Being tired on a regular basis is not normal. Everyone gets tired, but when that feeling extended for periods of time, it can put you and others at risk. To avoid this risk, ask yourself or your physician why you are so tired. We have provided 15 possible reasons an individual may feel tired. If you feel any of these may be the source of your fatigue, evaluate your habits and adjust them as needed, or consult your physician
Asking yourself if you get enough sleep may be obvious, but it is something that many individuals overlook. Most adults need an average of seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Getting too little sleep can eventually cause your body to demand you get the sleep you need, leading you to “crash”. Your body will not adapt to less sleep. While you may get used to a sleep-depriving schedule, your judgment, reaction time, and other functions are still impaired. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, adjust your schedule to ensure you get at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
Do you eat foods loaded with excessive carbohydrates and refined sugars? Do you eat out multiple times a week? Indulging in the occasional treat or fast food meal won’t be detrimental to your health. What matters is making sure your body receives the essential nutrients it needs on a daily basis. If you find that you do not eat enough fruits and vegetables and that you eat out too often, make an effort to cook meals that contain nutrient-dense foods. If you need ideas for recipes, search Google or Pinterest.
Caffeine is a stimulant most people use to help themselves wake up or stay alert throughout the day. The National Sleep Foundation states, “While it is important to note that caffeine cannot replace sleep, it can temporarily make us feel more alert by blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increasing adrenaline production.” Psychology Today recently cited a new study where researchers analyzed the sleep-disruptive effects of caffeine consumption at different lengths of time before bedtime. Ultimately, the study concluded that discontinuing the consumption of caffeine around 2:00 pm can help you avoid any sleep disruption.
According to two studies conducted at the University of Connecticut’s Human Performance Laboratory, “Even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly.” A professor at the University stated, “Our thirst sensation doesn’t appear until we are one to two percent dehydrated. By then dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform.” Staying hydrated is simple, drink water. Researchers from the study suggest that individuals drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. If you don’t drink water, or struggle to drink water, try adding slices of citrus fruit to your water. The water will hydrate you and boost your energy levels.
Many individuals stop working out in order to get more sleep in hopes it will save them energy. In 2013, a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that even a small amount of any type of exercise can be beneficial for sleep. On average, individuals that exercised a minimum of at least 10 minutes a day noticed improved sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has also amended its sleep recommendations for “normal” sleepers to encourage exercise without any limits to time of day as long as it’s not at the expense of sleep. If you feel that you don’t have time to exercise, take a 10 to 15 minute break at work and go for a brisk walk. If time does not allow it, make a point to do something active before you leave to go to work, or when you get home.
While exercise is important, if you overdo it, you may decrease the value of your sleep. In an article written for the U.S. News, Health section, Chelsea Bush lists 10 different signs that your body is headed toward exercise burnout. Among these, three of the 10 have to do with energy and sleep quality. She talks about how individuals who are headed toward burnout can lose interest in exercise, feel fatigued, and suffer from insomnia. If you feel this is you, make sure you take 1–2 rest days from your physical activities weekly.
Being overweight or obese can poorly affect your sleep, which can affect your mood, diet, and overall health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “an estimated 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, which is often associated with people who are overweight. As a person gains weight, particularly in the trunk and neck area, the risk of sleep-disordered breathing increases due to compromised respiratory function,” says Margaret Moline, PhD, and Lauren Broch, PhD, two sleep specialists at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. If you feel your weight is affecting your sleep, consult your physician.
Your fatigue could be related to narcolepsy, insomnia, sleep apnea, or various sleeping disorders. If you think you may have a sleeping disorder, keep a “sleep log” that tracks how long it takes you to fall asleep, how often and how long you wake up at night, how you feel when you wake up, and how sleepy you feel during the day. Take this log with you to help your physician determine which tests would be most beneficial for you.
In an article written by Kathleen Jade, N.D., for the Natural Health Advisory, she states, “Nutrient deficiencies are classic fatigue causes because they impair cellular energy production. This can result in excessive tiredness and lack of energy as well as many other symptoms.” Common nutrient deficiencies that result in fatigue are B Vitamins, Vitamin D, and Magnesium. In order to determine if you have a nutrient deficiency, schedule an appointment with your physician.
Fatigue is a symptom of depression. Individuals who have been diagnosed with depression may still struggle with fatigue due to the side effects of medications. In an article written for the National Institutes of Health, they state, “Fatigue is one of the identified symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD). Three distinct categories of fatigue commonly occur within a population of MDD patients: physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms.” If you feel that you may struggle with depression and have not been diagnosed, please contact your physician.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Stress and anxiety may cause sleeping problems or make existing problems worse.” If you feel like you may have anxiety—an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure—contact your physician. It may be the reason you are feeling tired.
If you are feeling fatigued, it could be a symptom that your thyroid is not functioning correctly. Medline Plus states, “Your thyroid is one of your endocrine glands, which make hormones. Thyroid hormones control the rate of many activities in your body. These include how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats.” See your doctor if you’re feeling tired for no reason or have any of the other signs or symptoms related to your thyroid.
According to AmericanPregnancy.org, “Early pregnancy hormonal changes are likely the cause of fatigue. Your body is producing more blood to carry nutrients to your growing baby. Your blood sugar levels and blood pressure are also lower. Hormones, especially increased progesterone levels, are responsible for making you sleepy. In addition to the physical changes occurring in your body, emotion changes can also contribute to decreased energy. Fatigue or tiredness is a common symptom during pregnancy.” If you think there is a chance you could be pregnant, check with your physician.
One of the main symptoms of diabetes is extreme fatigue. If you are experiencing this coupled with frequent urination, feeling thirsty, blurred vision, weight loss, tingling hands and feet, or feeling hungry, contact your physician immediately to determine if you have diabetes.
There is a chance you are getting sick, or your body is fighting an infection. In an article written for LIVESTRONG by Elizabeth Moore, she states, “The body’s immune response requires energy and the process of fighting infection can leave a person feeling drained.” If you are already ill, “sleep disturbances due to coughing and other respiratory symptoms can compound feelings of fatigue.” If you feel fatigued, try and rest for a day to allow your body to recover.
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