5 ways to fight tiredness

Feeling run down? Stop tiredness in its tracks with these tips.
Published 4 October, 2023

Cream-crackered? Step away from the biscuit tin! These expert tips will help give you a sugar-free energy boost.

When you’re feeling totally wiped out, it’s easy to reach for a comforting, sugary snack. What you should really be looking for is an answer – why are you so tired, anyway?

1. Feeling run-down? You’re not just sleepy – you might be ill

WW magazine expert, GP Dr Naomi Potter, says: ‘Tiredness is a common symptom of being run-down – if you help your body to avoid catching colds and viruses, with a healthy diet and exercise, your energy will improve.’

Perk up:
Get your vitamin-C fix with fresh orange juice or citrus fruit, such as satsumas, for an immunity boost – or fill up on zinc-rich lean chicken and prawns at lunch to give your system a tune-up. You could also give walking a go: some studies show that just 30 minutes of brisk walking a day can help reduce the number of colds you catch.

2. Too busy to be tired? You’re frantically fatigued

Nutritional therapist Liz Tucker says: ‘Stress uses up a lot of energy. Rushing about pumps your body with cortisol, the stress hormone, and causes that crash-and-burn feeling.’

Perk up:
Work relaxing activities into your day, such as a long bath or a stroll through the park. Facing a new challenge? Ask yourself if you can do it – and, if you want to do it. If the answer isn’t ‘yes’ to both, say no.

3. Feeling ‘blah’? You might need a dose of sunshine 

Research by Newcastle University has found that vitamin-D deficiency can cause an energy slump – and with Brits spending an estimated 93 per cent of our time indoors, experts say up to 50 per cent of us could be missing out on vitamin D, the ‘sunshine vitamin’.

Perk up:
Tuck into oily fish and eggs for a vitamin-D boost in autumn and winter, or check in with your GP to see if a supplement might be right for you. Skip al-desko dining and take a mental break at lunch by getting outside for a quick walk.

4. Post-lunch slump? You need a meal makeover

Even if you’re getting enough sleep at night, heavy meals can zap your energy. Researchers in the US found that eating high-fat meals can make you want to hit the snooze button during the day.

Perk up:
Make sure your meals are well balanced, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, lean proteins, wholegrains, and water. Combat the afternoon slump by making room in your Points budget for a mid-afternoon healthy snack, such as yogurt, fruit or nuts. It’ll stop hunger pangs and keep you from indulging in high-sugar snacks.

5. Too wired for bedtime? Do the digital detox

Sleep expert Sammy Margo says: ‘Flashing images from laptops and phones before bed can leave you feeling wired. This disturbs REM sleep – the type that helps your body repair and rejuvenate.’

Perk up:
Avoid anything that emits ‘blue light’ – that’s TV, the iPad, or your phone – for an hour before bed. Read a good book or wind down with a bath instead. Check out our 7-step digital detox plan for more ways to cut down on your screen time.