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Fatigue—We’ve all had those days. The ones where it’s practically impossible to get out of bed in the morning. Where you feel like you haven’t had nearly enough sleep and you’d rather stay under your covers than do anything else.
If you’re experiencing more of these days than not, you might be suffering from fatigue.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you’re simply sleepy or if it’s something more. Keep on reading to see how to find out if you’re experiencing fatigue, why you’re so tired all the time, and what you can do to fight it.
How to Know If It’s Actually Fatigue
Differentiating fatigue from simple sleepiness is mostly a matter of how often it happens. While sleepiness is usually a short-term problem brought on by a poor night’s sleep, fatigue is constant and recurring.
Fatigue is long-term tiredness that limits your ability to do normal, everyday things. It’s usually associated with medical issues or certain lifestyle choices.
If you’re experiencing fatigue, it could be one of two types — physical or mental. You may also have both kinds of fatigue at the same time. These types of fatigue affect you in different ways.
Physical fatigue makes it difficult for you to find the energy to do even the most mundane tasks, such as making food or taking a shower. Mental fatigue makes it difficult for you to focus your mind on a single task and get your work done.
Fatigue can be caused by a number of things. In order to treat it, you must examine the things in your life that could be bringing it on.
Fatigue Caused by Lifestyle Choices
Your lifestyle has a huge impact on your energy levels. While there are obvious factors, like how much you sleep, other things, like your diet and activity level, can also play a role.
Making healthy choices does a lot to lessen your chances of ending up fatigued.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
As an adult, you should be getting at least seven or eight hours of sleep every night. Some people need more while others need less, but this is a good starting place.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, your energy levels are obviously going to be affected.
While one all-nighter isn’t going to lead to chronic fatigue, it’s a bad habit to get into. Frequently sleeping for only a few hours a night will start to take a toll on you. So, your sleeping habits are a good place to start when trying to figure out the cause of your fatigue.
Not Eating the Right Things
Your body uses food for energy, which means your diet directly affects your energy levels throughout the day. Eating and drinking unhealthy foods can lead to fatigue over time.
For example, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar can all contribute to fatigue.
If you don’t regulate the amount of these things you consume, it might be the reason you’re feeling tired all the time. Your body needs good food to create good energy so you don’t have to worry about fatigue.
Not Staying Active
A sedentary lifestyle is one way to develop fatigue. The less you get up and get moving, the more tired you’ll feel.
It may seem counterproductive, but regular exercise actually gives you more energy. It wakes up your muscles and gets your blood pumping. Working out releases endorphins to make your brain and your body feel good.
Working out even helps you sleep better at night so you’re full of energy in the morning.
Fatigue Caused by Medical Conditions
Even if you are living your best life, you may still be suffering from fatigue due to a health condition. These conditions may be related to your physical health or your mental health.
Fatigue is a fairly common symptom, so it’s important to take all of your symptoms into account when considering medical conditions.
Physical Health and Fatigue
A myriad of medical conditions can result in fatigue as one of the symptoms. It’s normal for your body to feel exhausted when it’s fighting off an illness.
Just a few examples of fatigue-causing conditions are:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Cold and flu
- Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
- Sleep disorders (such as insomnia)
- Eating disorders (such as anorexia)
- Autoimmune disorders
- Congestive heart failure
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
Mental Health and Fatigue
Struggling with mental health also takes a toll on your mind and body. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, and overwhelming stress can all leave you physically and mentally exhausted.
How You Can Fight Fatigue
Getting past your fatigue is easier said than done. But if you’re willing to put in the work, you can get your energy back and start feeling better.
These suggestions help with fatigue caused by lifestyle choices or medical conditions.
However, if your fatigue is caused by an illness, getting the proper treatment for it is necessary.
Get More Sleep
It’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep. All sorts of things, including your phone, actively keep your brain awake, so you stay up longer scrolling through social media.
Make a point to take steps toward fixing your sleeping schedule.
Try making your bedroom into the perfect haven for sleep. Avoid caffeine and large meals close to bedtime. Put your devices away while you wind down for bed.
Straighten Out Your Diet
Eating the right foods will do wonders for your energy levels. When you put good things in, you’re bound to get good things out.
Seek out foods that are packed with nutrients to help fight your fatigue. Eggs, bananas, spinach, and almonds all keep your body running efficiently.
That doesn’t mean you have to give up sweet treats and caffeine completely. Just make sure to moderate these things with your well-balanced diet so you don’t have to worry about feeling burnt out.
Be More Active
Being more active is a great way to rev up your engines. Getting regular exercise keeps your body running like a well-oiled machine so you won’t run out of fuel so easily.
This doesn’t mean you have to do a full-blown 60-minute workout routine every day.
For some, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking a little further away from work adds plenty of activity to their day. Going for walks, dancing to your favorite song, and playing with your pets are all ways to get more activity.
When to Talk to Your Doctor About Fatigue
If you’ve ruled everything out and fatigue still has you down, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor. In some cases, it can be a sign of something more serious.
Talk to your doctor if you:
- Can’t think of anything that might be causing your fatigue.
- Have a higher-than-normal body temperature.
- Have experienced unexplained weight loss.
- Feel very sensitive to colder temperatures.
- Regularly have trouble falling or staying asleep.
- Believe you may be depressed.
We all get tired sometimes. But it’s not normal to feel tired all the time. If you can’t get over your tiredness and it starts to affect your daily life, you are probably suffering from fatigue.
It may be hard to find the energy to do much, but you should do something about your fatigue. By looking at all the signs, you can figure out why you’re so tired all the time.
Don’t let your fatigue keep you down — there are ways to combat it and regain the energy you’ve lost.
About the Author
Caitlin Sinclair is the property manager at Prose West Cypress, a new apartment community in Katy, TX.