If just getting through the day exhausts you and sleep doesn’t help, it’s time to investigate.
Reason #1: Anaemia
If you’re anaemic either your red blood cells or haemoglobin levels are too low, meaning your body isn’t getting enough oxygen. The result is weakness and exhaustion. A simple blood test can diagnose this and quite often it’s due to an iron deficiency and can be corrected with supplements.
Reason # 2: Your thyroid
Weight gain, low mood and tiredness can mean your thyroid is underactive and not producing enough hormones. “Standard testing for thyroid function (TSH levels) has its limitations so it’s best to also get your iodine, zinc, selenium, iron and vitamin D levels checked, as these are also needed by the thyroid,” says Dr Enkelmann.
Reason #3: Food intolerance
Coeliac disease can present as tiredness, but it’s important to get tested for a real allergy by a GP or a trained dietitian before going gluten-free, says Dr Enkelmann. “For a positive test, you need to be consuming gluten daily for six weeks, and it should be supervised by a professional.”
Reason #4: Bad sleep hygiene
Sometimes you may have just have been burning your iCal at both ends, and self-care and some good quality sleep will fix things. “Some patients see me complaining of tiredness, yet are eating rubbish, partying hard, not prioritising sleep and doing no exercise,” says Dr Enkelmann. Not hard to see why you’re yawning.
Reason #5: Chronic fatigue syndrome
CFS can be tricky to diagnose and there is no definitive test for it. Symptoms include feeling abnormally exhausted after any type of exertion (say, doing the school run or a gym class) that can last for days, weeks or sometimes months. Find a doctor, who understands CFS and they can help with managing the symptoms.
Reason #6: Depression
It could be the emotional exhaustion of depression, a side effect of medication or not having the drive to exercise. “But it’s important not to overlook the cause creating tiredness and low mood together,” says Dr Enkelmann. She adds that in most cases, addressing diet, sleep, exercise and life concerns can make a real shift. Though sometimes nutritional and hormone treatments may be needed.
Reason #7: Sugar addiction
Intense sugar cravings can be caused by underlying issues such as PMT, thyroid problems, yeast/candida overgrowth, or just being so busy so you rely on sugary foods for quick energy. Try a sugar-quitting plan or ‘crowding out’ your cravings by eating more protein and good fats.