I have similar problems with a lot of tiredness/drowsiness during the day, and I don't even have children, but am pregnant with my first. I, also, have tried tons of expensive solutions....I will quickly let you know what has actually helped me, then explain in detail below: 1. Treating sleep apnea I didn't know I had. 2. When not pregnant, taking Now brand TMG tablets and Now brand Acai capsules, both from www.iherb.com 3. Cutting out gluten as much as possible 4.While pregnant and while not pregnant, taking Perque Activated B12 Guard, Natural Factors B12 Methylcobalamin 5000 mcg, Solgar Folate 800 mcg as Metafolin, and Rainbow Light Prenatal One (or Prenatal Petite). See my disclaimer below about pregnancy and those pills!!!...
Also, using a dry erase calander to set daily tasks, and/or meal planning in a notebook, and planning manageable small goals helps me push through the fatigue at times. Just organization, putting pen to paper. (and not saying that is the reason we are tired...just saying being organized is a tool I use to get through it) See last paragraph for more on that.
-Apnea: even though I am thin (because most doctors think thin people don't get apnea), I got a sleep study and found out I have low-end of "moderate" sleep apnea. I didn't really realize I was stopping breathing the times at night I was unconscious (how would anyone know?).....I guess hubby, in retrospect, said he sometimes heard me stop breathing, then kind of gasp.....but honestly, it would be easy for a spouse to not know, and for you to not know. Anyways, this REALLY disrupts going through the phases of sleep. Now that I have a CPAP machine....I do notice about a 30-50% improvement the day after using teh machine. So it does account for some of teh daytime drowsiness/crapiness.
Even if you can't get a sleep study (sleep doctor has to order it), there are things you can do if you suspect apnea. There are things like ZQuiet....I bought one to try it instead of my cpap machine, but I never really got into it. You wouldn't really know if it was correcting your variety of apnea or not, unless you felt better over time (give it a couple weeks). Otherwise, either your blockages are too severe for the mouthpiece and you need the machine, or you just don't have apnea.
Another thing you can do, is not consume dairy within like 4 hours of going to bed. In my family, we snore at night after consuming dairy, because it causes mucus in the throat, etc....makes breathing openings like throat smaller. Other things may cause you to create mucus at night too (and you wouldn't necessarily know you were, it won't always come out of your nose...). For me, I suspect toothpaste causes mucus. Simply avoiding dairy can be enough for people. Maybe that is why paleo helped you. Also, sleeping on your side helps, sleeping on your back is bad for apnea. Airways more open sleeping on side. My brother finds relief from Breathe Right Strips on his nose, nightly. Make sure to place them properly. You may look like miss piggy with wider nostrils when they are on. Get the super duper ones, that are heavy duty. That can be enough for people, opening the nose wide enough. The remedy varies person-to-person. Some need the cpap machine. I like the website www.drstevenpark.com.
Anything you can do to open up the nose, or the soft palate/throat area (mouthpieces like Zquiet will do that, avoiding dairy) will help mild/moderate apnea.
So yeah. I think apnea is a part of it for me. I never feel good during the day. And it's DROWSINESS. Like I never slept. Not even for a few hours.
-avoiding gluten. At first, didn't realize it bothered me. But yeah, it causes drowsiness in the head for me. I completley cut it out for a bit, and once adding it back in, could tell big difference when I'd consume it. And that was like, the third time I experimented...and only after noticing progress with other things like vitamins and apnea treatment. Nowadays, I don't freak out if I eat it, but I find alternatives whenever possible. I try to have a lot of gluten free meal ideas (gf breakfasts, gf lunches on gf bread, gf dinners like scrambled eggs, chicken with rice, etc).....but then if I am out and have a piece of cake, oh well. I try to have 3-5 days a week GF. If I can go total GF, that's much better and I feel better. So even if at first GF seems irrelvant, retry it later on.
-Now brand TMG from iherb.com. http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-TMG-Trimethylglycine-1-000-mg-100-Tablets/3344 1,000 mg tablet. If the link doesn't work, type Now TMG into the site's search. That gives me a kick in the pants!!!! And supposedly it is really just helping the body's natural processes. Maybe you are having methylation issues (homocysteine, etc). Don't get expensive tests, just try that brand of TMG and see what one pill does. I notice it most with help for physical stamina, so take one, then take a walk, and halfway through the walk, or maybe even an hour later, you'll feel it if it's gonna help. Honestly, you may wanna try splitting the pill in half for your first dose...it can really pack a punch. Some people have no effect, so I think those people don't need this process supported in their body. TMG is kind of like a different chemical form of a natural amino acid.
-Same website (iherb.com), type "Now Acai capsules" into search. They are 500 mg capsules, in an orange bottle. I take 3 of those in the morning, and that helps me too. Supposedly works in same way as TMG, but I like both.
-TMG and Acai are not for pregnancy!
-The Perque Activated B12 Guard helps me. Its a very unique form of B12, not the form most doctors give in shots even. I hold the pill under my tongue until it dissolves. Sometimes I only feel the benefit when I take it with the Natural Factors B12 too (which is yet another active form, the methyl form), AND take the Solgar Folate, with it. I was worried if this was safe in pregnancy, and my OB told me that extra B12 won't hurt the baby, nor will extra folate. HOWEVER, I honeslty don't know for sure, because I didn't run the exact doses and pills by her, so at the end of teh day, who knows. But I feel comfortable enough to do this while preg. Just make your own decisions....I am not implying complete safety. Then that Rainbow Light brand of Prenatal really helps....only multi vitamin I have ever felt energy from, and my husband even noticed that same thing, because he'll take it sometimes, when sick, etc!!!!!!
The Perque I buy at pureformulas.com. The Natural Factors I buy at iherb.com...but make sure it's the 5000 mcg. The Rainbow Light Prenatal is iherb.com. So everything is iherb, except the Perque brand. If you are trying to save money, the TMG works best, but you are preg so don't take that. Acai, also, I am not comfortable taking while preg, because I read it can mess up ratios of omega 3's and 6's.
I think it's a toss up, if the Perque B12 vs the Natural Factors B12 Methylcobalamin would work best, if you are trying to narrow things down. I take both, because they are different forms, but you could try the Natural Factors from iherb first because it's probably cheaper, and I'd get the Solgar Folate as Metafolin with it, because I feel it's the combo of the active B12 with the ACTIVE folate (Diff than what's in prenatal viatmins) that helps me. You may feel energy like 20 min afterwards.
I can't offer too much advice about the kids....but I think it's not necessarily "normal" to feel THAT rundown....you know when you're dealing with above average tiredness, so you are smart to look for help. These are really the only things that help me that I've found. These things can give me enough of a boost to go take a walk, which will then help sleep, sleep/wake cycle, etc. So really, I just try to get my energy high enough that I can walk or sit outside to get sun, and then I try to let those positive activities do their beneficial thing, too. I drink small amounts of coffee too. I also find that being organized helps. I like wwww.moneysavingmom.com....she has some great article Series on her toolbar about how to stay motivated and organized, which never hurts. When I use my calanders and plan things, I can stay on track a little better, through the fatigue. Good luck!!!!!