If you find yourself feeling sluggish mid-afternoon, struggling to stay alert throughout the day, struggling with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, or just plain exhausted, then it’s time for a change! Fortunately, here are three easy, affordable ways to fight fatigue — naturally.
Peppermint Essential Oil – One of peppermint’s most important benefits is that the strong smell of peppermint stimulates our senses. It enhances the focus of our thoughts and brain and can provide clarity to our thinking. The best way to use peppermint as an organic mental energy stimulant is to place a drop of oil on the nape of the neck and around the temples. Essential oil should be diluted with another oil before being applied to the skin. If you find that applying the oil causes a skin reaction, you may prefer to inhale the oil directly. NOW makes good essential oils and it is the brand I use.
Vitamin B-12 – Also known as the “energy vitamin,” B-12 is the most complex of all vitamins. It supports thyroid function and keeps blood cells healthy. If you’re vitamin B-12 deficient, one of the first signs can be lower energy levels. Because it’s a water-soluble vitamin, your body cannot store extra amounts of B-12 and relies on getting the vitamin from the foods you eat or supplements. The supplement I use is “End Fatigue Daily Energy B Complex” by Integrative Therapeutics.
- Adaptogenic Herbs – Adaptogens are herbs that support endocrine and immune functions as well as to defend the body from the ravaging effects of chronic stress. Adaptogenic herbs, often referred to as tonics, enhance the body’s ability to adapt to and cope with mental, physical, and metabolic stress. Healthy adrenal gland function is essential to many physiological functions including energy generation and immune response. Adaptogens are traditionally used to increase energy, enhance stamina, and reinforce the entire endocrine system including both the thyroid and pituitary glands. My favorite product is a mix of adaptogens called “Adaptogen” by Restorative Formulations.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder. It may cause a number of sleep problems including trouble falling asleep, waking in the middle of the night, or waking very early in the morning. It may also be a sleep that is not restful. Insomnia can be a short-term problem, or it can be chronic. Chronic insomnia lasts for more than 4 weeks.
Insomnia can occur for many reasons. Short-term insomnia is often caused by temporary situations or problems with the environment. They may include:
- A life crisis or stress, including the loss of a life partner, divorce, or loss of a job
- Environmental noise
- Extreme temperatures, such as a room that is too hot or too cold
- Change in the surrounding environment
- Sleep/wake schedule problems, such as those due to jet lag
There may be no clear reason for chronic insomnia. It may also be due to other medical or psychiatric conditions. Examples of conditions that can lead to sleep problems include:
- Heart disease
- Asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Sleep apnea
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or ulcer
- Chronic pain
There are steps you can take to improve your chance of a good night’s rest. You may be advised to reduce intake of certain items or avoid them to see if your sleep improves. You may be asked to:
- Reduce or avoid caffeine, especially late in the day.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol and avoid drug use.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, avoid doing so near bedtime.
- Avoid eating or drinking close to bedtime.
Your sleep habits can also affect how well you sleep. Steps that may help you sleep better include:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- If you must take naps, keep them short.
- Only use the bedroom for sleep or sex. Avoid watching TV or worrying in bed.
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature and dark. Minimize disruptions, such as pets.
- If you work at night and sleep during the day, make sure to block daylight from the room. Decrease the amount of noise. Use a fan to block out noise.
Some people use the herb valerian to reduce insomnia. Others take melatonin.
Quality sleep is essential to both mental and physical well-being.
Despite a vigorous search, scientists have not yet identified what causes CFS. While a single cause for CFS may yet be identified, another possibility is that CFS has multiple causes. Conditions that have been studied to determine if they cause or trigger the development of CFS include infections, immune disorders, stress, trauma, and toxins.
Various types of infections have been studied to determine if they might cause or trigger CFS:
- Epstein-Barr virus infection, also known as mononucleosis
- Human herpesvirus 6 infection, a virus that can cause problems for people with impaired immune systems, such as AIDS patients or organ transplant recipients taking immune-suppressant drugs
- Enterovirus infection, a type of virus that enters through the gastrointestinal track and can have no symptoms, mild flu-like symptoms, or rarely severe and even deadly symptoms
- Rubella, a viral infection also known as German measles
- Candida albicans, a fungus that causes yeast infections
- Bornaviruses, which cause borna disease, an infectious neurological syndrome
- Mycoplasma, a cause of atypical pneumonia
- Ross River virus, which causes Ross River Fever, a mosquito-borne tropical disease
- Coxiella burnetti, the agent that causes Q fever
- Human retrovirus infection, such as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, or xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV), a gammaretrovirus
The cause of CFS is unknown, but the condition may be related to infection with effects on the immune system. Several viruses have been studied as possible causes of CFS, but no cause-and-effect relationship has been discovered.