It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit sluggish when you get back to your desk after lunch, but if you describe the hours of 8am-10pm as “the ol’ midday slump,” there might be something off about how you’re taking care of yourself.
“If you find yourself more tired than usual and are wrestling with confusion around whether you're exhausted or just lazy, you'll serve yourself well to evaluate your daily routine,” writes Nutritionist Lisa Richards.
Unfortunately, there’s likely more than one factor contributing to your overall feeling of badness, and it’s up to you to sleuth out the root causes. So you don’t have to spend too much time playing Nancy Drew, we asked a few experts why you might be feeling so sick and tired all the time––here’s what they said:
1. You’re skimping on those ZZZs again.
It may seem obvious, but sleep (either not enough or too much) impacts your overall well being. Lack of sleep makes you feel irritated the moment you wake up, because your body doesn’t get a chance to enjoy the replenishment of cells that are produced by quality sleep. On the other hand, oversleeping can contribute to dizziness and a heavy feeling in your body and mind that make it hard to get through your day.
To reverse these common sleep missteps, I recommend waking up earlier every single day. It’s a hard reset, but the best place to start. As you start waking up earlier, your body will begin to require more rest and sleeping time. It will stop you from oversleeping, while helping you get to sleep earlier each night.
Jason Hughes, CEO / Head Coach, Vegan Liftz
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2. Stress isn’t something to be proud of.
Our current society glorifies stress. While it may seem like you are hyper ambitious and headed straight for the top, high levels of stress only bring you to one place––the hospital. In fact, stress brings more people to the emergency room than any other medical issue. Stress related illnesses range from heart disease and certain cancers to type 2 diabetes, back pain, depression, and a host of other ailments.
People who experience chronic stress are living with their "fight or flight response" turned on all the time, which drains their energy and can manifest as feeling tired or ill.
To address your stress management, talk to someone who can help you sort out where you feel overwhelmed. Your best thinking led you to this level of stress, which means you need to get the perspective of someone you trust and admire to help you develop some new strategies for getting your life back on track.
You are a whole person, and it helps to look at your life as a wheel to understand that each spoke (nutrition, physical fitness, mental health, relationship, finance, and your sense of purpose) contributes to your well being. If you want to improve your physical health, you must look at your mental attitude as well.
The best way to start is by not getting overwhelmed. Just a few small daily changes will help you increase your energy and feel better.
Lynell Ross, Nutritionist
3. We’ve told you before, and we’ll tell you again: DRINK WATER ALREADY.
Water is a vital part of body function and well-being, and most people don’t drink enough. Chronic dehydration leads to sluggishness, headaches, and constipation.
The easiest way to reverse this problem is to drink enough water for your body size and activity level. On average, you need 0.5-1 ounce of water per pound of bodyweight every day.
Dr. Jenna Liphart Rhoads, NurseTogether
4. Be kind to your immune system.
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5. It’s a seriously bad idea to neglect your gut.
Megan Swan, Megan Swan Wellness
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6. Sometimes it’s not what you’re doing, but what you’re not doing enough of.
The American diet has lost half of its vitamins and minerals in food processing. The average diet gets 80% of calories from sugar, another 18% from white flour, and then a good percentage of added low nutrients. This is the first time in human history that people are both obese and malnourished at the same time. Terrifying, right? Good thing there’s a remedy that will take only about a minute out of your day: a high potency B complex multivitamin can go a long way for anyone feeling chronically sick or tired.
7. Watch out for blood sugar.
Somewhere between 50% and 85% of American adults are estimated to have insulin resistance, which means they have excessively high insulin levels. This generally results from eating too much processed sugar and other processed carbohydrates (like sweets, soda, juice, white bread, white rice, potato products, etc).
When your blood sugar and insulin levels are out of whack, it can make you feel sick and tired a lot of the time. The solution to this is to reduce consumption of refined sugar and other refined carbs.
It may not make you feel great from day one (you should expect some sugar withdrawals), but after several days, you'll start to notice a significant Improvement in how you feel.
Blood sugar actually plays a role in immune function as well. People with diabetes are more likely to get infections, because high blood sugar leads to poor immune function. Reducing processed sugar and your carb intake will help your immune system function better, reducing your risk of bacterial and viral infections.
