You know the feeling: it’s like your limbs are held down by weights, you can’t focus on your work and all you want to do is put your head down and sleep – right here, right now! These are the signs of fatigue. Sometimes fatigue is warranted, say when you’re getting over the flu, or you stayed up all night preparing for a presentation. But what if you’re feeling exhausted even though you’re getting enough sleep? Check out these 5 surprising reasons you might be feeling sluggish and some handy tips on how to beat fatigue.
1. Food sensitivity
Food sensitivities can often manifest as fatigue. The most common culprits are eggs, nuts, gluten, dairy and soy. If you want to suss it out, try an elimination diet for 4-6 weeks. Then reintroduce the foods one by one (three days apart), observing your body’s reactions.
2. Vitamin deficiency
Vitamin deficiencies are classic causes of fatigue. If you are lacking in B vitamins or folic acid, the ability of your cells to generate energy will be compromised. Top up by eating fish, eggs, dairy, meat, fortified cereals or enriched rice or soy milk. Vitamin D is another big one to consider – it plays a huge role in energy production. Being inside all day and wearing excessive amounts of sunscreen can leave you low. Allow yourself to catch a few rays to ensure you’re getting enough of this important nutrient.
3. Iron deficiency
An iron deficiency can manifest in strange ways! Ever had cravings for ice, clay or dirt? If you have, don’t freak out, you probably just need some more iron! If you are vegan you need to take special care to get enough. Foods high in iron include meat, whole grains, beans, sunflower seeds, nuts, spinach and tofu.
Millions of people around the world have an underactive thyroid, often undiagnosed. The main purpose of the thyroid is to run the body’s metabolism, so if it’s not working properly you are going to feel sluggish! Hit up your doctor and they can test if this is something that could be affecting your energy levels.
It’s so easy to become dehydrated! Too much alcohol, excessive amounts of coffee and intense exercise are all culprits. You could be spending a whole lot of time in a state of mild dehydration! Make it a habit to keep a bottle of water on you everywhere you go, or commit to at least 2L a day!
Next time you’re feeling fatigued, instead of reaching for your sixth cup of coffee, ask yourself whether there could be an underlying reason? Try boosting your energy naturally or pop in to your doctor for some professional advice.