Do you wake up in the mornings feeling refreshed? Or are you one of those people who can’t remember the last time they got out of bed feeling really energetic? If so, you’re not alone because tiredness is common. But if you always really need that cup of coffee in the morning or are easily exhausted, something serious may be going on. And these are signs that should not be ignored.
Fatigue has a huge effect on our quality of life. What can you do to regain your energy and vitality?
What is fatigue?
Fatigue can be described as a lack of energy or motivation. It is caused by, for example, overburdening the body or a reduced ability to function physically.
Nearly all the cells in the body have their own ‘power plant’, the mitochondria. The mitochondria convert nutrients into energy. When this process is disturbed, the body becomes tired.
The causes of this disruption are diverse. Often, fatigue is caused by sleep problems, but stress is also a major factor. In addition, physical and psychological challenges, such as a shortage of nutrients or underlying conditions like diabetes, depression, anaemia, etc. can play a role.
Fatigue can manifest itself both physically and mentally. It may be that exercising or even climbing stairs is difficult for you. But you may also feel listless or sluggish.
As if your head is full and you have little desire to do anything. You might also be easily stressed, irritable or have difficulty processing stimuli. Lack of appetite may also occur.
Sleepiness may be part of fatigue, but not necessarily. Severe fatigue can make it difficult to carry out daily activities.
When should you visit a doctor?
Are you tired for no apparent reason and has this persisted for three months or longer? Or do you suffer from sudden, intense fatigue? If so, our advice is to contact your GP.
He or she can investigate whether there is a cause which requires treatment. This also applies if your fatigue is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
– Prolonged coughing that does not go away
– Loss of appetite
– Weight loss (for no reason)
– Pain (in the chest, headaches, muscle stiffness or muscle cramps)
Do none of the above apply to you? Or has your GP ruled out a medical cause? Then there are things you can start working on yourself to feel fit again. This is also possible alongside any treatment you may receive from your GP or specialist.
9 practical tips to increase your energy
1. Take stock of yourself
Look at 24 hours in your life and think about when you gain energy and when you lose it. Are you taking on too much? When do you set the bar too high? Do you dare to set limits? And is there enough room in your life for the things you enjoy? What makes your heart beat faster?
2. Get moving
Physical exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re tired, but regular movement is an effective way to generate energy. Choose something that suits you and that you can maintain.
Try to get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day. Going for a walk is a good start. Check out Ommetje by Professor of Neuropsychology Erik Scherder.
3. Get enough rest
Is your battery flat? Give your body time to recharge. Plan several moments throughout your day to simply sit still and breathe quietly or take a walk outside without a phone.
4. Eat healthily
Choose nutritious products with as little added sugar as possible. A stable blood sugar level is important to ensure good energy levels. Processed foods often contain a lot of sugar and – after a short energy peak – will actually make you more tired.
It’s better to choose fresh and unprocessed foods, such as whole grain products, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish. Try to work towards eating at least 400 grams of vegetables a day, preferably from all the different colour groups of the rainbow.
5. Drink enough water
Too little fluid can make you tired both physically and mentally.
6. Moderate your alcohol intake
It makes you sleep less deeply and prevents you from entering your restorative sleep phase. As a result, your body and mind cannot recover properly and you wake up tired. Don’t use drugs either and stop smoking. In return, your energy will increase.
7. Moderate coffee and other caffeinated drinks
Caffeine has a stimulating effect, but more than two cups of coffee (or other caffeinated drinks) a day can actually make you more tired.
8. Get a good night’s sleep
Your body recovers when you sleep. Not only the duration of your sleep is important (about seven to eight hours), but also the quality. To help you sleep better you can, for example, turn off TV, smartphone and tablet and dim bright lights two hours before bedtime.
9. Maintain a healthy weight
Try to lose weight if you are overweight and gain weight if you are underweight. Eat nutritious foods that provide your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals.
We are here for you
We can work together with you to identify any factors in your life that are making you fatigued. We can help you find a lifestyle that gives you energy and makes you feel good. Book a consultation with one of our doctors.