10 Unexpected Reasons for Fatigue
Life can be quite hectic. When 24 hours isn’t enough time to complete the day’s tasks it makes sense that fatigue sets it. But if you feel like you’re doing everything right and getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night and still feel tired, there might be something else to blame. The feeling of fatigue could be a symptom of anything from poor diet to a gut infection that you may not be aware of.
Beyond the obvious reasons, here are some potential causes of fatigue that you may want to consider looking into. If you try any of these suggestions, keep a journal to track what you have modified and the corresponding results.
- Dehydration: Not drinking enough water causes your organs to work harder to deliver nutrients and oxygenated blood to your body. As a rule, you should try to have at least 64 ounces of water a day as well as fruits like melons, oranges, or peaches, which have a high-water content.
- Thyroid problems: Hypothyroidism is a sluggish thyroid. When your thyroid is sluggish, your body follows, causing you to feel fatigued. Many people have undiagnosed hypothyroidism. A simple solution is to have a blood test to check for this condition. It is easily treatable.
- Sleeping disorder: If you believe you’re getting enough sleep yet still wake up exhausted or in a fog, you may have a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is an interruption of breathing during sleep that affects millions of people. Consider talking to your doctor about getting a sleep evaluation.
- Infections: Fighting infections can drain your body of energy and you may not know you have one. Let your doctor know you’re feeling tired. A stool, urine, or blood test can help discover any infections hiding in your body.
- Poor diet: For your body to feel good it needs quality fuel. Consuming foods high in calories but low in nutrients will deprive your body of energy and cause you to feel run down. Try removing refined sugars and packaged/ processed foods from your diet. Substitute those items with fresh fruits and vegetables to load your body up with clean, natural, nutrient-rich foods. Eating healthy foods should be your first choice, but supplements may be able to close the gap as well. If you’re still feeling tired, have your doctor check iron and vitamin D levels. These common vitamin deficiencies are easily corrected.
- Stress: Stress means being in constant “fight or flight mode,” which increases your blood pressure, raises your heart rate, and puts your entire body on high alert. Being under that much pressure will eventually wear you down and cause extreme fatigue. To reduce stress, try a short walk, meditate, exercise, or anything else you enjoy.
- Device addiction: Computer screens, televisions, and e-readers all give off blue light that can disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, your natural biological clock. The devices also bombard your brain with stimulation as well as societal-induced stress from social media, all of which are exhausting. Try turning off your devices before bed and leaving them out of arm’s reach to eliminate the temptation to use them.
- Not enough exercise: Yes, exercise! You may think exercise would add to your fatigue, but in fact it does the opposite. Regular exercise can increase energy even if you’re typically tired. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day five days a week. It doesn’t have to be intense. A brisk 30-minute walk can be beneficial.
- Too much caffeine: Many people enjoy a good cup of coffee to start the day and maybe to get through the afternoon. But as we age it becomes more difficult for our bodies to digest and eliminate caffeine. Retaining too much caffeine could disrupt your ability to relax and get some much-needed sleep. Try to limit your caffeine intake to one to two cups of coffee in the morning.
- A drink before bed: You may believe alcohol relates to relaxation, but the fact is too much alcohol can interfere with sleep cycles. You may fall asleep quickly after a drink or two, but what you lose out on is REM sleep, the cycle responsible for restoration, the deep sleep needed to feel your best. Avoid consuming alcohol at least one to two hours before bedtime and limit it to one glass.
If after trying some of these suggestions you still feel fatigued, check in with your doctor to look for any undiagnosed problems.