyroid function. 

Stress and burning out

Our modern lifestyle of high stress, long work hours, poor nutrition, inadequate exercise and lack of recharge time has many of us heading toward burnout, as chronically elevated cortisol levels have us ready to fight or run, all day long.

What you can do:

  • Make some lifestyle changes to reduce and manage stress. Prioritise relaxation and self-care, and perhaps try meditation or yoga.
  • Many of us can benefit from a magnesium supplement. Magnesium is important for normal energy metabolism, and contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
  • Talk to your GP, a dietitian or physical therapist for other ways to support your body during times of prolonged stress.

So all in all it's important to address each one of these potential factors, to ensure you feel fresh and alert after your next sleep.