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Let’s Take a Look At Why Hundreds of Millions of People are Extremely Fatigued
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All right, so a couple episodes ago, we talked about the energy-drink crisis and how I think it’s the new drug of the 21st century, at least for a lot of teenagers and early-twenty something’s. Now, today we’re going to be talking about something I alluded to briefly in that podcast episode. It’s something I call the extreme-fatigue epidemic. I think I called it the energy epidemic in the previous episode. But today we’re going to be talking about this extreme-fatigue epidemic. It’s washing over our country—countries—like a tidal wave. It’s pretty intense.
I’ll show you how all this stuff relates back together, but first, I’m going to bring this new research that was done and reported in the May issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry to you, which surveyed more than ten thousand teens age 13 to 18 and found that about 3 percent of them reported having extreme fatigue that had lasted at lest three months and was not relieved by rest. Pretty crazy, isn’t that? Half of these teens also reported depression and/or an anxiety disorder. Now, doesn’t bode very well for anyone in that category.
Also, here’s the interesting thing. Only 14 percent of teens with long-term fatigue alone received any type of treatment for emotional or behavioral symptoms in the previous year. Those with depression and/or anxiety in addition to long-term fatigue were more likely to have received care than those with fatigue only or with depression or with an anxiety disorder only.
According to this, there are two key points to be taken from this study, which I quote from the researchers here that say: “Extreme fatigue that continues even after rest and interferes with adolescents’ ability to participate academically, socially, or at home is a pathological condition, yet it’s not being recognized and treated.” What does that mean?
When they say “treated,” my concern here is that, again, these are doctors speaking, so we’re thinking about this is a medical condition. “You don’t have energy? Well, it’s because you are deficient in this drug that we’d like to give you.”
Now, this is…as I’ve talked about, one of the reasons I wrote Eating for Energy a couple years ago is because, for me, having energy is one of the top priorities in my life. If you’re sluggish and tired all the time, it sucks. Believe me; I spent 24 years of my life in that state.
The last ten have been awesome. Just way more energy; so much more of my life; you can get so much more done. You know. If you don’t have the energy you want, you know how much each day is work. You’re getting out of bed, and it’s just, “Oh my God.” It’s so tough to get out of bed, then to make it through the morning, you’re just like, “Ugh.” And then after lunch you feel like falling asleep at your desk; you might have to take a nap if you’re in school.
You go to bed at night, you wake up in the morning. You’re sleeping eight to ten hours, whatever; you don’t fee refreshed. You don’t have enough time to play with your kids when you get home from work. You don’t want to do anything but lie on the touch. I’ve been there, trust me. So, if you feel that, I can relate to at least some degree to what you’re going through.
When I see stuff like this, when I see research that comes out like this, it’s scary because we’re seeing this as a common thread, a common occurrence: Younger and younger and younger, we’re seeing problems with obesity, diabetes; now extreme fatigue, which you would think only affects people in their midlife—thirties, forties, fifties—who are busy with work, kids, all that stuff. It just kind of wears them down. Now we’re seeing this with kids 13 to 18.
Again, why is this happening? I would be very interested to find out. I remember seeing a documentary—I don’t know if it was a documentary or special on TV on one of these channels, whether it was 60 Minutes or CBC, I can’t remember. They were interviewing kids about the use of caffeine—and we talked about this in the previous episode—and the fact that there was so much pressure on them to succeed from their parents.
I don’t know if that’s what’s happening here, but who knows? There are so many, we all know parents who are, like, crazy, overburdening with their kids, they’re hard-core you have to succeed, you have to be the best, all this stuff. It’s very detrimental for the kids, leading them to all sorts of different types of behaviors.
Again, if you have kids who are tired all the time, above and beyond the nutrition stuff, I would try to identify are there some other emotional things that are just sucking the life out of them? Are there things that they’re scared of, they have anxiety over or whatever it is?
Address that first, then look at the nutrition. For me, when I was growing up, most of it was nutrition-related; very poor diet, as I’ve mentioned before. A lot of processed foods; very few fruits and vegetables. And when I changed that, my energy levels went through the roof. So, if it’s as simple as making a couple nutrition changes for you or your kids, then that’s great.
Again, the way to do it is, if you don’t have Eating for Energy program, go to UltimateEnergyDiet.com, grab it. I guarantee, it will change your life. It is so simple to apply and so powerful in its effect.
