You’ve conquered plow pose, you take stairs instead of elevators, and you keep up with your active toddler for hours. Sure you’re tired … but does it go deeper than simply feeling tuckered out at night? Constant fatigue that seemingly arises out of nowhere and persists for several weeks or months probably means your body needs extra help from the foods you eat and the daily choices you make.

“When I teach someone to bring good nutrients into their body, my job isn’t yet done,” says Ashley Koff, RD, author of Mom Energy (Hay House, 2011). “I also have to teach that the body needs to be able to break down those nutrients and get them where they need to go.” Numerous factors affect nutrient assimilation and energy levels, not the least of which is stress. According to a 2011 study by the American Psychological Association, 39 percent of Americans said their stress had increased over the past year, and 37 percent said their fatigue from stress had increased, too.

Address adrenals and thyroid

When the go-go-go lifestyle (including junk foods and poor sleep) becomes chronic, your adrenal glands—the grape-sized organs atop the kidneys—produce more of the stress hormone cortisol to help you power through. But when maxed-out adrenals can’t make enough cortisol to keep up with demand, that’s when adrenal fatigue may factor in. Although “there’s a wide gulf between mainstream and alternative practitioners regarding the existence of adrenal fatigue, the physiology of adrenal exhaustion resulting from chronic stress is well-supported,” says Robert Rountree, MD, Delicious Living’s medical editor. “I’m in the camp of doctors who believe it is a real problem, and I diagnose and treat it all the time.” Common symptoms, besides fatigue that’s not relieved by sleep, may include fuzzy thinking, dizziness, low libido, anxiety, and salty-food cravings.


The thyroid gland, closely linked to adrenal function, also influences your body’s energy and stress response by regulating metabolism, body temperature, sleep, and other functions. Hypothyroidism signs include fatigue, headaches, and sleep problems. If these symptoms mirror yours, ask your doctor to perform a cortisol saliva test to check for adrenal fatigue and to measure all three thyroid hormones: TSH, T4, and T3. Your practitioner can also rule out other more serious culprits, such as autoimmune disorders. Then reclaim your energy with these tips.