Some days are hard and so you may feel the need to take a nap from time to time. But if you have found yourself questioning why you are tired all the time, and completely lacking the energy to go through your day a lot, it is best to see your doctor first.
Chronic fatigue is an indication that something is wrong and you should find out what it as soon as possible. You should never ignore the feeling that you are tired all the time because there are many reasons why chronic fatigue happens.
While sometimes the cause is a serious illness, other times it is our lifestyle that is causing us to feel tired all the time and so, it is within our abilities to change.
That said, let’s look at some problems that can make one feel exhausted all the time and what you can do to fix them
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Common Reasons that may be making you feel tired all the time.
You are not sleeping enough
Of course, lack of sleep will lead to fatigue. Most adults need to sleep at least 7-8 hours a night.
But are you getting enough sleep? Many people are not.
So many people these days stay up late into the night either working late or on social media like Youtube or simply scrolling some other social network.
But humans are supposed to observe their circadian cycle and rest and wake up accordingly.
That means going to sleep at the same time, optimally by ten pm, and waking up in the morning at the same time, preferably around 6 am.
This is optimal sleep time because melatonin production is highest at about 9 pm and that will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
On the other hand, cortisol, your get up and go and get pumped to get things done hormone is the highest in the morning.
When you don’t sleep well or enough you feel quite out of sorts because you are interfering with the way your body is supposed to function. Sleep is essential for wellness and renewal.
And sleep affects many areas of health including immune health and energy.
If you are suffering due to insomnia, make sure to have a nighttime routine.
Following a daily ritual that helps you unwind is a great way to promote good sleep.
One thing that really helps me is drinking a cup of soothing tea before bed. Check out this list of great teas to calm your mind naturally and to enhance sleep.
Some people are tempted to think that a glass or two of wine will help them unwind, and it may but later that wine will wake you up. Avoid alcohol at night especially two hours before bed because alcohol does interfere with REM sleep- the restful phases of sleep.
Also, avoid caffeine 6-8 hours before bedtime, and stay away from the screens too.
Additionally, make sure your diet is healthy. And keep your bedroom neat and a haven for rest.
These are just simple but helpful ways to ensure a good night’s sleep.
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Heart diseases can leave one tired all the time. Heart disease means the heart is not pumping blood well to all the cells. And that means cells are starved of oxygen and you may feel short of breath too.
When circulation is compromised in cases such as CHF, or CAD one is not getting enough oxygen and nutrients to the cells.
Little activities such as a little walk and household chores are hard to do. CHF causes one to feel like they’re drowning because blood circulation is not good. The lungs can get fluid logged from backflow as the heart fails to pump strongly to get blood throughout the body. This makes one winded and short of breath. The fluid overload also causes edema and fatigue.
If you have heart disease make sure to have regular visits to the doctor. Follow the treatment plan and let your doctor know of any changes like difficulty breathing or edema.
You are stressed
Another common cause of chronic fatigue is chronic stress. A little stress may help you get motivated to get things done. The trouble with chronic stress is that it keeps you in fight or flight for a long period of time.
This causes excess release of cortisol in circulation and chronic fatigue syndrome can happen.
Try and implement changes in lifestyle to reduce stress such as the following:
- Early bedtime so you can wake up early.
- Cut back some activities for your kids.
- Hire a sitter sometimes.
- Use online grocery shopping.
- Get off social media sometimes.
- Have healthy routines.
- Eliminate stressful relationships.
- See a professional like a life coach, or mental health professional for support and guidance.
Stress is an epidemic in our world and we need to go back to basics.
You have a hormonal imbalance
Hormonal imbalance can also cause chronic fatigue. Some imbalances that cause fatigue include hypothyroid and hyperthyroidism.
In hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down and energy production slows way down. And so you feel an excessive lack of energy. You feel cold, depressed, and constipated and then your brain is foggy. These conditions leave one feeling tired and sluggish all the time.
When you have hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, your metabolism is too fast. Food is passing by quickly and nutrients are not well absorbed.
You may have diarrhea, your heart is beating too fast, you are anxious, and you cant relax. So this also may interfere with sleep and rest and again fatigue happens.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing for a brief period as they sleep and it happens over and over. Sleep apnea is characterized by loud snoring due to the upper airway being blocked obstructing airflow.
This interruption in breathing happens many times through the night and each time the snoring wakes the person up to loudly take in a deep breath.
This makes the person not go into a deep sleep or REM sleep causing them to wake up the next day tired. So when this happens every night the result is chronic fatigue.
See your doctor if you are waking tired every day. Lab work to check for other causes and a sleep study to determine sleep apnea is done. If the doctor finds you have sleep apnea a CPAP machine is usually recommended.
