Is Inflammation the reason you are always tired?
It seems like everyone is tired. Tired and busy. I mean when was the last time you said to someone, or yourself for that matter, "I feel fantastic! I am so well rested, not tired, bright-eyed and ready to take on the day"! Everyone gets tired, tried from an emotionally draining week at work, tired from running around after the kids, or tired from trying to keep up with doing ALL THE THINGS. Usually, a good night's sleep can fix that feeling of being tired, but what if even after a good night's rest you are still feeling tired? This fatigue can show up as everything from waking up and still feeling tired to poor concentration and focus and maybe even a lack of motivation to get things done. If you cannot tie that tiredness, that chronic fatigue, to physical exertion, then inflammation might be the cause.
I know so many women who have told their doctor about how tired they are only to hear it's related to age, or that you are doing too much, or that everyone is tired and that's just life. I hate hearing stories of people and how this makes women feel dismissed. It might be possible that your fatigue is party caused by low grade chronic inflammation.
People with autoimmune conditions certainly have chronic inflammation and often report fatigue. Even if you don't have an autoimmune issue, you could still experience that inflammatory fatigue. Is it possible that an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle could help with your fatigue? You bet. I have experienced it myself and seen it in so many other people.
So, what are some things you can prioritize?
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet: This means focusing on healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, salmon, and nuts and seeds (if you don't have a sensitivity). Choosing healthy protein is essential and making sure you get enough protein is key. Incorporating other foods with anti-inflammatory nutrients and compounds can also help to reduce inflammation. Opt for leafy green veggies and berries which have higher levels of something called antioxidants and polyphenols.
Identify your unique food sensitivities: Food sensitivities can show up in different ways, even as issues you had no idea were connected to food. Some common things that could be caused by food sensitivities include skin rashes and eczema, hair loss, acne, gas and bloating, constipation or diarrhea, brain fog, joint pain and headaches. Food sensitivities can also be a source of fatigue. If they are contributing to that low grade inflammation, your sleep can suffer.
Fixing your sleep cycle: Yes, getting a good night's sleep and doing so consistently can have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Sleep is our time for rest and digest and when the body detoxes and works on repair. Fixing your sleep cycle might really help with fatigue, that much you probably already know, but what are some things you can do to get started? Working on your circadian rhythm can help with your sleep cycle as well. Try getting some sunlight as early in the morning as possible, and limiting screens at night. If you are on your screen, consider wearing bluelight blocking glasses. Blue light from screens and TV's decreases our production of melatonin and tells us it's time to stay awake--right when you are trying to go to sleep! Consider trying the 1-2-3 routine before bed:
avoid stimulating work 1 hour before bed
avoid phone screens 2 hours before bed
avoid eating 3 hours before bed
And, just a note that if you think fatigue might be tied to a medical condition, seek the help of a health care professional.
Wondering what your level of inflammation might be? Check out this quiz to find out!