Spice Girl-turned-fashion-designer Victoria Beckham has hit out at critics who branded her "miserable" during her stint at New York fashion week by simply admitting: "I'm really tired".
With the pressure of knocking out a fashion collection worthy of a fashionista's nod and juggling a jet set lifestyle with four children in tow (one of which is currently teething and causing sleepless nights), it's little wonder Victoria Beckham sported an impressive set of eye bags last week.
Speaking out over her fatigue-induced appearance, Victoria told the Sunday Mirror: "If people want to say I'm miserable, then so be it. I’m really not. I have a lot on my plate. I’m not going to lie about it, I’m tired. I’m really tired."
Blaming her hectic routine and six-month-old baby daughter Harper, Victoria showed that despite being rich enough to live a life of luxury, money cannot buy you a good night's sleep: "I'm not getting much sleep at all. Harper's not sleeping great. I'm up with the baby as all mums are, and I wouldn't have it any other way. There's not a team doing it for me.
"Give me a break. I’m tired. You can’t look your best all the time."
And it seems that Victoria is not alone. According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly a third of Brits suffer from insomnia - and those are just the people who are desperate enough to speak to their GP. As a result, over 10m sleeping pills are prescribed to knackered Brits each year.
"Lack of sleep can lead to low energy and concentration levels, depression, immune deficiency, relationship problems, weight gain (as the mind tries to boost energy by making us eat more), and even serious medical problems such as heart disease," cognitive hypnotherapist, Lesley McCall told The Huffington Post.
According to recent scientific research, lack of sleep makes us ill, as it confuses the body's natural body clock and makes it 'alter' the immune system.
If you're suffering from the night demons and struggle to nod off at night, find out how you can beat insomnia without popping the pills. Also, take a look at these expert tips on how to switch off and rest easy at night.
However, if you’re on the go all day and running a few hours of sleep a night making you feel constantly exhausted, worried and overwhelmed, there are changes you can make to your diet that can have an impact on your mood and energy levels.
A rich fibre diet can boost energy levels and revive a sluggish digestive system, as well as a superfood-rich diet will help increase the body’s antioxidants, which help fight against illness and fatigue.
Particular foods that are great fatigue-fighters include:
Magnesium. A restricted intake of this vitamin found that women use up more energy and become tired more easily. Eat a handful of pumpkin seeds to boost energy levels and fight fatigue.
Probiotics. An imbalance of microorganisms in the gut makes the digestive system slow down and can make you feel tired and can cause chronic fatigue syndrome. Fight this by adding probiotics to your diet. Eating natural yoghurts containing ‘good bacteria’ that improves gut health can do this.
Whole grains. Fibre not only keeps your digestive system healthy, it also helps you feel more awake and alert. High bran cereals for breakfast help maintain sugar levels, which keep you feeling bright. Whole grains are essential for boosting energy and better than refined carbohydrates, which cause blood sugar levels to plummet.
Tea and I-theanine. Although many think that coffee contains a bigger caffeine hit than tea, a cup of coffee is missing the all important fatigue-fighting ingredient: I-theanine. When paired with caffeine, the amino acid found naturally in tea improves cognition, alertness and memory more than plain caffeine alone.
As well as these, there are lots of other foods that affect your mood – from giving it a boost to causing it to dip into feelings of depression.
If your feelings of fatigue are too overwhelming to ignore, you could have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which affects around 250,000 Brits. This condition is more common in women than in men.
According to NHS Choices, most cases of CFS are mild or moderate, but up to one in four people with CFS have severe or very severe symptoms. These are defined as follows:
Mild: you are able to care for yourself, but may need days off work to rest.
Moderate: you may have reduced mobility, and your symptoms can vary. You may also have disturbed sleep patterns, and sleep in the afternoon.
Severe: you are able to carry out minimal daily tasks, such as brushing your teeth, but occasionally you may need to use a wheelchair. You may also have difficulty concentrating.
Very severe: you are unable to carry out any daily tasks for yourself and need bed rest for most of the day. Often, in severe cases, you may experience an intolerance to noise and become very sensitive to bright lights.
If you’re still struggling to stay awake, follow these simple tips on how to fight fatigue – and win.
"We actually become stressed when we're dehydrated, particularly if alcohol is consumed, so aim for 1-2 litres a day; and cut back on caffeine which is an artificial form of adrenaline and can affect sleep patterns leaving you jittery and anxious - you should avoid caffeine altogether after 3pm." Sleep and Energy Coach at Capio Nightingale Hospital, Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan.
"Although many of us think we are eating healthy, that diet can make us fatigued. Most "healthy" meals are explained away as oatmeal for breakfast with fruit, lettuce with greens for lunch, brown rice with what ever for dinner. Those same people say they dont eat carbs. Let me make this quite clear..... fruits and vegetables and grains are carbohydrates. Start your day with a protein, eggs, cheese, yogurt, even almond butter and you wont crash thru out the rest of the day." Dr Eva Cwynar, author of The Fatigue Solution.
"Have a handful of nuts mid-morning and mid-afternoon, the most common slump-times, to provide a lovely hit of protein to balance blood sugar levels. Raid the snack bowl of almonds, or hazelnuts, then add a piece of fruit for natural fructose for a natural energy boost." Director of Vitality4Life, Ricky Hay.
"Coffee can actually help boost your adrenal glands (which are burnt out in most of us and the main culpret for fatigue). Coffee, yes, good but only 1/2 cup and only in the morning. Most than that or at a different time puts your hormones into hydharmony and then just like many recreational drugs, we want more and more and it becomes less and less effective." Dr Eva Cwynar, author of The Fatigue Solution.
"Don't stop moving! Make time to go and get some fresh air either for a run, jog or walk. Take full advantage of the sunnier weather and lighter evenings, wrap up to go outside and spend 5 minutes at the beginning of your day exercising and you will feel good for the rest of the day." Personal trainer, Khalid Ismail.
"Eat breakfast every morning within 30 minutes of rising to kick start your energy and metabolism and minimise production of adrenaline - it also helps burn any extra calories consumed during the day more efficiently. This will give you bundles of energy to tackle to day ahead." Sleep and Energy Coach at Capio Nightingale Hospital, Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan.
"If you're a busy, working mum or person, you'll only have feelings of disappointment and stress if you have high expectations of your day ahead. To alleviate stress and anxiety, try to accept the fact that things will go wrong. "Kids may have a meltdown, dinner may not come out as perfectly as you hope, people may demand your time. Being prepared for imperfection can help reduce everyday stress." Life coach, Sophia Davis.
"Recharge you batteries over by getting good rest and exercise, topping up good quality sleep with power naps if possible - research has shown that these naps re-balance the immune and nervous systems." Sleep and Energy Coach at Capio Nightingale Hospital, Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan.
"Green tea and ginseng tea are great energy boosters. Green tea contains antioxidant properties to fight free radicals." Health and Beauty Expert, Tina Richards.
"Stay away from artificial sweeteners. Sugar substitutes like stevia and zylitol are fine, even good for you, but compounds containing substances such as aspartame can ruin the integrity of your gut and create chaos. Digestion gets slowed, bloating occurs, bowel movements become chaotic and fatigue sets in. No diet drinks..... ever." Dr Eva Cwynar, author of The Fatigue Solution.