Again, I get a lot of people that say, “What do you recommend for this, this, and this?” Honestly, invest, get the program; it’s incredible. There’s a lot of wisdom in it, there’s a lot of nutrition knowledge that you need to know about, and there’s a ton of recipes that you can enjoy in less than ten minutes that will boost your energy and keep it elevated all day long. It’s not like a one-hour energy fix like you get from coffee, but it’s a sustained energy, and it’s not this roller-coaster ride. UltimateEnergyDiet.com is where you can grab that.
In the meantime, again, things we need to avoid: the caffeine, right? It’s very, very important to avoid the caffeine because it’s going to drain your adrenal glands; it’s going to suck the life out of them over time; it’s going to wear them out.
Secondly is: Reduce sugar consumption. I didn’t talk about this in the previous episode, but sugar and caffeine have very similar effects on blood sugar, so because caffeine stimulates epinephrine—epinephrine breaks down stored sugar—so it releases sugar into the bloodstream and therefore depletes your energy more rapidly. It also elevates your blood sugar so you get this release in insulin. Insulin stores sugar, so you get this up-and-down blood sugar roller coaster, and then the same thing happens with the ensuing insulin response. Sugar does the same thing.
Sugar and caffeine, as far as I’m concerned, are lumped into the same category. They’re both stimulants; they both have very similar effects in the body; they both affect blood sugar; they both affect adrenal glands in the same fashion. You need to remove those two substances from your diet. I cannot say that enough.
What do you replace that with? Well, as I’m about to do, I’m going to have a sip of water here. Drink more water. A very simple thing to start with. Drink more water. Most of us are dehydrated; we’re walking around like dehydrated zombies. If you drink more water, that’s a great place to start.
First thing in the morning, take a huge glass of water and drink it. Midday, again, on an empty stomach, take another glass of water, chug it. You can sip on water throughout the day, but if you have set times where you just have a big 500 ml glass of water or a liter of water just sitting there and you know that 11 a.m., I’ve got my liter of water; I’m just going to shoot this back.
If you get into that kind of routine, you’re going to feel more energized because now your body’s hydrated. And when your body’s hydrated, it’s able to function normally so you don’t get the slump in energy, you don’t get the headaches and all that stuff.
So, I just thought I’d bring this extreme-fatigue epidemic to your attention; it’s running rampant. There are some very simple solutions to it, at least from a nutritional perspective. And at the same time, we also want to be looking at improving the quality of our sleep. I’m going to give you a very simple solution to better sleep: Go to bed and wake up at the same time seven days a week. Very simple.
That’s probably one of the most tried-and-true ways of bettering your sleep and normalizing your circadian rhythms, because if you get into a habit where you go to bed, let’s say, at ten o’clock and you wake up at seven, first of all, that gives you nine hours of sleep, which is awesome; second of all, your body is able to regulate its hormones and circadian rhythms more effectively because it’s going through the same pattern every single day.
The worst thing is for nurses and shift workers and flight attendants who are on different schedules, different time zones. That stuff wreaks havoc on your health, so you need to find some way of getting consistent with your sleep habits. And sleep in a room that is completely pitch-black.
I don’t know where we got the idea that kids are afraid of the dark. They’re probably afraid of the dark because when they’re very young, we had a night-light in their room, and then, obviously, if you take the night-light away, it’s very dark and they’re scared. With our kids, there’s no night-light. It’s pitch-black from the day they were born. They’re not going to complain that they’re scared of the dark if they don’t know any different.
The reason that’s important is that if there’s light in the room, that’s going to upset melatonin production in your brain when you sleep, and that is going to obviously disrupt how restful your sleep is. You need to be sleeping in a pitch-black environment during that sleep to get into REM, to get into deep sleep, to really get that rejuvenating sleep that you need. There cannot be any lights. If you have lights, put on a sleep mask, and make sure nothing’s coming in. Pitch-black, all right?
Go to bed and wake up at the same time, pitch-black sleeping environment, and the nutritional recommendations I made. That should get you started and hopefully, if you’ve got kids in this situation, apply this with them, and hopefully, they do not become the next number in this extreme-fatigue epidemic.
What do you think about this? Let me know over at the blog, SuperNutritionAcademy.com/blog. Leave your comments, leave your whatever, and don’t forget to grab your copy of “The Big, Fat Food Lies Report: 7 Nutrition Myths that are Keeping You Sick, Fat, and Frustrated.”
Until then, thanks for joining me. I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.
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