If you find yourself counting down the minutes to bedtime as soon as you wake, yawning your way through the working day and struggling to stay awake on the journey home, you are not alone. As many as one in five of us feel unusually tired at any one time.
If you feel constantly fatigued, you will know that carrying out even the simplest of tasks can be difficult. Your quality of life is diminished as you struggle to enjoy your usual activities, such as playing sports, reading a good book or spending time with loved ones. To resolve your problem, you first need to determine its cause. To help you, here are five energy-sappers that may be to blame:
1. Lack of sleep
It may seem obvious but lack of sleep can have a disastrous effect on your energy levels. The amount of sleep you require varies depending on age, lifestyle and health. Just because six hours of sleep has sufficed for you in the past doesn’t mean it will be all you need forever. If you suspect you are not getting enough sleep, try to change your routine by winding down and going to bed earlier or setting your morning alarm later. It may be useful to stop watching television, using computers, phones and tablet devices and finish any work you’ve taken home well in advance of bedtime to improve the quality of your sleep.
Five reasons you’re tired all the time
2. Poor diet
Not eating a balanced diet can lead to many problems, including tiredness. It is important to get the right quantities of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals if you are to feel at your best. Try to get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and eat starches, such as potatoes, pasta and bread, for slow-release energy. Avoid quick fixes like caffeine and sugar as once the temporary energy boost has subsided, you will end up feeling even more tired. If you think you are not getting enough of a particular vitamin or mineral, you may want to visit your GP to arrange a blood test to find out if you are suffering from any deficiencies.
3. Exercising too much or too little
Excessive exercise can cause you to feel drained but so too can getting too little exercise. Assessing your activity levels relative to your diet can help you to determine if you are overdoing it or need to move about more. If you are just starting to exercise after a long period of time, build up your activity levels gradually to avoid exhaustion. It is recommended that healthy adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.
4. Drinking too much
Too much alcohol can leave you feeling sluggish and struggling to focus the following day. If you regularly binge drink and often exceed 2-3 units per day if you’re a woman or 3-4 units a day if you’re a man, consider reducing your alcohol intake. Not only will this help you to boost your energy levels, but it will also improve your overall health. If you are concerned about how much you are drinking or are finding it difficult to cut down, you should seek the advice of your GP.
5. Health conditions
There are a number of health conditions that can leave you feeling worn out. If you find yourself tired, gaining weight, being sensitive to the cold, and depressed for no apparent reason, you may have an underactive thyroid. If you are lethargic, short of breath, pale and experiencing heart palpitations, you may be suffering from iron-deficiency anemia. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes also includes extreme tiredness, as well as needing to pass urine more frequently and losing weight unexpectedly. These conditions need to be diagnosed and treated by a GP, so if you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should book an appointment.
If you are experiencing pain from an illness or long-term condition, such as sciatica, joint pain or arthritis, you may find that your sleep is interrupted more regularly. To make life easier, you might want to consider investing in a orthopedic bed. Adjustable Beds provide a range of adjustable beds which utilize cutting-edge cyclo-therapy systems which can help to relieve a range of health conditions that can spoil your sleep and interfere with your energy levels.
According to a new diet book, eating more soup is the secret to staying slim.
As Fiona Kirk, best-selling author of diet books, So What The F**k Should I Eat? Eat Live & Lose The Flab and now Soup Can Make You Thin, explains:
“[Slim people] know that a tasty bowl of soup fills them up, crushes cravings, keeps them energized for hours and is hard to beat for good all-round nourishment.”
What’s more, adds Fiona Kirk, sticking to soup can mean shifting those stubborn pounds in as little as 10 days.
So is this really something new or just the cabbage soup diet in disguise? Most certainly not, says Fiona Kirk, who goes on to expound the virtues of variety – as long as it’s soup.
Fiona Kirk says: “There are as many reasons why some of us struggle to lose weight and others don’t as there are varieties of soup to choose from but increasing evidence shows that the main stumbling blocks to getting slim and staying slim are hunger, cravings, diet boredom and lack of essential nutrients.
“Soup is simply a miracle in a bowl for fat loss. The combination of water and solids fills you up more effectively and for longer than if you eat exactly the same food but drink the water separately – plus the water and water content of the vegetables in soup allows for efficient exchange of nutrients into body cells, greatly reducing the possibility of bloating.”
In short, not only does soup keep you slim, but it keeps your nutrient levels topped up too – a double whammy of benefits according to Fiona Kirk.
“The wealth of ingredients in a bowl of soup provides a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats as well as the vitamins and minerals required to create energy and keep us firing on all cylinders,” she said.
“Vegetables which are always in evidence in soup provide good levels of fibre to keep digestion in good shape and make getting our five a day a no brainer.
