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Tired of being tired? Here's what you can do about it

Iron is a crucial element of a functioning diet.

DO YOU FREQUENTLY wake up exhausted in the morning despite a decent sleep?  

Or maybe you’ve been hit by post-lunch lethargy that sends you into a slump for the rest of the day. It’s a confusing and frustrating problem to solve – no matter how much caffeine you consume, you’re still close to dozing off at your desk. 

A lack of iron could be the reason why you feel tired all day. You may be aware that iron is part of a healthy balanced diet, but what is its connection to hitting the snooze button five times in the morning? 

The role of iron

Without getting too scientific, iron helps to make red blood cells, which transport oxygen around the body. Less iron means less oxygen in your body, which means you’ll be tired quicker. Pretty simple, right? 

Alongside the creation of red blood cells, iron is vital for a functioning immune system and metabolism.

redbloodcellsflowinginavessel3dillustration Iron is vital in the creation of red blood cells. Shutterstock / cones Shutterstock / cones / cones

As well as suffering from low energy levels, there are a few other telltale signs of iron deficiency. Your hair and nails may deteriorate and cracked skin can develop around the corners of your mouth.  

Once your body’s iron levels are depleted, you are more likely to develop anemia (the more exhausted you feel, the closer you are to developing the condition). Bouts of breathlessness and suffering from palpitations may arise too.  

Iron deficiencies

Missing out on some iron in your diet is not the sole cause of being iron-deficient. There are some other factors at play that affect your iron levels.  

For example, women are more likely to suffer from a lack of iron due to menstruation. According to the HSE, those who suffer from heavy periods are at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women can also suffer from low iron levels. Pregnancy and breastfeeding can significantly lower iron levels and further blood loss occurs during childbirth, placing greater strain on your iron reserves.

beautifulhispanicwomanexpectingababytouchingpregnantbellyyawning Pregnant women need more iron for their health and the health of their growing baby. Shutterstock / Krakenimages.com Shutterstock / Krakenimages.com / Krakenimages.com

Elsewhere, that third coffee you take to keep you awake in the afternoon might be more of a hindrance than a help. Drinking excessive tea or coffee can inhibit iron absorption from food. Certain compounds, such as the chlorogenic acid found in coffee, interfere greatly with iron absorption. 

Ironed out

The amount of iron you need per day can vary. The average requirements are 8.7mg a day for men (19-64 years), 14.8mg a day for women (19-50 years) and 8.7mg a day for women (over 50 years). 

Depending on your diet, you should be able to get enough iron naturally. Iron-rich foods include dark leafy greens, eggs, red meat and beans. Whatever your dietary restrictions, there should be an iron-rich option for you.

If you’d like to increase the amount of iron in your body, supplements are a great way of doing just that. Those with heavy periods and anyone who’s feeling a bit more run down than usual are especially advised to replenish their iron levels.  

Floradix is an example of a supplement you can use to increase your iron intake. Floradix liquid contains iron from ferrous gluconate which is a particularly absorbable form and it helps safeguard the balance of iron and vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12 and C. It contains no alcohol, preservatives, colourings or artificial flavourings and is lactose free and suitable for vegetarians.

profileofarelaxedwomanbreathingfreshairina Increased iron will lead to more energy to do the things you want to do. Shutterstock / Pheelings media Shutterstock / Pheelings media / Pheelings media

To ensure a happy, healthy life that isn’t interrupted by endless yawns, try to increase your iron levels.

Keep an eye out for any symptoms alongside fatigue. It’s always worth checking your diet, including how much tea and coffee you drink. If you notice an iron deficiency, supplementing your iron intake can let you enjoy your busy lifestyle without the need to head to bed early.

Should problems persist, checking in with your doctor or pharmacist is wise. 

Tired of being tired? Floradix Iron contributes to the reduction of tiredness and to the normal function of the immune system. 

Available from pharmacies and health stores nationwide.