We all feel tired from time to time. A heavy night drinking cocktails or a long workout at the gym or a hard day’s work are all obvious things that can make us feel tired. But what if you’re constantly feeling drained and can’t seem to find a reason why? There are lots of hidden factors that can cause us to feel lethargic – here are just 10 things that could be bringing on fatigue and what you can do to fix them.
You’re not sleeping enough
This may seem like an obvious reason for feeling tired, but it may not be as obvious as you think. Adults should get six hours of unbroken sleep a night. If you’re getting less that this on a regular basis, it could be starting to put your body into a permanent state of exhaustion. It’s possible that you may not be getting a good quality of sleep either. Some people are light sleepers and find it difficult to get into a deep sleep without certain conditions – you may find that you need total darkness or a certain temperature or certain type of pillow to sleep well. Then there are conditions such as sleep apnea which can also affect sleep quality – if you often wake up with headaches on top of feeling tired all the time, you may have this condition without realising. Try to create a good environment in your bedroom that helps you to sleep and use foods containing natural supplements such as melatonin to help you get to sleep (bananas, porridge and ginger tea are just a few examples).
You’re not eating enough food
If you’re regularly not eating enough, this could also be making you permanently sick and tired. Fatigue is common for those being starved or on a diet as the body is no longer getting the energy that it once did. Consider any changes in your diet recently and whether these could be to blame for your constant tiredness. It could be worth checking out these signs that you’re not eating enough.
You’re not drinking enough water
Similarly, not drinking enough water each day could be making you tired. Water makes the mind more alert, the muscles looser and keeps all our organs functioning at their best. Even if you don’t feel physically thirsty, it’s possible that you could still be dehydrated. It’s recommended that we all drink 8 cups of water a day. If you’re drinking way less than this, it could be a good reason as to why you’re so tired.
You’re not being active enough
Intense exercise isn’t the only thing that can make our bodies tired – often doing nothing at all can make our bodies feel equally tired. This is because physical inactivity tricks out brain into thinking that we’re getting ready for sleep and so it starts to release the sleep hormone melatonin. Physical inactivity could include sitting in an office chair for long periods or sitting on a sofa for lengths of time. Fidgeting can actually be a healthy habit to have as it prevents this from happening. Alternatively, the better option could be to take five minute breaks from sitting down each hour so that you’re keeping your body moving.
You’re drinking too much coffee
You may think that drinking lots of coffee makes you more alert, however it could in fact be the cause of your fatigue. Whilst the caffeine in coffee will temporarily make you feel more perky and awake, as soon as this caffeine hit wears off you’re likely to feel twice as tired as you did before. This is for a number of reasons. Caffeine firstly blocks our adenosine receptors, causing a build-up of the sleep chemical adenosine which is then released in one big hit once the effects of the caffeine wear off. Caffeine can also make use dehydrated, leading to further fatigue. If you drink more than two cups of coffee a day, consider cutting down and see what impact this has.
You’re overly stressed
Stress can also make us feel more tired, especially if it is experienced over a prolonged period. This is due to the stress hormone cortisol which reacts with out muscles to make them more tense and out brain to make it more alert. Our body isn’t designed to be stressed for long periods as this is when too much tension in the muscles can cause achiness and fatigue, whilst our brain’s constant alert state can cause headaches and anxiety. On top of this, stress can delay the release of melatonin, making it harder to get to sleep and in turn making us more tired. The best way to combat stress is to remove the things triggering it. However, if this isn’t possible, there are ways of destressing that could flush the cortisol out of your body such as having a hot bath, exercising, meditating or laughing.
Constant fatigue could be an early sign that you’re pregnant. This could be particularly the case if you’ve also been feeling sick. Before jumping to conclusions, consider whether you’ve been taking birth control regularly and whether there have been any times you have forgotten it. Just because you missed it once doesn’t mean you’re automatically pregnant – you can follow this handy guide to taking the pill if you think you forgot to take it. It’s worth taking a pregnancy test just to be safe before assuming anything – taking multiple tests can increase the likelihood of getting a clear result as some tests may not always be accurate the first time.
You’ve got anaemia
Anaemia is a condition that can also make you feel tired all the time. It’s the result of having an iron deficiency and can be spotted by other signs such as cramps in the knees, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and pale skin. Anaemia can develop at any time in a person’s life and could be genetic or the result of regularly drinking alcohol or medication. You should visit your doctor is suspect that you may have this condition as it can have serious effects if it is ignored.
You’ve got chronic fatigue syndrome
If you’re constantly tired and none of the above explanations fit the bill, it could be a case of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Women in their 40s and 50s are most likely to get CFS, although it can affect people of both genders and all ages. It can sometimes develop after having had a viral infection or it could develop as the result of a hormonal imbalance such as after birth, during pregnancy or during one’s menopause. See your doctor to see what treatment can be given.
You’ve got another illness
There are other illnesses that can produce symptoms of chronic tiredness. These include diabetes, chronic kidney disease and hypothyroidism. It’s best to see you doctor if you’ve been experiencing other strange symptoms – you will be able to get a blood test that might be able to further diagnose the problem. Try to keep a record of times when you feel most tired as this could help to identify a recurring trigger such as eating food or passing urine, which could then help your doctor to form a link to the disease.