Updated: Feb 5
Do you feel tired all the time even when you have had a full night's sleep?
Are you dealing with afternoon energy slumps and relying on coffee to get you through the day?
Do you have sleep problems like difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep?
If you answered yes to any of the above, trust me you are not alone. It's one of the most common concerns from the clients I work with. We all have those days when we feel sluggish and tired but when those days become consistent and the norm it's time to get to the root cause and figure out if your hormones or gut health are contributing to your fatigue.
5 Common Causes Of Low Energy
1. Hormones/Hormone Imbalances:
Fatigue and difficulty with sleep could mean your hormones need some TLC. Here is a quick breakdown of how your hormones impact your sleep and energy:
High or Low Cortisol:
Cortisol is a hormone released from your adrenal glands to help with things like blood sugar balance, metabolism, and sleep. When you are dealing with dysregulated cortisol it can have you feeling wired and tired at night and make getting to sleep very difficult or it can have you waking up every night between 1-4 am.
Your thyroid produces hormones to help regulate your metabolism, body weight, energy levels, menstrual cycles and so much more. When your thyroid is sluggish, everything can feel off. If you are getting a good 8 hours of sleep, but waking up feeling exhausted it might be time to explore your thyroid health.
High or Low Estrogen:
Estrogen is one of the main female reproductive hormones. It helps you feel energetic and feminine. High estrogen (AKA estrogen dominance) can make getting good quality sleep very difficult. Dealing with night sweats, waking up in a puddle of sweat? Low estrogen could be at play.
Progesterone helps you feel cool, calm, and well-balanced. When it is at optimal levels, it helps you sleep well, have stable moods, and feel great overall. When progesterone is low it can lead to very disrupted sleep. Tossing and turning all night, night sweats?
Hormone imbalances are a big contributor to fatigue. Getting to the root cause of what hormone imbalance is at play and having a customized protocol that includes dietary, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations can make all the difference.
Your menstrual cycle also plays a huge role in how you feel. Post ovulation (2 weeks before your period) is typically when the female body experiences a significant dip in energy. This is due to the fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone. Being on your period also takes a lot of energy, so ensure you are supporting your body during these times with foods rich in iron and B vitamins (dark leafy greens, brown rice, fish, tofu, nuts, and seeds.
Prolonged chronic stress can cause key nutrients to become depleted and add to fatigue. Specifically, B vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium can all become depleted when stressed,
3. Nutritional Deficiencies & Poor Gut Health:
Nutritional deficiencies are common contributors to fatigue especially in those with gut issues and/or low stomach acid. Gut health issues can greatly impact your body’s ability to absorb essential b-vitamins which directly impact energy levels.
Also if your gut health isn't optimal it can lead to issues like candida overgrowth and leaky gut which can both deplete your energy.
4. Skipping Meals or Undereating:
When you skip or undereat, your blood sugar levels (insulin) will spike and fall and can eventually make you feel tired, moody, sluggish, and irritable.
Your daily habits can have a big impact on your energy levels. Things like prioritizing sleep, 30 min of daily movement, daily sunshine in the morning which helps to support your sleep and wake cycles, limiting the amount of caffeine you consume will all support increased energy levels.
Tips To Increase Your Energy
Ensure you include the right macronutrient balance. Protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Sugar and excess refined carbs can contribute to blood sugar fluctuations and impact your energy. To avoid the high and lows of fluctuating blood sugar levels that can cause your energy to crash limit the amount of sugar and refined and processed carbs you are consuming. If you need help with this check out the 10 Day Sugar Detox Program.
Opt for complex carbohydrates as they are digested more slowly and are better for overall health. Include plenty of whole grain, brown rice, leafy vegetables, and oats, which are also loaded with vitamins and other nutrients.
Protein is essential for the body to stay healthy, so add lean meat like fish and chicken. Legumes and nuts are also great sources of protein. Protein will help you feel satiated and will help support stable blood sugar which is essential for energy and healthy hormones.
Key Nutrients & Supplements
Although supplements can be helpful in improving your health and wellbeing they should only be used to supplement a good diet. I would almost always recommend starting with a whole foods diet rich in the following key nutrients:
If you have low levels of energy, you might be suffering from a deficiency of magnesium. Increasing your magnesium on a daily basis will help alleviate fatigue and sluggishness.
Include magnesium-rich foods like leafy greens like spinach and chard, hemp seeds, blackberries, raspberries, spirulina, dark chocolate, lima beans.
If you decide to supplement with magnesium be sure to take the correct form as they each offer different benefits. More on the here. Always check with a trained practitioner before taking any supplements.
Are a great source of natural energy. Include foods like salmon, leafy greens, eggs, and legumes.
Low levels of vitamin D can contribute to low energy. Vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin” - the body generates it when the skin is exposed to the sun. So make time to get outside each day. Include food like salmon, egg yolks, sardines, tuna, and leafy greens.
If you are experiencing symptoms of fatigue addressing the root cause will help significantly improve your energy levels.