Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Dr Angelica L Dumapit on June 14, 2022

Tired All The Time? Best Tips For Managing Low Energy Levels Without Caffeine

We could all benefit from improved energy levels throughout the day. However, another cup of coffee isn't always the answer. Here's what to do instead if you feel tired all the time.

Tired all the time min scaled

If you have low energy levels or feel tired all the time, then reaching for more caffeine that dehydrates you may work against you.

Additionally, not everyone can ingest caffeine due to certain medications or underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.

In this guide, our experts provide tips for using TCM and other natural therapies to boost energy levels without caffeine.

Is It Normal To Be Tired All The Time?

Staying up late trying to get work done can cause you to feel tired all the time.

An increasing number of people are exhausted these days. In fact, according to the National Health Service (NHS), constant exhaustion is so common that the condition has its own acronym: TATT, which is short for “Tired All the Time.” 

Many people stay up late trying to meet the demands of their busy schedules. This has led many people to depend on coffee or energy drinks, which contain caffeine.

Caffeine has been dubbed “the world’s most widely consumed legal psychoactive drug.” Just like some types of drugs, caffeine can cause addiction, although it’s rare to overdose from it. Even so, there have been cases of death related to the overconsumption of energy drinks. 

Why Am I Tired All The Time?

At times, exhaustion may appear without explanation. It may go on for long periods of time, despite getting adequate sleep.

When the tiredness gets too overwhelming, it is referred to as fatigue, and it may be a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Here are several reasons you might feel tired all the time:

Anemia

Fatigue can come from a lack of iron in the blood.

Sleep apnea or snoring

When someone has sleep apnea, they will find it hard to breathe while resting. Also, they will stop breathing in the middle of sleep and this will cause them to jolt up.

This cycle is often repeated, so they will not get adequate rest. This is why they’re so sleepy during the day. As a result, they wake up often during the night and feel tired during the day. 

Underactive thyroid

When the body has too little thyroid hormone, it will feel tired easily. This is because the thyroid hormone affects energy expenditure of the body, so lacking thyroid energy will cause one to feel tired easily.

Celiac disease

Being tired is one of the symptoms of celiac disease, which is caused by the immune system’s negative reaction to gluten. Why? Because celiac disease will not allow you to properly digest your food and causes malnutrition that leads to no energy and fatigue.

Chronic fatigue syndrome

A long-term illness signified by extreme tiredness, chronic fatigue syndrome sometimes goes undetected. You can help narrow down the cause by asking your doctor to run blood work.

Diabetes

Feeling tired all the time is a symptom of type 1 and 2 diabetes. Just like celiac disease, when you are unable to have proper nutrition, you’ll have fatigue and no energy.

Glandular fever

This common viral infection also results in fatigue. 

Depression and anxiety disorders

Depression and anxiety can suck your energy out of you and keep you awake at night, making you feel tired constantly. 

Restless leg syndrome

A type of sleep disorder, this syndrome disrupts your rest. The poorer the sleep quality, the more tired you get. 

Why You’re Tired All The Time, According To TCM

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, these three things may explain why you feel tired all the time:

  • Weak Spleen and Kidneys: In TCM, the Spleen turns the food you eat into nutrients for the body. Meanwhile, the Kidneys manage growth and general well-being, as they are thought to be the organs generating Qi (vital energy).
  • Working too much: Too much work can drain you physically and mentally. 
  • Unbalanced diet: Consuming an unhealthy, unbalanced diet can harm your digestive system

Together, the three factors above can deplete your YinYangQi, and Blood, resulting in fatigue. 

What To Do If You Feel Tired All The Time

Besides sleeping more, there are some activities you can do to help you improve your energy levels: 

Eat smaller meals more often

Instead of consuming big meals a few times a day, eating and snacking regularly every three to four hours is recommended. Furthermore, TCM suggests avoiding cold drinks as well as fried and oily food. 

Exercise

Exercise in the morning when cortisol levels are highest to improve productively throughout the day and ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

Working out can give you more energy and make you lose any excess weight in the long run. Moreover, it can help to ease the mind and reduce stress. 

Add therapy to your wellness routine

Along with exercise, you can eliminate stress, depression, and anxiety by talking it out with a trusted therapist.

Stay hydrated

Sometimes dehydration causes fatigue. Choose water, and not caffeine, other energy drinks, or alcohol, to keep yourself hydrated. 

Take energy-boosting supplements

These vitamins may increase energy: 

  • Vitamins B6, B9, and B12: To deliver oxygen, the body requires vitamins B6, B9, and B12. Deficiencies of the three vitamins can lead to anemia.
  • Magnesium: Thanks to its neurological and neuromuscular functions, magnesium is known to fight fatigue and lethargy.
  • Vitamin D: A lack of vitamin D has been known to cause fatigue, weakness, depression, and impaired cognitive performance, among other symptoms. 

TCM Remedies To Try If You Are Tired All The Time

Western medicine can sometimes be combined with TCM treatments for a better result. TCM physicians can prescribe herbs, tuina massage, or cupping to fight fatigue, depending on how the condition affects the body. 

These herbs may be able to help if you feel tired all the time:

  • Korean red ginseng: This herb is suitable for people who are tired from always being on the go. It helps with lack of energy, fatigue, a busy work life, and those who get sick easily.
  • Lingzhi mushroom: This mushroom improves sleep quality and Blood circulation.
  • Chinese wolfberry (Gou Qi): A great source of antioxidants, Chinese wolfberry or goji berry also benefits the eyes and reduces anxiety. 
  • Wild Chinese yam (Shan Yao): This herb has also been proven helpful in aiding the digestive system
  • Pure Cordyceps: Cordyceps is a medicinal mushroom that helps improve vitality and general health.

Final Thoughts On Feeling Tired All The Time

In some cases, TCM physicians may recommend acupuncture to relieve exhaustion. Alternatively, you can massage these acupoints yourself 20 to 30 times a day: 

He Gu LI4 is located on the dorsum of the hand, between the 1st and 2nd metacarpal bones. It is said to strengthen Qi and immunity. 
  • He Gu (LI4)
Bai Hui DU20 is located on the top of the head, along the midline of the human body. It lies approximately at the midpoint of the line connecting the apexes of the two ears. It is believed to enhance mental functions, settle the nerves and stimulate Qi.
  • Bai Hui (GV20)

Many rely on caffeine to boost energy because it is fast and convenient. However, you now know that there are plenty of other quick solutions to beat fatigue, whether by healthy snacking, exercising, drinking water, or taking vitamins. To ensure better effectiveness, you can combine them with TCM remedies.

All in all, there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to boost your energy, so no matter how busy you are, always remember to get enough snooze. 

This is an adaptation of the article, “How to Boost Energy if You Always Feel Tired,” which first appeared on the Eu Yan Sang website. 

References

  1. National Health Service. 2018. Sleep and Tiredness.
  2. New Scientist. 2021. Caffeine.
  3. National Health Service. 2018. 10 Medical Reasons for Feeling Tired.
  4. National Health Service. 2018. Self-help Tips to Fight Tiredness.
  5. National Center of Biotechnology Information. 2020. Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence.
  6. Medicine. 2016. Effect of vitamin D3 on self-perceived fatigue.
  7. Science Direct. 2021. Treatment of cancer-related fatigue with ginseng: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
  8. Journal of the Endocrine Society. 2019. Thyroid Hormone Action and Energy Expenditure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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