Are you TATT?

Posted on June 10, 2016 by Eleanor McKenzie
Mature man having a snooze

I’m not being rude and suggesting that you might feel like ‘tat’. In this case TATT stands for Tired All The Time. Often we know the cause of a general lack of energy, but if it isn’t readily apparent, there are eight potential reasons you might be feeling TATT and most importantly what you can do to alleviate them. I must advise you at this point that if your symptoms continue and none of these culprits strike a chord with you, then it is in your best interests to consult your doctor.


The human body is designed to cope with dangerous situations and we can switch on this “fight or flight” mode at will. However, this mechanism was never intended to be used for long periods of time, just for short bursts sufficient to escape a danger. Now, many of us use it constantly in response to everything from late trains to workplace problems. We never take the brake off for enough time to allow our bodies to recover from overdrive and the result is a dramatic drop in energy.


Iron is necessary to produce red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body. A lack of iron produces lethargy plus sensations of dizziness and a racing heart. If you suspect you might be anaemic, boost your diet to include more green vegetables, dried fruit and iron-fortified foods. Never assume you have anaemia; ask your doctor for a blood test to check your iron level and discuss supplements and treatments with a medical professional.

Underactive thyroid

The thyroid gland in your throat area produces thyroxin that regulates metabolism and energy. Low levels of this hormone result in tiredness, weight gain, feeling constantly cold and dry skin or hair. This is not a condition that you can self-diagnose and it’s vital you ask your doctor for a thyroid test and discuss treatment options with them.


Handful of vitamins

A lack of Vitamin B12

Even if you have a healthy, balanced diet you may be deficient in B12. This water-soluble vitamin is an essential element in generating energy as it helps carry oxygen around the body. It is both absorbed from food and produced in the body, but it requires healthy flora in the gut to process sufficient amounts and as we age, our ability to produce it decreases. The best natural sources are salmon, eggs, liver and sardines, so vegetarians and vegans need to take extra care. A quality B12 supplement can really help here.

Type 2 diabetes

Unfortunately, as we know this condition is increasing in the UK population. High sugar diets and a sedentary lifestyle have contributed to many carrying an excess of glucose that the body can’t convert to energy because it exceeds the body’s insulin production levels. The result is a cycle in which even more glucose is produced, which is accompanied by symptoms of tiredness, extreme thirst and weight loss. Contact your GP for a test and modify your diet to remove as many sugar-laden and refined foods as possible. Excellent nutritional advice is available from Diabetes UK and trained nutritionists.

Sleep debt

Lack of quality sleep is one of the most obvious reasons for tiredness, but not always the easiest one to solve, especially as we age. Nightly disruption of sleep eventually builds up to a ‘sleep debt’ that your body struggles to ever repay. One of the keys to resolving it is keeping the bedroom a tranquil space that is well ventilated. Block out as much light and noise as possible, burn lavender oil to promote drowsiness and try taking a magnesium supplement which can also aid the body’s natural sleep function.

Excessive workouts

Exercise is great for our health but it’s best to do it in the morning or early afternoon. An evening workout raises the heart rate and pumps out adrenaline, making it more difficult to rest when it’s time for bed. Added to this, intensive gym sessions are draining – it’s better to keep exercise ‘mild to moderate’. An evening walk will boost your energy levels without tiring you out, and it’s also a good time for yoga, which calms the mind as well as stretching the muscles.

Not enough Vitamin D

The ‘sunshine vitamin’ is associated with energy levels and it affects serotonin levels associated with feeling lively and cheerful. Other symptoms of a deficiency are joint pains, a poor immune function, mood swings and low energy. One way to boost your vitamin D is to spend more time in a sunny climate, but if that isn’t possible, then a supplement could be the answer.

Feeling TATT takes the joy out of life and this is just a basic round-up of the most common causes. From stress to lack of sunshine, there are a number of simple ways to get your bounce back and put that ‘tiger in your tank’ again.

by Eleanor McKenzie

Eleanor McKenzie is a Northern Irish writer with a passion for art, literature, and red wine. She's worked at advertising agency JWT, edited a journal for a European social policy think tank and tried to teach teenagers the difference between "there" and "their". Being 50+ has not significantly changed Eleanor's life, although she finds it a handy excuse when she wants to avoid anything too energetic.