Ben Tanner, Physician Assistant, Fasting Well
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8. Beware the SAD Diet.
You might be feeling sick and tired all the time because, surprise!, you actually ARE sick and tired. An unfortunate side effect of our modern Standard American Diet (SAD, an appropriate acronym) is poor gut health. If you haven't heard it yet, our gut is often referred to as our second brain and for good reason.
Our gut and our brain are directly connected via a nerve called the Vagus nerve. This means that every message our gut receives from the refined carbohydrates, sugars, and other yucky foods we eat gets sent directly to our brains, affecting every function that occurs within our bodies. We become chronically inflamed as our systems work to figure out what in the world we're consuming, leading to chronic fatigue, irritability and mood disorders, chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune conditions, and more.
The good news is, YES, the damage can be reversed and you absolutely can optimize your health and reclaim your energy. How? By changing your diet! It's that simple. Focus on whole, healthy foods. Think: lots of veggies (especially leafy greens), high quality proteins, and healthy fats (our brains are more than 60% fat and every cell membrane in our body is made of fat...it's not the enemy!)
These changes made to your diet will, without question, support the proper functioning of your immune system. That chronic inflammation I mentioned earlier? That's your immune system at work! If the immune system is no longer focused on trying to "fight off" the inflammatory food particles it will be able to focus solely on fighting the ACTUAL viruses and bacteria that might pose a threat (COVID, anyone?).
Contrary to what you might hear, you can't actually "boost" your immune system. It is either working properly or it's not. However, you can support the immune system with healthy lifestyle and dietary choices. This is why it's of paramount importance to nourish your body with the right foods and ‘lots of them!
Skylar Buchanan, Holistic Nutritionist, Wellthy Life
9. Are you getting enough Vitamin D?
Low energy could be an indicator of a vitamin D deficiency. Nutrients are best taken in through diet, but supplements are effective as well. You may actually just be exhausted from deficiencies and need to make a few small changes to your diet.
A vitamin D deficiency significant enough to cause fatigue will likely need to be addressed through supplementation first. However, vitamin D rich foods should also be incorporated into the diet and include egg yolks, fish, mushrooms, liver, cheese, and foods fortified with vitamin D.
Of course, before beginning any supplement it is important to speak with your healthcare provider for clearance and to determine a dose that is safe for your unique needs.
Lisa Richards, Nutritionist, The Candida Diet
Packed with 235% of your daily dose of Vitamin D, KOR Shot’s Intense Defense can gear you up with the nutrients you need to feel better every day.
10. Ask your doctor to check for anemia.
While our diet can often be the underlying cause of our fatigue and why we're prone to exhaustion, untreated anemia may be why you tire so easily and simply feel lazy.
A little known fact is there are two forms of anemia: anemia and pernicious anemia. The anemia most think of when they hear the word is related to an iron deficiency, but pernicious anemia is rooted in a B12 deficiency.
This is especially true as plant-based diets become more common, which is not a bad thing, but can leave you sluggish, if you’re not eating a balanced, plant-based diet.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that works in just about every body system. A B12 deficiency can also lead to a type of anemia known as pernicious anemia. Any form of anemia can create chronic fatigue and supplementing with this vitamin can improve energy levels.
Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, Balance One Supplements
11. We know salt tastes great, but maybe cut back just a pinch?
Stick to whole foods and make meals from scratch instead of buying packaged and pre-processed food. More often than not, the sodium Americans consume doesn’t come from the salt shaker on your table. Even foods that are normally very healthy contain a lot of added sodium when they come out of a box, bag, or freezer. Avoiding these processed foods can make a world of difference in how you feel day to day.
Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD, Livin3
- Sweet Dreams: for more restful sleep
- Gut Check: for promoting serotonin-boosting healthy bacteria
- Vitality: for a quick dose of blood sugar stabilizing turmeric
- Intense Defense: to fight fatigue with vitamin D
Spark your best self by replacing all the things that make you feel bad with the things that make you feel good, like whole foods, supplements, self care, and of course, KOR Shots!