Fatigue: Causes and Steps to Jumpstart Your Energy
Fatigue is a serious problem in our American society. Morning fatigue is characterized by tiredness, lack of energy, or lack of motivation that is present in the morning, but let's be real - it often continues on throughout the day.
Wait - there's GOOD NEWS! You can fight off that morning fatigue and enhance your energy naturally.
What Is Fatigue
We all have our own definitions, but typically it's seen as tiredness, lack of energy, or lack of motivation. Fatigue may be physical, mental, or both.
Now MORNING fatigue is feeling fatigued in the morning after you wake up (many of you with thyroid issues experience this quite a bit!) and often it drags on throughout your day making life more difficult. Now each person's fatigue can be quite different. You may describe YOUR fatigue as, feeling run down, tired, exhausted, drained, weary, unmotivated, or simply having low energy.
Your level of fatigue may be low, moderate, or intense.
Did you know: 20% of Americans experience intense fatigue that interferes with the quality of their lives?
Ya'll, when fatigue becomes chronic, it can seriously interfere with your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being - take it from someone who has experienced it personally a few times. This is why it’s really important that you understand the main cause of fatigue and some effective solutions.
Main Causes of Morning Fatigue
1. Poor Quality Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disruptions
Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep seems obvious right? We all know that sleep is incredibly important for your health and well-being, especially since during sleep is when our body heals!
Ideally, you want to get 7 to 9 hours of high-quality sleep. When your sleep is short, interrupted, and irregular, it disrupts the entire system. When you are going to bed at random times, you are disrupting your natural circadian rhythms that may make good sleep difficult even if you allow time for it. When you are not honoring your body’s need for sleep or health issues prevent you from sleeping well, morning fatigue is an almost inevitable consequence.
2. Blood Sugar Problems and Morning Fatigue
You know how much we talk about sugar and processed foods here and are probably familiar with the quick energy you may feel after a little sugar, and the sugar crash and sudden fatigue that follows it. Blood sugar problems may be one of the culprits behind your morning fatigue.
Why? Well, your body produces insulin in your pancreas to help break down glucose and use it for energy. However, if you are eating TOO much sugar, it is difficult for your body to keep up. If you have diabetes, your body either can’t use insulin well or it doesn’t make enough insulin necessary. One of the main signs of diabetes is fatigue, along with extreme hunger or thirst, frequent urination, dry skin, and slow healing wounds.
When you are constantly exposing your body to stress, aka chronic stress, you end up depleting your metabolic output, resulting in changes to cortisol output, affects on DHEA, melatonin, and epinephrine levels, which as a result typically leads to fatigue! Plus, it's harder to get quality sleep when your body is stressed!
4. Dehydration and Lack of Exercise
We talk about this frequently too - hydration and regular exercise are both incredibly important for your overall health and healthy energy levels. Ideally, you want to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of clean water a day, more if you are exercising, sick, or living in a hot climate. For general health, you should aim to get 20 to 30 minutes of movement five days a week and generally stay active.
Here's the thing: If your body is dehydrated, your body cannot pump enough blood to your heart and brain. It will have to work harder and harder taking off energy. As a result, you may experience fatigue and lethargy. Not moving enough can lead to poor circulation that results in fatigue. When your body is stagnant, your body becomes weaker, less energetic and you are less motivated to move! I know it's hard some days, but get up and go for even a short walk!
5. Thyroid Issues
Oh that pesky thyroid! Hypothyroidism is a condition that affects 20 million Americans. If you have hypothyroidism or the autoimmune disease Hashimoto's, your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones resulting in a variety of health issues. One of the main symptoms of hypothyroidism is fatigue. Other symptoms may involve weight gain, feeling cold muscle pains, depression, poor memory, and hair loss. Please get tested by your doctor if you feel you have these issues!
So what CAN we do to increase our energy levels?
1. Get that good quality sleep
There are a few things I've learned about sleep over the past couple years - make sure your room is dark (use dimming lights right before bedtime), cool (I started using this cooling mattress and has made SO much of a difference!), free of devices and electronic lights.
2. Focus on Gratitude & Prayer
Fatigue often involves emotional and mental fatigue, not just physical fatigue. A change in your attitude, mindset, and emotional state can elevate mental fatigue and consequently may reduce physical fatigue as well. Remember, your mind and body are all connected. Having a gratitude practice is one of the best ways to shift your mood.
When you are in a state of gratitude, you can’t experience negative emotions at the same time. If you experience morning fatigue, the best thing is to start your day with some gratitude and prayer. Focus on gratitude throughout the day. Acknowledge the small good things in your life. Keep a gratitude journal and jot down 3 to 5 things you are grateful for each night.
Yes, this is a non-negotiable for your overall health and healthy energy levels. After a good night sleep and not drinking for 7 to 9 hours, you wake up dehydrated. To combat morning fatigue, it is important that you rehydrate your cells right away. I always start by chugging minimum of 16 oz of water - usually with some lemon and high-quality sea salt to keep electrolytes in my system. If you don't have time or like to add those in, try LMNT electrolyte flavored packets.
4. Get Moving Early in the Day
Daily movement for your body is SO important for energy levels! Movement increases blood flow and circulation. It reduces your stress levels and mental fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Do you know what moving that sweet little body of yours does too? It helps your sleep cycle allowing you to feel energized during the day and get rest at night! Double bonus! AND you can (and should) make your daily movement/exercise FUN! Like get a mini trampoline, dance, maybe you got it in you to do some heavy lifting. I always recommend getting in your movement as early as possible so you don't procrastinate. You can always add in bonus movement, like evening walks with your family too!