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The Missing Ingredient: Why Are You So Tired?

Stress increases inflammation and impacts everything from your brain function to your weight
The Missing Ingredient by Gwen Johnson

It’s common that people will tell me they wake up feeling exhausted, but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s normal.

So what’s going on? Let’s start with the obvious, which is…

Inadequate sleep.

Some people don’t prioritise sleep because they don’t think it’s important, they’re caught up in the hustle mentality, or their actions don’t support getting adequate hours of quality sleep.

However, when you sleep your body is actually hard at work optimising your health, brain and immune function, healing itself, and restoring its natural hormone and chemical balance.

Sleep is non-negotiable, ideally we’re getting seven to nine hours.


This can be from what or how we eat, ongoing stress and anxiety, lack of movement or sleep, or toxin overload.

Living in a continued state of even low grade inflammation can put ongoing pressure on your immune system to such a degree that you feel wiped out on the regular. It’s like packing around an invisible bolder that’s on fire and then wondering why you feel exhausted.


Many of us aren’t eating for energy, and more of us are eating for inflammation!

We drink three cups of coffee before we have breakfast then grab a muffin. Have a sandwich for lunch while multitasking, eat donuts and smash another cup of coffee at 3 p.m. because we’re punched, and then grab something quick and easy for dinner.

This puts your body on a wild ride of energy peaks and valleys – which is exhausting!


The continuous yet normalised load of stress, anxiety and overwhelm will drain you of every ounce of energy you have and leave you completely exhausted and burnt out. I’m not even being dramatic even though it sounds like I am.

Our body isn’t designed for unrelenting stress, and it’s a widespread issue with a reported 75 per cent of North Americans feeling they’re dealing with an unhealthy amount of stress.

Stress increases inflammation and impacts everything from your brain function to your weight, with many of my clients reporting an inability to fall or stay asleep due to stress, anxiety and worry…

And we wonder why we’re tired.

If you want to learn more or have a question, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

Gwen Johnson, FMCHC, is a Certified Functional Medicine Life Coach, podcast host for The Missing Ingredient with Gwen, and Telus StoryHive host of The Missing Ingredient Cooking Show. Find me at: