Have you ever told your medical professional – I am so tired, I’m suffering from exhaustion, and they reply ‘that’s normal for someone that is (insert new mother, working professional, commuter, etc).”
If you find yourself dragging yourself out of bed, using coffee or caffeine drinks to keep you going, or wanting to take a nap under your desk mid-afternoon – this is not normal.
Exhaustion isn’t Normal
Fatigue is one of the medical conditions that is so non-specific to any particular condition that it is often pushed aside because it takes work to find out why you are tired, which is certainly different then why the person at the desk beside you is holding their eyelids open with toothpicks.
Some of the usual culprits that are blamed include:
- Working too much
- Too much stress
- Poor eating habits (content or frequency)
- Low iron
- Low vitamin D
- Low vitamin B12
All of these will definitely impact your body fatigue levels but there are also a host of things that are often never considered. This blog gives you a snapshot of five other possibilities…
Reason #1: Hydration
This isn’t just about drinking water, although that is super important, but are you actually missing the electrolytes in your body that keep things going. Mineral electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium support endurance and energy levels throughout the day.
Before you go reaching for a sports drink – keep in mind that these drinks are filled with sugar, which can actually cause you to crash further. Click here for a homemade electrolyte drink you can make ahead and take with you to the office. Want to know more about water hydration and fatigue click here.
Reason #2: Low ATP
You may remember ATP from high school science class – the most important thing to remember about it is that it is the fuel that is responsible for energy in the body. Its like running a car with an empty gas tank, it certainly isn’t going to perform to expectations and may actually crawl to a slow stop along your journey.
Your body makes ATP through some complicated cycles in the body which involve adding and removing nutrients. If you are lacking in these nutrients the cycle will just stop. Feel like you’ve hit a wall? This may be that your ATP production is slowed right down and your body is yelling at you to stop.
Reason #3: Toxicity
When you look out the window of your condo or car you may see a thin layer of dirt covering it. It seems like everything is clear but the second the window is washed its like a whole new world is displayed bright and full of life. Toxicity in the body is sort of like that dirty window. When it creeps into your life slowly you sometimes don’t notice it is there, but as soon as it is gone it’s like a whole new body.
We get exposed to all kinds of toxicity – some people are genetically predisposed to absorb more, and some people just don’t detoxify well. Toxicity can be in the form of car pollution (from sitting in the endless traffic), airplane travel over head, living close to a highway or busy street, living in or near a construction site, drinking water from old pipes, living or working in an older building, living near a golf course or park that is sprayed with pesticides and so much more.
We can’t avoid toxin exposure in the 21st century, but we can make sure to clean our windows regularly, ensuring that it doesn’t build up.
Reason #4: Adrenals
Maybe you’ve heard about adrenal fatigue or adrenal exhaustion. Your adrenal glands are small (the size of walnuts) and sit on top of your kidneys. They are responsible for your ability to fight or flee a situation as well as regulate our ability to deal with stress. The more stress the more these little walnuts are squeezing out hormones to help our body deal with the threats whether they are physical or mental.
Just like anything you use over and over again without refilling these precious gems they run out of steam. When you adrenals are low, your energy is low, you probably will also notice a few other things happening in your body, some of the common symptoms include: weight gain around the middle, adult onset acne, hair falling out more quickly then usual, inability to feel energized in the morning… Want to know if your adrenals may be the culprit, click here.
Reason #5: Sleep
You’ve probably read all about the need for dark spaces, no electronics and appropriate levels of sleep, but it doesn’t always fit everyone’s lifestyle.
Whether your most creative time is at night, you have children, you work nights, or whatever your challenge may be there are always ways to help you get better quality sleep. Research actually tells us that it isn’t about the number of hours you get, but about the quality of sleep you get in those hours. That is why some people seem to soar on little sleep and others feel like they are moving mountains when their sleep gets cut short.
One of the contributors to better quality sleep are neurotransmitters – these are the hormones in our brain that help us to calm our brain and fall into deep sleep.
Ready to Reclaim Your Health!
Need to figure out if you are burned out? Check out our burnout scale and find out…
The Author, Christina Carew, is a naturopathic doctor who practices strategic medicine in Toronto. As a medical investigator she focuses on finding the biomedical reasons for symptoms that are often unique to each patient. She helps her patients remove the obstacles that stand in the way of living a healthy vibrant life. Christina focuses on empowering patients to make informed decisions on their health journey.
Note: This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed health care worker.