Tired all the time

Do you leap out of bed ready to face the day ahead, taking all that life throws at you in your stride? No? Well you’re not alone - ask anyone and they’re likely to tell you that at some stage of their life they’ve felt tired, really tired and had to drag themselves out of bed each morning, only to stagger through the day and then collapse on the couch at the end of it.


Some common symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Lack of motivation

  • Lowered immunity – frequent colds or infections

  • Muscle aches and joint pain

  • Poor memory and concentration

  • Neurological complaints such as irritability, depression and headaches

  • Changes in appetite


It may seem that fatigue is just a symptom of a modern busy lifestyle, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Lack of quality sleep and high stress levels (which often occur together) are one obvious cause of fatigue but thankfully there are a number of simple tools available to help you manage stress and promote restful sleep.


Other possible underlying causes that should be investigated if you just can’t seem to shake it include:


  • Nutritional deficiencies, particularly of iron, B vitamins and magnesium

  • Low thyroid function Low adrenal gland function – this is worsened by the use of stimulants such as caffeine and sugar

  • Chronic infection – such as Epstein Barr Virus (glandular fever) or candida

  • Low blood sugar levels – or more accurately, unstable blood sugar levels

  • Allergies – food or environmental


As with anything it’s best to start with the simplest solution and work your way from there; in most cases that first step is to look at diet, exercise and lifestyle. Are you getting enough sleep, drinking too much caffeine, eating poorly, not exercising enough or maybe exercising too much?


A varied diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods, with lots of vegetables, adequate protein and minimal sugar, caffeine and alcohol is the foundation of good health. For people struggling with their energy levels a B-group supplement and a magnesium supplement have been known to do wonders. Make sure you look for B vitamins at a dose in the region of 25-50mg per tablet. When it comes to magnesium, powdered supplements work well, partially due to their absorption rate over a tablet, but also because most good formulations contain other co-factors that are difficult to physically cram into the tablet. Look for a magnesium supplement that can easily provide 300mg of elemental magnesium per day, preferably one that is bound to citrate, aspartate or amino acid chelate (this will be on the label), and if possible, one that also has co-factors such as potassium, calcium, B-vitamins and vitamin C.


Exercise is essential for supporting our stress response, boosting the immune system and increasing energy levels – but too much or exercise that is too strenuous can have the opposite effect. If you are really exhausted gentle exercise and breath work is more likely to be the best exercise to start with. Gentle walking in the sun or outdoors in general and gentle yoga classes (i.e. not power or hot yoga) are ideal forms of exercise to help replenish our energy levels and negate stress.


Yoga poses that can boost energy include:


  • Sarvagasana (shoulder stand) – this helps to balance thyroid function and soothe the nervous system.

  • Any back bends will stimulate the adrenal glands and give a boost to your day. If you have trouble sleeping only do these early in the day. If you have adrenal fatigue other less stimulating and more restorative treatments are advisable.

  • Right nostril breathing – generates heat, energy, clarity and focus.


We often get so caught up in doing and trying to achieve that we may bypass one of the most calming and deeply beneficial yoga styles available: Restorative Yoga. Studies on women with breast and ovarian cancer (during and post treatment) found that regular restorative yoga reduced their anxiety and fatigue, improved their mood, sleep and overall quality of life. While there are no formal studies on restorative yoga and tired people, taking one class per week is very likely to be deeply beneficial.


Implementing all of these strategies should have you leaping out of bed in the morning; if they don’t then you may need to see a natural health care practitioner for individualised support.





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  2. Osiecki, H (2002), The Nutrient Bible: Everything You Need to Know About Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, Enzymes – Even Toxic Metals, 5th ed, Bio Concepts, Eagle Farm

  3. Haas, E (1992), Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet & Nutritional Medicine, Celestial Arts, Berkeley

  4. Braun, L & Cohen, M (2007), Herbs & Natural Supplements: An Evidence-based Guide, 2nd ed, Churchill Livingstone, Marrickville, NSW

  5. Mustian KM, Sprod LK, Janelsins M, Peppone LJ, Palesh OG, Chandwani K, Reddy PS, Melnik MK, Heckler C, Morrow GR, ‘Multicenter, randomized controlled trial of yoga for sleep quality among cancer survivors.’ Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2013 Sep 10; 31(26):3233-416.

  6. Danhauer SC, Tooze JA, Farmer DF, Campbell CR, McQuellon RP, Barrett R, Miller BE, ‘Restorative yoga for women with ovarian or breast cancer: findings from a pilot study.’ Journal of the Society of Integrated Oncology, 2008 Spring; 6(2):47-587.

  7. Danhauer SC, Mihalko SL, Russell GB, Campbell CR, Felder L, Daley K, Levine EA, ‘Restorative yoga for women with breast cancer: findings from a randomized pilot study.’ Psychooncology, 2009 April; 18(4):360-8.







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