If you have narcolepsy, you will be tired all the time. Narcolepsy is a neurologic disorder that causes one to experience excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sudden attacks of sleep happen when one has narcolepsy. A person with narcolepsy has an uncontrolled need for sleep during the day. These unexpected attacks of sudden sleep can be so severe when they come with cataplexy where the muscles suddenly get week or limp. Narcolepsy makes it hard to engage in daily activities of living due to these unpredictable attacks of sleep.
At this time there is no cure for narcolepsy. Your doctor can suggest ways to manage the condition including lifestyle changes like diet changes. Such things as excess sodium intake have been implicated in narcolepsy so that is one area you can adjust.
According to an article published in sleep foundation, narcolepsy with cataplexy happens due to the lack of a chemical called hypocretin in the brain. Hypocretin is responsible for REM sleep and regulating wakefulness.
Sleep Foundation also states research is also underway to investigate if causes like an injury to the hypothalamus and brain stem, stroke, and tumors are the cause.
Other sources suggest too much sodium can be implicated in narcolepsy.
If you have anxiety you may feel tired all the time
Anxiety and panic attacks are debilitating and interfere with normal life. And anxiety can strike anytime anywhere even when you are trying to sleep.
If you tend to get nighttime anxiety, then your sleep is interrupted a lot, or you can’t ever fall asleep in good time to have enough sleep as your thoughts race from one awful situation and fear to another.
This then leaves you tired all the time.
The remedy may be establishing calming bedtime routines, practicing calming affirmations, and keeping your room and house calm as possible.
See you, doctor, if racing thoughts are keeping you up at night or you have untreated anxiety.
You are drinking too much coffee and energy drinks
Well, we all know caffeine is a stimulant. If you are drinking too much coffee throughout the day, this may keep you wired late at night.
Caffeine is great to get you going in the morning but late afternoon coffee is detrimental to good night’s sleep.
While you may need that cup to keep you going at the office, drinking coffee late in the day will come to haunt you when you need to sleep and rest.
And when that happens it becomes your vicious cycle where you can’t get enough sleep so you wake up too tired to function and so you drink more and more coffee.
Break free from that cycle and increase energy levels naturally.
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You have depression
If you have depression you do feel tired a lot. Depression just drags one down. The lack of interest and motivation, hopelessness, further increases and contributes to fatigue.
Depression also may make you have decreased appetite, and of course, if all you want to do is sleep, you may not cook or even go out to look for food, or eat a healthy diet.
And that just compounds the fatigue.
With depression, one also may not sleep well. Depression causes sleep disturbances where one either sleeps too much or not enough, each making you feel tired all the time.
If you are diagnosed with depression, it is important to adhere to the treatment plan.
Keep up with medications and therapy. Discuss with your care team if a particular therapy is not working sp a change can be made. Sometimes it takes several medications before the right one is found.
On the days you feel a bit better, plan your meals also. This way you can cook and freeze some food to eat when you are not able to cook.
Include easy nutritious things like healthy smoothies. Diet can also go a long way in improving depressive symptoms.
If you are not diagnosed see your doctor first for labs to eliminate medical causes of fatigue and they also may recommend a mental health professional.
People with hepatitis C experience chronic fatigue. This may be due to liver damage, and also due to chronically fighting an infection.
Additionally, the medications to treat Hep C may also cause fatigue. Some medications that treat Hep C can cause anemia making you feel tired all the time.
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Medications you may be on
Some medications can make you feel tired all the time. Such medications include some blood pressure medications.
If you are on a medication such as Atenolol, or any medication ending in lol, you may feel fatigued. However, these are not the only mediations that cause fatigue.
Other medications such as those for acid reflux can make it hard to absorb vitamin B 12. And lack of vitamin B 12 can lead to anemia because vitamin B12 is necessary to produce healthy red blood cells. So if the acid reflux medication you are on is keeping you from absorbing B12 from your food, you may have anemia and feel fatigued all the time.
There are many other medications as well that may make you feel tired all the time.
So try to see if the fatigue started after your new medications and talk to your doctor.
Chronic pain conditions can leave one feeling tired all the time.
If you suffer chronic pain, you most likely don’t sleep well and so will feel tired all the time.
Talk to your doctor about pain control.
Also, you may want to see a natural path doctor as well as they are more willing to explore natural remedies to some chronic problems.
Cancer is a scary and painful and very debilitating condition that sucks all the energy out of the person.
If you have chronic fatigue and you don’t know why see a doctor because if you have a serious illness you want to know to start getting treatment.
Unfortunately, the treatments are just as bad due to many side effects.
Chemo and radiation kill the bad and the good cells too leaving one exhausted and weak and vulnerable to other medical problems including a weakened immune system.
