I was reading an article on the causes of tiredness the other day and the top reason was “Lack of sleep”. Urrr, well, tell us something we don’t know. I’m not going to talk about Sleep Hygiene either - we have heard all about that.
But it got me thinking about the not-so-obvious reasons for exhaustion...
I’m not talking about the illness, pregnancy, new baby, going out-out, exams, too much screen time, sport and exercise kind of tiredness.
I’m talking about that feeling of brain fog, flat, low mood, numbing you to the joys in life, collapsing into afternoon naps, can’t get out of bed, sugar or caffeine fixing, motivation sapping, running out of steam half way through your exercise (… day, life) kind of tiredness.
The sort of tiredness that leaves you feeling like a shadow of your former self for no obvious reason. Sound familiar?
2 areas to consider:
Is it nutrition?
Which vitamins are you deficient in?
Is it emotional?
Are you feeling stressed or emotionally overwhelmed?
If it’s nutrition…
A great place to start: Hydrate + Nourish
Fuel your brain right by drinking plenty of water and boosting your brain’s nutrients - especially with methylated B vitamins and amino acids (such as Tryptohphan, Tyrosine, Glutamine, Carnitine, DLPA).
This can be a complete game changer. It’s so hard to keep ourselves well nourished when you are tired, wired or stressed. We tend to reach for a quick sugar or carb fix which only makes the crash and burn worse.
It’s amazing how quickly our energy and mood can be lifted when the right nutrients are available for the brain.
First - is getting to sleep or staying asleep the problem? Or do you get enough sleep and still wake up feeling tired?
There’s plenty you can do to help your sleep and boost your energy the natural way:
It’s one of the essential amino acids (essential because we need to get it from our diets or through supplements) and helps with boosting mood and keeping you asleep.
So this might be for you if you are waking early and not able to get back off to sleep. It is a precursor to melatonin and serotonin which help us to sleep and recover from lifestyle stress.
We can get serotonin from food sources (like turkey, bananas, cashews) but it’s difficult to correct deficiencies without overdoing calories so supplementing is a fantastic way to support mood and get better sleep.
Low serotonin levels are associated with anxiety and mild depression which can also be part of why we are feeling tired all the time.
Sleep, a good mood and performance are all directly related. Anyone who starts their day after a restful night is better able to concentrate on work and feels more balanced. Conversely, constant fatigue leads to a drop in performance which can lead to unhappiness over an extended period of time. The potential outcome is worry and sleeplessness which is certainly a vicious circle.
L-Glutamine has a calming effect and counteracts symptoms of stress and can be the key ingredient missing if you are feeling wired and can’t relax or get off to sleep.
The amino acid glutamine is involved in many metabolic processes. It stabilises the immune system, strengthens the intestinal cells and helps against stress, depression and anxiety.
Several studies show that concentrations of glutamine in the body are diminished during times of physical or psychological stress.
Glutamine increases the production of GABA, gamma-amino-butyric acid. GABA is the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter of the brain. It is like a natural sedative in the brain. If the body has enough glutamine available it can manufacture GABA. This has a positive impact: peace of mind, balance in stressful situations, improved concentration and restorative sleep.
Methylated B Vitamins
The body is a very complex machine, with various gears and switches that need to be all functioning properly to operate optimally. Think of methylation as the mechanism that turns biological switches on and off for a host of systems in the body.
The system is reliant on one switch being turned on by a critical B vitamin, 5-MTHF (also known as active folate or methylfolate).
Simply put, if enough 5-MTHF is present, the methylation cycle will work efficiently.
Folic acid from the diet or supplements must be converted to this active form, 5-MTHF, before it can be used in the body in the methylation cycle.
Unfortunately, many people have a genetic mutation that makes it challenging for their bodies to create enough 5-MTHF so look for a supplement the has the methylated form and avoid folic acid.