“And, soup is easy on the pocket, quick to make, widely available, easily transportable and diet boredom won’t be on the cards as the choices are endless.”
Fiona Kirk’s Soup Can Make You Thin claims that eating more soup is the secret to staying slim
What’s more, adds Fiona Kirk, you won’t risk dropping the ball at breakfast because, surprise surprise, soup happens to be a brilliant choice for breakfast too.
Fiona Kirk says: “Breakfasting on soup might be alien concept to many but once you have tried it you may never again want to run out the door on just a slice of toast!”
Luckily for those worried about getting soup fatigue, there are 26 different soup recipes in Soup Can Make You Thin, split into three categories.
SuperSkinny Soups are for when you want to lose flab fast, Skinny Soups for continued fat loss and FatBustForever Soups for when you are close to your goal and want to maintain your new lean look.
There are also plenty of recommendations about which ready-made soups to choose off the shelves and when eating out.
And, if you want to see rapid results look no further than the Flab Fighting Soup Diet which should see you losing around 10 lbs in 10 days with barely a cabbage leaf in sight.
Fiona Kirk’s top tips:
• Choose soups rich in protein or add protein toppings to keep you nourished for longer while keeping the calorie count low.
• Add healthy fats such as olive oil to fill you up, keep you energized and stem cravings.
• Eat soup before bed for a restful and restorative night’s sleep.
• Make soup your snack of choice to avoid energy slumps during the day.
• Include herbs and spices in your soups to fire up your metabolism and cut down on salt.
Mike Lean, a Scottish nutritionist, has teamed up with an entrepreneur to produce what they claim are the first nutritionally balanced pizzas.
The pizzas are said to contain 30% of an adult’s guideline daily amount of vitamins and minerals.
They are also said to have a third of the recommended amount of calories, protein and carbohydrate.
The pizzas were created by Mike Lean, of Glasgow University, and businessman Donnie Maclean.
Prof. Mike Lean, of the university’s human nutrition department said the idea was born out of frustration.
He said: “If you go along to a supermarket or a restaurant and buy a meal, then somebody should have thought about it nutritionally.
“We’ve recently studied ready meals produced by the top five supermarkets in Scotland – common foods eaten in huge numbers – and they’re hopelessly unbalanced.
“They contain as much salt as you should have in a whole day or more. They contain as much saturated fat as you should have in a whole day or more. The nutrients we need every day are absent from these meals. Nobody has thought about it. So I got together with Donnie to try to do this.”
Nutritional pizza developed by Prof. Mike Lean and Donald McLean is said to contain 30 percent of an adult's guideline daily amount of vitamins and minerals
Donnie Maclean helped Prof. Mike Lean come up with unusual ways of incorporating more nutrients into a pizza.
He said: “I researched the market and found that seaweed was an interesting new ingredient being used in artisan bread.
“So we used that as a way of reducing the salt level. The sodium content of seaweed is about 3.5% compared to 40% in salt. There’s iodine in there, vitamin B12, all sorts of things. And the flavour is excellent as well.”
Red pepper is also mixed in with the tomato base to give the pizza extra vitamin C. As well as these nutrients, each pizza contains magnesium, potassium, folates and vitamin A.
“The way the guidelines are set out, you have 20% of your nutrients and calories from your breakfast, 30% from your lunch, 30% from your dinner, and an extra 20% for snacks,” said Donnie Maclean, the founder of Eat Balanced.
“We focused on pizza being a lunch or a dinner option. Each pizza gives a complete meal, with all the nutrients in it, for 30% of your day.”
A survey by Mintel suggested seven in 10 British adults eat pizza, with forecasters predicting the market will be worth £1 billion ($1.6 billion) by 2016.
“For a good number of years I have been trying to help people find easy ways to get a balanced diet,” said Prof. Mike Lean, who is also a consultant physician at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
“The easiest way to do that is to eat nutritionally balanced meals. Three of those a day and you’ve done it, but at the moment commercially prepared meals are not nutritionally balanced.”
One major British supermarket chain has already indicated it will stock the healthy pizzas, and Donald Maclean is in talks with other supermarkets and catering suppliers.
The pizzas will only be available frozen as tests revealed the nutrients were better preserved that way, and Prof. Mike Lean and Donald Maclean said they had to work hard to keep prices down.
“Our pizzas are more expensive than most of the frozen pizzas but on a par with the chilled pizzas,” said Donald Maclean.
“So it shouldn’t be a hard pill to swallow, or a hard pizza to eat.”
The pair now has other junk food classics in their sights.
They are already testing a recipe for a nutritionally balanced curry and, after that, they’re planning to tackle fish and chips.