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Why Am I Always Tired? 10 Ways to Fight Fatigue

February 26, 2021

The reason why you are perpetually tired might come as a surprise. Keep reading to learn from health experts and doctors about how to fight fatigue and boost your energy.

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Get Enough Rest

Individual sleep needs vary, but medical specialists agree in general that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each day. A prolonged lack of sleep depletes your energy, of course, but it also decreases brainpower, ages your skin and puts you at risk for serious illness, says Dr. Amy Shah, the author of a new book, "I'm So Effing Tired." “Change your mindset from ‘the strong only need four hours of sleep at night’ to ‘I need at least seven hours of sleep tonight or I am at risk of overeating, being groggy, cranky and destroying my health and quality of life’,” Dr. Shah advises. Her list of tips for better rest includes: sleep in a dark, cool room; listen to meditation or relaxation guides before sleep; and avoid eating within three hours of bedtime.

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Get Moving

“If I didn’t have to get up and teach fitness classes every day, I’d probably be a total couch potato — or desk potato,” says Susan McDonald, a fitness and yoga instructor in Nashville. “Having a non-negotiable reason to overcome my natural inertia and hit the gym for two or three hours a day keeps me focused and energized.” When it comes to exercise, that could be true for most people, she believes. “The more we do, the more we can do; the less we do, the less we feel we can do.” The best way to make exercise a regular part of your life is to find something you love doing and look forward to it. “Walking, tennis, yoga, tap dancing, tai chi – every movement counts,” McDonald says.

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Bring Your Whole Self

Take a whole-body approach to fighting fatigue, Dr. Shah suggests. “Our hormones, immune system and gut are closely linked, and it’s very common for them to tip out of balance,” she explains. “The key to boosting your energy – and solving other health issues, to boot – is bringing these three systems back into balance.” What and when you eat, and how you balance your mind and body connection are key, she says.

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Eat Good Food at the Right Time

“Eat six to eight servings of vegetables daily – especially cruciferous and leafy greens,” Dr. Shah advises. Include prebiotics (onions and garlic, fruits, vegetables, legumes) and probiotics (yogurt, kimchi, kombucha and other fermented foods) to balance the bacteria in the gut. Incorporate lots of fiber and spices such as turmeric, ginger, black pepper and cardamom into your meals, Dr. Shah suggests. Avoid refined sugar and processed carbohydrates. In I’m So Effing Tired, Dr. Shah outlines a cycle she calls circadian fasting – eating only within a window that aligns with the body’s internal clock. Simply put, it means “getting bright light in the morning, darkness in the evening, and stopping your food so you’re eating your main meal when it’s light out, and very little when it’s dark out,” she says.

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