If you're constantly feeling tired or lacking in energy, you're far from alone!
Several simple factors can cause fatigue, such as not getting enough sleep or coming down with a virus. However, tiredness can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying health condition.
When you feel tired all the time - or TATT, as the condition is sometimes known - it can stop you from doing the things you enjoy, damaging your quality of life. Luckily, making a few lifestyle or dietary changes or identifying and treating a medical problem can often remedy fatigue. But first, you need to discover the factor that's causing it. So here are some possible reasons why you're tired all the time:
Many of us aren't getting enough sleep, which is essential for good health. While you sleep, your body repairs and regenerates cells and releases growth hormones, so you should wake up feeling restored and energised.
Ideally, your brain should undergo three phases of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep and one phase of REM ( rapid eye movement) sleep - this is when you dream. Most adults need around 7 - 9 hours of sleep per night.
But many people find that falling asleep and staying asleep is a challenge. Insomnia can be caused by many factors, including stress, anxiety and hormonal disturbances. Bach Flower Mix 87 can help relieve these problems, so you get a better night's sleep.
A deficiency of nutrients such as vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, C and D, as well as essential minerals such as iron and magnesium, can cause feelings of tiredness, even if you're getting plenty of sleep. For example, anaemia caused by iron deficiency is relatively common, and fatigue is one of the symptoms. Luckily, it usually improves once iron levels are restored.
If you're suffering from unexplained fatigue that could be caused by nutrient deficiency, your doctor will be able to test for nutrient levels and advise on the best treatment.
We all experience stress in our lives, but when you're constantly stressed, it can trigger Exhaustion Disorder (ED), a condition with physical and psychological symptoms of fatigue.
Chronic stress can also cause chronic inflammation in the brain and exacerbate symptoms of fatigue.
While some stress is unavoidable, learning to manage chronic stress can help to prevent fatigue. Set aside time for yourself every day and decompress by meditation, going for a walk or listening to music.
A wide range of health conditions is linked to fatigue, such as hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, diabetes, anxiety disorders, fibromyalgia, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, and depression.
If you're suffering from unexplained fatigue, it's essential to rule out any underlying medical issues. So if you're always tired, it's advisable to discuss your symptoms with your doctor, who can carry out tests and advise on the appropriate treatment.
Eating too many refined sugars and highly processed foods may impact your energy levels. Instead, a diet rich in nutritious, whole foods such as legumes, fruits, fish, lean meat, eggs and vegetables will help maintain energy, support better sleep and counteract fatigue.
Fatigue can also be triggered by not eating enough nutritious food, so don't starve yourself if you're trying to lose weight. Instead, ensure that your diet includes plenty of protein and enough calories to meet your minimum daily requirements.
Due to age-related factors such as loss of appetite and reduced mobility, seniors may undereat and are sometimes at risk of malnutrition. This can trigger a loss of muscles and body fat, leading to fatigue.
The caffeine in coffee, energy drinks and tea may indeed provide a temporary energy boost. However, if you rely on them too heavily, your sleep will be affected, leaving you fatigued the next day.
It's a vicious circle: if you feel tired in the morning and need several coffees to kickstart your day, your sleep that night will be affected because you've consumed too much caffeine, and you will feel fatigued the following morning.
Consuming too much caffeine is also linked to increased anxiety, another factor that can reduce the quality of your sleep. So cut out caffeinated drinks altogether or substitute with decaffeinated versions after midday.
Alcohol can also disrupt sleep. Drinking during the evening may make you sleepy at first, but you're more likely to awake after just a few hours, so you're tired in the morning.
Even low levels of dehydration may reduce alertness and energy levels. Being dehydrated not only makes you feel tired more quickly when exercising, but it also affects your whole body and can disrupt your sleep cycle.
To stay well hydrated, make sure you drink enough during the daytime to replace fluid lost through bodily processes. The exact amount needed varies according to climate, activity levels, and the individual's age, weight, and sex. If you're not sure if you're drinking enough, check the colour of your urine. It should be pale straw yellow - if it's darker, it's a sign that you may be dehydrated and need to increase your fluid intake.
Maintaining your weight within the healthy range for your height is essential for good general health. Obesity is linked to medical conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea that cause fatigue. It's also linked to a higher risk of severe chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, all of which may lead to feelings of exhaustion.
Obesity is also linked to feelings of sleepiness in the daytime, regardless of whether you suffer from sleep apnea. It can also lead to joint problems and reduced mobility. Obese people may be less likely to exercise, which can contribute to poor quality sleep. So if you lose a few kilos, one of the first welcome side effects is that you may feel less tired.
Many factors can cause you to feel tired, and it's possible that more than one of them can be in play. And while everyone has days when they feel completely exhausted, it's not normal to feel fatigued all the time. Many people find that after making some lifestyle changes, their condition improves. However, if feeling run down and exhausted continues to affect your quality of life, you should talk with a medical professional. Your doctor can find the causes and provide you with the proper treatment for any medical issues.
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