The nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping and many of us are starting to feel less energetic - I know I am! Fatigue is something we all struggle with at some point in our lives, and dealing with it regularly can cause real distress - particularly when despite your best efforts, you just cannot seem to improve your tiredness levels.
When this happens, some of us worry that there is an underlying cause. However, in my experience, it is rarely medical issues that cause fatigue. A few issues - diabetes, an underactive thyroid or anaemia can all be excluded by your own doctor if your tiredness is unexplained and persistent.
If your fatigue is started to get you down, then there are a number of things that you can do right now, to tackle your exhaustion:
Being overweight can be one of the biggest causes of tiredness, especially if associated with sleep apnoea - a condition where sleep is constantly interrupted by snoring, resulting in excessive sleepiness during the day. Losing weight could help to give you more energy, and by filling your body with healthier foods, you're likely to feel much more energetic in general.
Get a caffeine boost
Caffeine is often demonised as an addictive drug that should be avoided wherever possible. In actual fact, in moderation it can be a useful pick-me-up, can improve physical performance and appears to have health benefits too - it may improve mental performance and reduce the risk of Alzheimers and diabetes. Just avoid it after lunch as it takes time to clear from the system and may affect your sleep.
Hit the gym
How often do we feel so exhausted that we would rather hit the sofa than the gym? However, we know that if we do make the effort, we are re-vitalised. Studies show that exercise increases our energy in many ways - from building up muscles to boosting our mood and self-confidence.
Say no to sugar
Avoiding sugar wherever we can will do wonders for our energy levels. The rapid boost it provides is then followed by a slump as our blood sugar levels plummet in response to the hormone insulin that is released when we eat sugar. Much better for energy levels is to have slower burn energy sources - protein, fats in moderation and complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains.
Up your Omega-3 intake
Omega 3, found in oily fish has been shown to help sleep and improve mental concentration. However, high levels of omega 6, found in processed foods (cakes biscuits etc) as well as dairy, can compete with omega 3. Try to redress the balance by cutting down on processed food and eating oily fish or seafood 3 times a week (or using high quality supplements if you aren't a fish lover).
Being under stress throws your hormones out of kilter. Those fight-or-flight hormones cortisol and adrenaline are supposed to provide a short-term reaction to help you deal with potential danger - not be switched on all the time. Not only does stress interfere with your sleep but it can affect your digestion, heart, weight, memory and mood.
Turn it off
More and more evidence is showing that our addiction to screens - computer, TV, phone etc. are affecting our sleep and general well-being. Not only do we find it difficult to switch off if we have been working or surfing the net late into the night - but the bright light affects our melatonin levels, throwing our natural circadian rhythms way off course. No wonder studies show that people sleep badly after excessive screen time in the evenings. Back to the hot bath and cocoa pre-bed routine!
With a few simple changes to our daily habits we can boost our energy levels and approach Christmas firing on all cylinders!
If you're looking for help in creating a healthier lifestyle, then why not try our Vavista Programme.