Fatigue is one the leading factors contributing to road crashes. It contributes to 20-30% of all deaths on the road and can contribute to 40-50% in certain crashes such as semi-trailers. (1)
Fatigue can be a killer! There are certainly different levels of fatigue, from short term to the long term chronic fatigue. Fatigue is four times more likely to contribute to workplace impairment (including driving tasks) than drugs or alcohol. Insufficient sleep is the number one contributing factor.
Do you feel like you drag yourself through the day and have to drink coffee to stay awake at work?
Do you get enough sleep?
The average adult should get an average of 8 hours good quality sleep a night. Good quality means falling asleep easily / within 10-20 minutes, with minimal wake ups to allow for deep and REM sleep. Whilst we are sleeping our body is busy going through a multitude of processes. It maintains a variety of functions which include healing and restorative functions for the body, emotions and mental self. It is also a memory restorative process.
Do you have problems with your memory?
Water… water everywhere…. But are you drinking it?
The first sign of dehydration is fatigue. I am surprised at how many of my patients do not drink enough water. Do you drink enough water? And does it get absorbed into the cells of your body? Wonderful water helps our body and in particular our cells to produce energy, along with certain nutrients. But this absorption is influenced by many factors such as how fast your drink your water, the pH (how acid or alkaline it is) and the nutrient / mineral status of your body. Water should be pure spring water with a pH of at least 7 or filtered and alkalised water. Most countries including Australia have nasties in the water such as chlorine, fluoride and sometimes certain metals such as lead and/or copper. Invest in a water filter and alkaliser such as ‘Wellness Filters’, ‘ Alkaway’ or ‘Waters Co. Australia’.
How much water should I drink ?
Try and aim at .0.3 of a litre for every 10 kilograms of body weight. For example if you are a 70 kilogram person you would need to aim at around 2.1 litres a day.
This can include most herbal teas without added sugar/sweeteners. Be aware that certain herbal teas can be diuretics. Some examples are dandelion and peppermint.
Sip your water slowly. Try and drink no more than a third of a glass at a time. If you drink quickly the water will not have time to absorb and you will just ending up weeing it out again!!
Eating for energy
There is a reason many people are turning to the paleo diet. It is devoid of processed foods which put stress on our digestive systems and deplete energy. Processed foods use a lot of energy for your body to process so therefore zapping our energy! Try and avoid processed foods such as anything packaged as much as possible.
Some general rules are;
- Eat protein at every meal to help stabilise blood sugar levels. This can include oily fish, nuts and seeds, organic/ free range eggs, and organic/free range meats.
- Eat a minimum of 3 cups of vegetables daily, preferably organic.
- Include raw nuts, seeds and healthy oils in your diet
- Avoid wheat (is too hard to digest) and keep other grains to a minimum (i.e.; rice, bread, cereals)
- Avoid sugar and other sweeteners such as honey, and artificial sweeteners
- Avoid coffee and other stimulants such as guarana as long term they make you more tired…
Nutrients for energy.
Do you always reach for the berocca or b group vitamins for energy? It is true they help with the production of energy, but minerals are usually overlooked. Magnesium is one of these, and 80% of the population have shown to be magnesium deficient. This macro mineral is involved in 100 different bodily processes! It nourishes the nervous system and help us get a better sleep.
Co enzyme Q 10 is the nutrient we produce in the energy centre of the cells – the mitochondria. As we age the levels of Co enzyme Q 10 we produce decline. It is also depleted by lifestyle factors such stress and caffeine intake.
So..…Are you burnt out?
Are you feeling symptoms of stress more often than not? These symptoms can include ongoing fatigue and exhaustion , anxiety or nervousness the, inability to concentrate, feeling mentally foggy, poor memory recall, unrefreshing sleep/ restless sleep or inability to get to sleep, craving salt, sugar and carbohydrates, depression and low mood, teariness, poor digestion, feeling rundown, being more prone to illness and infections.
Ongoing stress can cause fatigue as the adrenal glands can get overstimulated and tired. The adrenal glands are the small walnut sized glands which sit on top of your kidneys which produce our ‘flight and fright’ hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. The body does not differentiate between good and bad stresses. The thyroid gland can also be affected by ongoing stress and dysfunctional adrenals. The symptoms of an underactive thyroid can include fatigue, foggy head, poor memory, insomnia and unrefreshed sleep, weight gain, constipation, dry skin and changes in your menstrual cycle or menstruation.
Don’t reach for those stimulants!
Coffee depletes your adrenal glands leading to burn out. Other stimulants such as alcohol, chocolate/cocoa and refined starches have the same effect. All these stimulate your adrenal glands to produce more cortisol and the release of glucose but leads to a crash in blood sugar levels and cravings for more of the same.
Do you reach for sugar or carbohydrates such as bread, biscuits and pasta to give you an energy boost? You may very well realise it but the increase in energy is very shortly followed by a decrease in energy as your blood sugar levels drops. You may experience ‘reactive hypoglycaemia’ where after a carbohydrate rich meal there is a rapid drop in your blood sugar levels and you get certain symptoms such as fatigue, blurry vision, shakiness, dizziness, angry outbursts, sweating or weakness as your blood sugar drops too low.
I am too tired to Exercise….
Unless you have chronic fatigue, exercise has been shown to increase energy production in the body. Studies show that regular exercise boosts energy and reduces fatigue. A regular 30 minute walk a day will give you fresh air, more oxygen in your lungs, will boost your metabolic rate and the blood circulation to the brain. This has to be a positive outcome for you tired people out there…
Doesn’t sound like you? There are many other causes of fatigue;
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Leaky gut
- Small intestinal dysbiosis
- Malabsorption of nutrients
- Low stomach acid
- Prescription medications
- Workplace / home Chemical exposure
- Testosterone deficiency
Which I will be sharing with you in my upcoming blogs…..
But… I am too tired to start this….
Sometimes you will find you need a natural supplement to boost your energy to be able to start any lifestyle changes. I can offer you this support and if needed suggest tests you can have to find out the origins of fatigue.
CARRS-Q, State of the Road: Fatigue Fact Sheet, 2011