Many of us find ourselves asking the dreaded question: Why am I always so tired? Constant exhaustion takes a toll on our bodies and our mood, and it can sometimes be a symptom of a larger medical issue. But what happens if you check out perfectly healthy with your doctor, but still can't seem to shake that sleepy feeling? You may need more than an energizing coffee, experts say.
Why am I so tired all the time?
We often blame fatigue on our busy lives, but a new study suggests that 83 percent of women who are feeling tired all the time actually have an undiagnosed nutrient shortfall. If that sounds like it might be you, here are the best all-natural ways to correct it.
1. Take B12 if your memory is foggy.
At least 40 percent of us are deficient in vitamin B12, a nutrient essential for both energy production and memory formation, reports the Journal of Biomedical Science. The best sources of B12 are meat, cheese and other animal products — yet this nutrient is difficult to absorb from these foods after age 50, when digestive enzyme production naturally drops, says study co-author Anvita Kale, Ph.D.
Energizing Rx: Taking 1,000 mcg. of sublingual (the kind that melts under your tongue) B12 daily can give you the energy, stamina and brain function you had 10 years ago, often within one month, Tufts University research shows.
2. Go for choline if your blood sugar is creeping up.
Tell-tale signs that your level of this essential, yet seldom-discussed nutrient has dipped too low? Chronic tiredness, carb cravings, hunger pangs and other signs of high blood sugar, since choline energizes your nervous system, plus it heals and strengthens your insulin-producing pancreas.
Energizing Rx: Eating two large eggs daily erased choline deficiencies for almost every woman studied — boosting their energy and lowering their blood sugar in about six weeks. Prefer a supplement? Try taking 425 mg. to 500 mg. daily.
3. Take vitamin D3 if you get the blues.
Often feel tired, plus prone to blue moods? Your body could be craving the "sunshine" nutrient vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 helps your brain make hormones that improve moods, reduce stress, and keep you feeling upbeat and energized, says Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of Real Cause, Real Cure.
Energizing Rx: Soak up 20 minutes of sunlight — without sunscreen — and your skin will make all the D3 you need for happy moods and all-day energy. Or simply take a 1,000-IU to 3,000-IU supplement daily.
4. Take magnesium if you're a restless sleeper.
During the daytime, magnesium prods your brain to produce energizing beta waves. At night, this mineral increases your production of the sleep hormone melatonin. No wonder Duke University researchers say daytime exhaustion and difficult sleeping are red flags of a magnesium shortfall.
Energizing Rx. Taking 400 mg. of magnesium daily could cut your tiredness in half or more, plus help you sleep more soundly within one week, British research suggest. Eating 1/2 cup of nuts and two cups of leafy greens daily — two great sources of this mineral — will also work.
Supplements aside, a good old-fashioned solution to feeling tired is to get more sleep. Here are five easy tricks to get the best sleep of your life: