Acute fatigue is considered to be a normal part of life. Tiredness is well known to all of us and, if you are healthy, it is usually linked to a single cause, serves a protective role, and is alleviated by rest or simple lifestyle changes.
If such fatigue lasts six months or more, it is considered chronic and abnormal. Fatigue can be a stand-alone disorder unto itself that deserves evaluation and treatment, or it can be a prominent part of a variety of chronic disorders.
Whether your lack of energy stems from everyday stress or is an associated symptom of a larger health issue, at Integrative Psychiatry, treatment begins with improving your diet, activity levels, and ability to relax.
So, how can you increase your energy?
7 Tips to Increase Energy
Eat steadily, all day long
Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do for your body. When you’re hungry, your blood sugar drops, stressing your adrenal glands and triggering your sympathetic nervous system. That causes light-headedness, cravings, anxiety, and fatigue.
Don’t skip breakfast
If you start each morning with a good breakfast and “graze” healthfully every two to four hours, not only will your blood sugar will remain steady throughout the day but you’ll also feel more rested and energetic.
Eat protein with every meal
Eat Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice. Avoid sugar, junk food, white pasta, white rice, and white bread.
Absolutely NO Caffeine
Coffee and sodas overstimulate your adrenals and they deplete important B vitamins. Coffee does not give you energy; coffee gives you the illusion of energy. Coffee actually drains the body of energy and makes you more tired, because of vitamin and adrenal depletion.
Exercise to relax
Try walking, yoga, or stretching. Avoid vigorous or aerobic exercise because it further depletes the adrenal system.
Avoid alcohol, processed foods, and tobacco
Nicotine in tobacco, for example, initially raises cortisol levels, but chronic use results in low DHEA, testosterone, and progesterone levels.
Learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation.
How can I keep my energy level up?
To maintain high energy levels the use of natural supplements is helpful.
- Take a daily multivitamin to provide nutritional support to the adrenal gland.
- Vitamin C 1,000-3,000 mg a day
- L-Theanine 100-400 mg a day
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) 300 mg a day
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), no more than 1000 mg of glycyrrhizi
If these simple lifestyle changes don’t fully relieve your fatigue, neurotransmitter, hormone and adrenal testing can be done to help inform what other steps can be taken to relieve the fatigue.
Why am I always tired?
A growing body of research data strongly suggests that fatigue is caused by faulty regulation of your body’s stress system. In other words, fatigue and its related symptoms are the results of imbalances among your neurotransmitters, hormones, adrenal output, and immune function.
One theory suggests an increased ratio of serotonin to dopamine is associated with lethargy and feelings of tiredness. This is consistent with the clinical observation that serotonin-dominant antidepressants such as SSRIs and most SNRIs cause or worsen fatigue.
Another consistent research finding associated with fatigue is the low adrenal output of cortisol. Insufficient cortisol has been associated with increased inflammation, fatigue, sleepiness, pain, and malaise.
Fatigue has also been found to be related to over-activation of your “fight or flight” neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and epinephrine) and under activation of your “rest and digest” neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
As you can see, the nature of fatigue, with its many biological and behavioral aspects, is complex.