Why Do I Feel Tired During a Cleanse? Common Side Effects of Detoxing

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People new to detox might be surprised when, during their cleanse, they start feeling slightly under the weather. This makes sense: detoxing is healthy, so it should make you feel healthy, right? So, why do I feel tired during a cleanse? Are headaches more frequent while I’m detoxing? If detox is so good for me, why do I feel bad?

Luckily, there’s an answer to all of these questions.

Yes, you will experience a few side effects when you start to detox, particularly if you have a lot of toxins and pollutants in your body. That’s because your body has to work extra hard to expel these harmful substances, especially if you’ve been living unhealthily your whole life. Think about it: your body was trained to think that junk and toxins were the norm; so when you start to detox, your body goes into a form of mild shock when it’s bombarded with all these nutritious foods, essential vitamins minerals, and exercise (don’t forget exercise y’all). Your body will start to resist this shift into a healthier lifestyle, manifesting that resistance with fatigue, anxiety, headaches, and a bunch of other mildly uncomfortable things. Don’t worry though, that’s only at the start.

In fact, experiencing those symptoms should be taken as a good sign: it means the detox is working. Sure, your body will resist at first, but continue with your detox regimen and it will get the message that healthy living is the new norm. These symptoms will persist for a few days, and that’s ok, it just means your body is working extra hard to expel all the unnecessary gunk in your system. Once it gets past that initial shock, it will go into healing mode. While this stage might sound easy, remember that your body will still have to work hard to stitch back the damaged cells inside itself and create newer, healthier cells.

So if you feel the following symptoms during your cleanse or detox, don’t worry: you’re doing just fine!

Is it Normal to Have High Levels of Anxiety During Detox?

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Whether it’s your first time doing a detox or your fifteenth, it’s perfectly normal to experience higher-than-usual levels of anxiety, especially when other symptoms kick in. While there isn’t just one trigger for anxiety during a detox, it can be a collection of many things, from a lack of coping skills, anxieties about symptoms, social anxieties, even deep-seated personal issues. Not only will this cause you stress (which might demotivate you), you might also feel more fatigued during your detox, which can affect the way you go about your day.

Remember that your detox isn’t just about cleansing your body of toxins: going on a cleanse means completely shifting the way you look at food, nutrition, and your body as a whole. This change in mindset is bound to clash with your established beliefs and mental processes, so much so that some people call this symptom the ‘emotional detox’.

So is it normal to have anxiety attacks while you’re going on a detox? Absolutely. As much as possible, try to push past your anxious thoughts and focus on the reasons why you’re going on a detox in the first place; this type of mental anchoring allows you to constantly have a mental and emotional touchpoint to come back to whenever you start to feel doubts and anxieties kick in. Cranberry pills during detox have been known (although findings are inconclusive) to cause mild anxiety, so if you’re taking these, it might be best to stop.

But like with all illnesses, listen to your body and mind: if you feel like your anxieties are getting too strong and it’s starting to manifest into unhealthy behavior, seek professional psychiatric care immediately.

Since I Started Going on a Detox, My Bowel Movements have Been More Frequent!

It might seem like a funny symptom, but pooping more often than usual is actually one of the more positive signs that your detox is working! Of course, the frequency of ‘normal’ bowel movements is wildly different depending on the person, their diet, and their lifestyle, but if you find yourself parked on your porcelain throne more often than you usually do, it means your detox is helping you expel a bulk of the toxins from your system.

This is especially true when your pre-detox diet was low on fiber, a common effect for people who subsist on fast food. Once you start introducing healthy fibers into your diet with your cleanse/detox, your digestive system will immediately start to adjust and draw out the toxins from your body and mix it in with your poop. Detox drinks like parsley water help you regulate your bowel functions so that it’s a little more manageable, but overall, don’t be afraid of a little poo!

Of course, if you’re going number 2 almost too often, readjust your cleanse; you might be getting too much fiber. Consult with a nutritionist or a doctor if you notice that your bowel movements are way too excessive or watery (a clear sign of diarrhea).

What Do I Do if I start Craving Junk During my Detox?

Look, we get it: detoxing is hard, it really is. During your detox, your body will start craving all the ‘normal’ things it used to eat like refined sugar, artificial preservatives, caffeine, and other toxins. Like a drug addict jonesing for a hit, you’ll be tempted to indulge a bit just to get the cravings out of the way.

Don’t do it. Put the donut down and get back to your detox!

Not only will giving in to your cravings slow down the detox (because it introduces toxins that you had just expelled), it might even tempt you to fall of the cleansing wagon completely. So what do you do if you start craving during your detox? Discipline, discipline, and discipline! Remind yourself why you’re going on a detox in the first place, and remember how much you’ve accomplished already. If you can, drink some Yogi Detox tea. Weight loss isn’t the only thing this tea can help with, it also helps with regulating your appetite and helping you stave off any cravings for junk.

Why Do I Feel Tired During My Detox?


From suppressing your appetite to cleaning out your gut to expelling toxins and healing itself from the damage it received from years of pollutants, your body is working more than double overtime, so naturally, you’ll feel fatigued during a detox.

Over the years, the more toxins there are in your system, the more damage your body takes. Without detox, your body will think that this damaged state is ‘normal’; this is why so many people walk around with undiagnosed conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, hyperacidity, or even leaky gut.

Once you start going on a detox regimen, your body is going to be put through the ringer physically, which means you’ll feel more tired during the detox journey. This is why it’s important to have a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes getting your RDA of essential vitamins and minerals so you’ll have more energy throughout the day.

My Skin Has been Extra Sensitive Since I Started Detoxing. Is This Normal?

Many people forget that their skin is actually a major organ of the body (and the largest in terms of surface size and weight). Aside from keeping our internal systems shielded from the outside world, the skin also functions as both a barrier against dirt and an expeller of toxins.

When you go on a detox or a cleanse, your body will start expelling all the toxins in your system in every way possible: toxins are usually expelled by your liver, kidneys, and your gastrointestinal system, but it can also leave your body through your pores. During your detox journey, you’ll be expelling a lot of toxins through your pores, most often as sweat. This can irritate the skin and cause rashes or even hives. As much as possible, try to keep your skin as clean as possible by frequent washing and bathing. Put on some light moisturizer or lotion in places with breakouts to keep them hydrated and minimize symptoms.

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