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Why Am I Tired All Day?

There can be many reasons for being tired all day such as:

Physical conditions:  Seasonal affective disorder, any recent or current illness, pregnancy, adrenal insufficiency, coeliac disease, constant pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep apnoea, heart disease, underactive thyroid, diabetes, glandular fever, anaemia, restless legs and too low or high a bodyweight may all cause tiredness.

Psychological conditions: Depression, stress, boredom, excitement, anxiety and grief could contribute to fatigue.

Lifestyle:  If you’re burning the candle at both ends, you may be suffering from a lack of sleep.     Potentially stress-related life events such as moving home, financial problems or divorce may make you feel tired.  A lack of exercise or jet lag can also cause fatigue.

Diet:  Vitamin or mineral deficiency or a poor diet with low protein may cause constant tiredness.

Work:  Shift workers may have irregular sleep patterns which will contribute to tiredness.

Babies and Small Children: If there is a baby or small child in the home you may find that getting a good night’s sleep is somewhat difficult.

Nutritional Tips

Keep up your energy during the day by eating regular meals and healthy snacks every three to four hours.  Start the day with breakfast, have a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack and an evening meal.  Watch your intake of alcohol.   Although a few drinks in the evening may help you fall asleep, you sleep less deeply in the long run and are likely to be tired the next day.

Drink more water.  Sometimes you feel tired simply because you’re dehydrated.

Best foods for energy

  • Vitamin B: whole grains, organ meats, sweet potatoes, avocados, egg yolks and fish. Both oatstraw and nettle infusions are good sources of B vitamins.
  • Vitamin C: cantaloupe, citrus fruit and juices, kiwi, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, green and red peppers, spinach, and tomatoes. Cooking reduces the availability of vitamin C in food.  Microwaving or steaming foods improve availability. 
  • Tired people need more high-quality fuel, including good fats, in their diet, especially natural sources of vitamin E, such as avocados, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, tahini, and olive oil. Herbs rich in vitamin E include nettle, seaweeds, dandelion, and watercress.
  • Celery, cabbage, seaweeds, nettle infusion, and red clover infusion are excellent sources of potassium which can help boost energy.
  • You may need to increase your intake of iron if you’re anaemic. Consume a spoonful of molasses or take a dropper of yellow dock tincture several times a day.  Good food sources include: seaweeds, nettle infusion, dandelion leaves, coco powder, chocolate, tahini, broccoli, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, chicken, parsley, turkey, roasted pumpkin and squash seeds,  sunflower seeds, kale, lentils, watercress, toasted sesame seeds, cooked egg yolks, apricots (fresh or dried), fish, red meat and haricot beans.
  • The following foods are naturally high in vitamins and minerals and will help you sustain energy throughout the day:
    1. Peanut butter
    2. Live-culture yoghurt with dried apricots
    3. Slightly under ripe banana
    4. Cheese and oatcakes
    5. Turkey breast sandwich
    6. Hard-boiled egg
    7. Chicken and spinach salad on whole wheat pita bread
    8. Pasta and lentil salad
    9. Baked potato with low-fat cheese topping
    10. A small handful of walnuts and almonds
    11. Porridge

With a mixture of lifestyle and nutritional changes, you may find your constant tiredness lessens and your energy levels improve. Zhu-Zhu stock a wide range of quality sleep masks and eye masks which may help in getting more sleep.

Note:  check with your GP if you are concerned about your tiredness

 

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Sleep Management: Waking During the Night

•Don’t watch the clock as this will only make you anxious. If you experience interrupted sleep, cover the clock with a cloth.
•If you are still awake after 30 minutes, get out of bed. Leave the bedroom. Read, have a light snack, do some quiet activity, or take a bath. Avoid challenging or activities such as office work, TV, housework, etc. Don’t expose yourself to bright light as the light gives cues to your brain that it is time to wake up.
•Enjoy some turkey. Turkey contains tryptophan, a major building block for making serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which sends messages between nerve cells and causes feelings of sleepiness.
•Quiet ears exercise: Lie on your back with your eyes closed. Place your hands behind your head. Make sure they are relaxed. Place your thumbs in your ears so that you close the ear canal. You will hear a high-pitched rushing sound. This is normal. Listen to this sound for 10-15 minutes. Then put your arms at your sides, actively relax them and go to sleep.
•Avoid being angry with yourself or the world if you can’t sleep.
•Go on a mind holiday. Pop on a lavender filled eye mask. Take your mind to a time and place where you have felt safe, secure and calm. Experience the memory in each detail: colour, sight, sound, taste, smell and feel. If a memory is hard to access, create your fantasy of where you would like to be in order to feel relaxed and peaceful.
•Consider changing your bedtime. If you are experiencing sleeplessness, think about going to bed later so that the time you spend in bed is spent sleeping. If you are only getting five hours of sleep at night, figure out what time you need to get up and subtract five hours (for example, if you want to get up at 6:00 am, go to bed at 1:00 am). This may seem counterproductive and, at first, you may be depriving yourself of some sleep, but it can help train your body to sleep consistently while in bed. When you are spending all of your time in bed sleeping, you can gradually sleep more, by adding 15 minutes at a time.

Overcome Insomnia

23+ Ways to Overcome Insomnia

While I can’t guarantee these tips for overcoming insomnia will work for you, you are likely to get some benefit somewhere along the line.

Supplements & herbs

Herbal teas or tinctures made from valerian, passiflora, wild lettuce, chamomile, lavender, hops and passion flower can be useful.
Take the supplement 5HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan). 5HTP is a compound created in the body which is used to regulate serotonin levels in brain and central nervous system (serotonin makes us relaxed). It is the effects on the levels of serotonin in the body that gives 5HTP its active effects.

Nutrition

  • Eat a large lunch and have a light evening meal at least three hours before bed.
  • Reduce the number of cups of coffee, tea or cola drinks you drink, especially later on in the day.
  • Only drink alcohol in moderation. It may bring on sleepiness, but will tend to cause early waking.
  • Warm milk contains high levels of tryptophan, a natural sedative. Adding honey to warm milk helps get the tryptophan in your system faster.

Preparing for sleep

  • Regular daytime exercise can help you to feel more relaxed and tired at bedtime.
  • Mentally dealing with the day’s unfinished business is helpful. Writing down any worries to deal with the next day may help to clear them from the mind and prevent them re-surfacing in the early hours.
  • Relaxation techniques aim to reduce your mental and physical arousal before going to bed. For example, progressive muscular relaxation has been shown to help promote sleep.
  • The bedroom should be a quiet, relaxing place to sleep. It should not be too hot, cold, or noisy. Earplugs and eye shades may be useful if you are sleeping with a snoring or wakeful partner. Make sure the bedroom is dark with good curtains to stop early morning sunlight. Don’t use the bedroom for activities such as work, eating or television.
  • Hide your alarm clock under your bed. Many people ‘clock watch’ and this does not help you to get off to sleep.
  • Essential oils such as jasmine or lavender in a warm bath help induce a state of restfulness.
  • Stop smoking – nighttime breathing problems are more likely in smokers. Do not smoke before bed or if you wake in the middle of the night.
  • The body becomes used to rhythms or routines. If you keep to a pattern, you are more likely to sleep well. Therefore no matter how tired you are, do not nap during the day. It’s best to go to bed only when sleepy-tired in the late evening – Switch the light out as soon as you get into bed. Always get up at the same time each day, seven days a week, however short the time asleep. Use an alarm to help with this. Resist the temptation to ‘lie-in’ even at weekends.

Author’s favourites: Bach Flower Night-Time Remedy, completing my steaming roller-coaster of a novel or relaxing all the muscles in my body and doing some deep breathing while wearing a sleep eye mask.