These are the nutrients that help to optimise energy even if an individual has the genetic mutation that slows down the methylation cycle:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) for mental wellbeing and mood
Vitamin B5 (Calcium pantothonate) for brain chemicals
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal 5’-phosphate)
Vitamin B9 Folic acid (L-5MTHF)
Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin)
CoQ10 is a compound in charge of producing energy in the cells of your body. CoQ10 helps to charge up the batteries of each cell (mitochondria) so it’s boosting your body with this nutrient can be the missing link to explaining your tiredness and exhaustion.
CoQ10 production decreases as you age, with fighting disease, overcoming stress and with nutritional deficiencies (in particular Vitamin B6) so taking a supplement can make an enormous difference in keeping your energy levels up.
Do you want to make life easier?
If all this is just too much to think about and you just don’t have the time (or energy!) to source all these nutrients - let alone if you hate the idea of taking handfuls of pills everyday - then the 360 ME range has been designed specially for you.
Energy Me has got you covered with these ingredients in just 2 easy to take capsules.
Calm Me has got the glutamine and a unique blend of 3 types of magnesium. And Happy Me has got all the ingredients to give your serotonin a super boost.
But what if it’s not nutrition?
Is it emotional?
If you are busy juggling work, home, family and social commitments with a packed diary and always feeling exhausted then maybe it’s also worth having a think about your relationship and social boundaries and patterns of behaviour.
A couple of quick questions:
Are you a people pleaser?
Are you good at spotting the warning signs of stress?
Becoming emotionally exhausted can come from a people pleasing pattern that you may not even be aware that you have. The deeper issue beneath this is a lack of self-worth.
Hoping to be accepted and liked by everyone can leave us with the feeling that we need to change or hide parts of ourselves to be liked resulting, as time goes on, in the feeling that we don’t even know ourselves.
Our identity has moulded and changed so much we have lost touch with how we feel, what we like, how we want to be treated, what is right for us. It means we accept however people treat us as normal and something that we have to put up with and quietly get over.
We have spent so much of our lives agreeing, keeping quiet, avoiding confrontation and saying yes to everything, that we think that this is the normal way of being. We code other people’s behaviour to make sure we fit in. We keep our opinions to ourselves. We do whatever we need to to be accepted and be included. Anything but rejection.
We fear that if people knew our *real selves they wouldn’t like us, let alone love us.
Does this mean your life is cluttered with the wrong people (who leave you feeling low in energy), too many roles (you always take on whatever people ask you to) and too many things (with no clear space)?
Signs of people pleasing:
You pretend to agree with everyone
You take responsibility for how other people feel
You are always apologising
You take on too much
You can’t say no
You always try to act like the people around you
You avoid conflict
You need praise from others to feel good
You keep you hurt feelings private
Over time this simply becomes our way of being. Our identity. We often confuse it with being kind, rejecting selfishness, the desire to be a good person, the need for busy-ness.
Being busy, having a full diary (but no time to breathe) has become a status with kudos. Something to show how popular and needed we are. But is it also a way of avoiding having *space* where difficult emotions surface? Avoiding thinking too much? Is that no time to think or don’t want time to think?
Holding down emotions is an enormous emotional energy drain. Difficult feelings don’t disappear just because you deny thinking about them. They need to be “put in a box” and “kept down”. Imagine living your life with one arm constantly having to keep a balloon under water. It would get tiring quite quickly.
Do you know what you do with negative feelings? Do you let them out and process them with awareness - letting them go?
So here are 5 ways to boost your emotional energy:
1 Think about your boundaries. The rules you will live by. Work out what you really need to do, how you want people to treat you and give yourself permission to say no (with love and gratitude!) to anything, or anyone, that doesn’t fit with your rules.
2 Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself like you are your best friend. No cruel words.
3 Give yourself permission to rest. Create the space in your life, in your diary, in your day to slow down and recharge.
4 Consider the underlying emotions that you may be denying, avoiding or suppressing. What are you frightened of? Just processing this awareness will start to release the pressure. Give yourself permission to let go and accept yourself for who you are today.
5 Get to know your warning signs of stress, burn out, low mood. What are the triggers? What are your thoughts? How does it feel in your body? Then put together a toolkit of your go-to actions to take care of yourself.
Today’s take aways: