Are you chronically tired all the time and fed up with constantly complaining about feeling so exhausted? The Daily Mail’s on-line health blog found here www.dailymail.com has a great article posted which gives seven possible reasons you may be feeling that way. Read on for some interesting suggestions and find out how to improve your energy levels.
1. You’re a perfectionist
Being a perfectionist can sap someone’s energy, as they spend longer than their less conscientious counterparts worrying over their decisions and this can stop them from sleeping, suggests Professor Irene Levine, of New York University-Langone School of Medicine.
“Instead of moving forward with a task, they obsessively circle back, ruminating about whether they are performing well enough. This maladaptive way of coping with stress can leave individuals feeling tired and as if they never achieve their goals.”
While basic characteristics such as perfectionism are essentially hard-wired, having some insight into whether you are a perfectionist can help offset the associated anxiety and stress, which leads to tiredness. Cognitive behavioural therapy might also be beneficial, added Professor Levine.
2. You’re drinking too much coffee
Caffeine is a stimulant, and drinking it sends a message to the adrenal glands to produce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. The same stress response is triggered in the body through drinking coffee and tea as if it was in imminent physical danger, said Dr Marilyn Glenville, a nutritionist and author of The Natural Health Bible for Women.
After one cup of tea or coffee, a person might feel energised and alert, she explained. But then blood sugar tends to dip, and the person ‘crashes’ and feels even more tired. Cutting out caffeine will increase energy levels in the long run, she said.
3. You’re eating too many comfort carbs
Dr Glenville said people can actually be tired from foods that are supposed to give them energy. She advises that filling up on pasta, bread and rice – as well as biscuits, chocolate and crisps – causes spikes and dips in blood sugar that leave a person dozing off in the afternoon.
She suggests eating low GI foods, which release energy more slowly, and eating little and often, will keep blood sugar stable and energy levels constant, preventing tiredness. Plenty of nutrient-rich fruit and veg will also help.
4. You have menstrual associated sleep disorder
Many women will have difficulties sleeping at various points in their menstrual cycle, according to studies. Usually, a woman will toss and turn, or experience daytime sleepiness, in the luteal or premenstrual phase of her cycle – the 11 days before her period is due. This is due to drops in hormones that occurs at this time.
The disorder is normally treated by a GP, who might recommend a contraceptive pill to levels out fluctuations in hormones. Some women who struggle to sleep before their period may have low levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone. If this is the case the GP might prescribe melatonin.
5. You’re not eating enough protein
Eating protein can cause energy to be released more slowly, preventing a 4pm slump. Many people lack energy, especially a few hours after lunch before dinner because they are not eating enough protein, says Nicola Shubrook, a nutritionist at UrbanWellness clinic in London. She told MailOnline: ‘It takes more time for protein to be broken down in the body so the energy is released more slowly and it fills you up for longer.
She recommends eating protein throughout the day to keep energy levels stable with good sources of protein being found in meat, fish, cheese, tofu, beans, lentils, yoghurt, nuts, and seeds.
6. You have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes
Tiredness, usually accompanied by sight problems, a constant thirst and passing urine frequently, as well as suffering frequent infections, could be a sign of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.
This occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin, known as insulin resistance. ‘If a person is unfit, everything they do requires more effort,’ says GP Professor Steve Field. .
Treatment type 2 diabetes involves regular exercise, a healthy diet and sometimes medication to prevent high blood sugar levels. Treatment is designed to maintain blood glucose levels to avoid the risk of complications such as blindness, nerve damage, ulcers and amputation.
7. You have low levels of testosterone
In men, tiredness – possibly accompanied by loss of body hair, loss of libido and difficulty concentrating – could be caused by low levels of sex hormones. When levels drop, it can cause a loss of muscle mass, so the sufferer would feel tired whenever they do any physical activity, says Dr Mark Vanderpump, consultant endocrinologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
In terms of treatment, it’s rare to reverse the underlying cause, says Dr Vanderpump. But it is possible to have testosterone replacement therapy to revert the symptoms and restore muscle strength.
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