There’s no set definition of exhaustion, but it is a more severe version of tiredness. Everyone is tired before bed, early in the morning, after particularly difficult exercise or when they’ve been focussing on something mentally tough for too long, but you shouldn’t be exhausted all the time. Express.co.uk chatted to nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr from biohacking platform bioniq to find out why your tiredness could be a sign of something more serious.
Changes in Mood
Exhaustion or excessive tiredness can impact your mental health and mood as much as it affects your body.
Clarissa said: “Have you noticed your mood is swinging a little more than usual? Are you having feelings of detachment, anxiety or even depression?
“If the answer is yes, then these could be triggered by exhaustion.
“When we are tired, we have less energy to respond to stressors, which can lead to heightened emotions and responses.”
If you have noticed these feelings have lasted more than a month, Clarissa recommends reaching out to your local GP.
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Still tired after eight hours of sleep
You need to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night for your body and brain to function properly.
If you get enough sleep every night but you don’t feel refreshed or energised and still feel sluggish, you could have a problem.
Clarissa said: “Additionally, if you are not getting enough shut-eye because you are having trouble falling asleep, or if you do nod off, but find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, then this can contribute to your feelings of exhaustion.
“Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep, but poor sleep is a common problem. It can cause stress, which in turn can affect your energy levels and mood.”
The expert advises introducing some sleep hygiene practices in order to optimise your sleep, such as avoiding caffeine too late in the day, reducing electronic use at night-time and downloading blue light blocking filters, as well as incorporating stress management into your bedtime routine.
Changes in weight
If you have dramatically gained or lost weight alongside your tiredness, you are probably exhausted or may have another underlying problem.
Clarissa said: “A bad night’s sleep can affect our weight, and when our bodies and minds are exhausted, we may find that our appetite changes as well.
“For some, cravings for energy-rich foods increase as a response to a lack of energy. These energy-rich foods tend to be fast-acting carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine, and long-term consumption of these foods can lead to weight gain.
“Conversely, if you are constantly tired then you may find that your appetite decreases, which can lead to unwanted weight loss.”
Visit your GP to discuss the problem and rule out other conditions such as an underactive thyroid, which can lead to weight gain, fatigue, lowered mood and brain fog first.
Clarissa added: “Check your thyroid markers such as TSH and T4 and rule out nutritional deficiencies that might be affecting your hunger and satiety.”
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If you are regularly experiencing brain fog, your brain is exhausted!
Clarissa explained: “When your brain is exhausted, it becomes harder to think, reason and focus.
“Brain fog goes beyond the occasional tip-of-the-tongue feeling and is often a collection of symptoms including loss of clarity, memory changes, poor focus and concentration.”
The nutritionist suggests getting tested if this lasts for more than a couple of weeks as brain fog can be the result of an underactive thyroid, hormonal imbalances, gut health conditions and nutritional deficiencies.
Changes in hair and skin
One of the most obvious signs of exhaustion is changes to your hair and skin.
Clarissa said: “With exhaustion, we may find that our skin becomes more dry, sullen or prone to breakouts and that our hair may thin and begin to fall out.
“If your exhaustion is stress-related, this may fatigue the adrenal glands which produce many of our sex hormones.
“A change in sex hormones, specifically DHEA and Testosterone, can lead to a change in hair growth.”
Checking for nutritional deficiencies can rule out any underlying issues that might be causing your exhaustion and will allow you to supplement based on what your body requires.
Clarissa recommends getting tested for bioniq BALANCE supplements, which are daily supplements containing up to 80 vitamins and minerals you need based on a blood test.
She said: “With routine testing, bioniq BALANCE can track your progress and amend the formula so that your body is receiving the exact nutrients it requires – taking away all the hassle and guesswork.”