In some cases, other problems like diarrhea and vomiting, ulceration of the mucosa happen, making it hard to eat. All of these are very debilitating and fatigue is almost a constant.
Eating the wrong foods and Nutritional deficiencies
Another common reason you may feel fatigued is having nutrient deficiencies. Are you eating lots of processed foods?
If your diet consists of lots of processed foods and fast food you may be lacking these nutrients. Nutrient deficiencies will cause one to feel chronic fatigue.
A healthy body that is vibrant and full of energy requires not only an optimal number of calories but also the optimal level of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
If you eat fewer calories then you don’t meet your energy needs.
And if your diet is lacking vitamins such as B vitamins you will feel tired too because many of the B vitamins like B3, B1 B9 (folate) are required in energy metabolism.
A deficiency in iron also causes fatigue. Iron deficiency leads to anemia and chronic fatigue and shortness of breath due to insufficient oxygen.
Without optimal iron, blood has low hemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen to the cells so that they can use the oxygen in energy metabolism.
Othe vital nutrients include vitamin D, which is not only required for gene synthesis, and the immune system and a deficiency can also make you feel tired. Your body makes new cells every few days. energy is required for that as well.
Other key nutrients affecting your energy include minerals like potassium and magnesium and sodium.
Optimal potassium helps the heart to work properly, but if low or too much you will feel tired.
Magnesium is an important mineral in energy metabolism and synthesis.
According to a 2012 article in the Critical Kidney Journal, magnesium is required in more than 300 enzymatic reactions including in ATP production. ATP is the energy molecule ATP. Magnesium also helps the cells in glucose metabolism.
Now I know our modern way of life is hurried and we want the easy way- precut veggies and fruits, and cooked foods from the frozen sections. Some of these are okay, except they may have preservatives that are not good for you. If you find it too hard to keep up with your dietary needs, a supplement can help. Meet all your vegetables and fruit needs in this one supplement from The Healthy One
and easily fill the gaps you may have.
Related post: Nutritional deficiencies that cause deficiencies
You have diabetes
When you have diabetes your cells don’t get enough glucose for energy because of insulin resistance. Insulin is the key that opens the cells so they can take in glucose for energy.
So having insulin resistance is like having a broken key or the wrong key. The glucose stays in the blood and the cells cannot get the energy they need to function. You then have high blood sugar followed by many health problems including heart disease, and depression, and this compounds the problem. You feel too tired all the time.
See your doctor if you feel tired all the time. Labs including a glucose test will confirm if you have diabetes. And if already diagnosed make sure to keep your blood within range by following treatment and diet plan.
You are dehydrated
Many people just don’t drink enough fluids and this makes one feel fatigued. Remember your body is 70% water, and water is needed for energy production.
Many drink the wrong drinks like cokes and soft sweetened drinks and energy drinks.
The trouble with these drinks is that they are addictive especially sodas and may not properly hydrate.
And when dehydrated, you tend to feel tired and slow. You may not though realize that you are dehydrated. It is best to be in the habit of having a bottle of water near you at all times. Get a pretty bottle that will motivate you to stay hydrated. I love this Hydro CELL Stainless Steel Water bottle in the purple color, but they have lots of other colors as well.
Drinking water is really the best thing to do to stay hydrated.
LACK OF EXERCISE
You don’t exercise. If you sit all day you are going to feel tired and even fatigued.
Energy begets energy. Exercise produces energy. It makes you feel good too as you get a rise in those endorphins. When you walk or run or do some active activity, your muscles produce energy.
You see the body is made for movement.
It is a machine really. What happens to a car that no one is driving for so long? It breaks down.
The same thing with the body if you sit all the time muscles atrophy and you just feel, meh… and tired.
Start small if you have been sedentary for too long and you will start to feel more energetic and even happy.
Make it a habit to take that walk, even for just 30 minutes every day. You feel more energy and you will sleep way better, and feel refreshed enough to take on your day with energy,
Start a new habit and make exercise part of your everyday life and you will feel so much more energetic and happy.
Shift work and feeling tired all the time
Let’s just say for many people shift work is hard. It is not easy to sleep when the whole world is work and some of them call you or text you or the package arrive and they ring your doorbell and interrupt your sleep.
As an RN, I know how it feels to be a shift worker on the graveyard shift. I have had days when my whole body aches from exhaustion.
This can become chronic fatigue if of course, your body doesn’t adjust and you are just not sleeping enough.
Shift work is hard on the body because one is working and sleeping against the circadian rhythm.
For some and especially those who have to make sure they sleep uninterrupted throughout the day and sleep the right amount of hours they may feel okay. But for many, they just snatch a few hours here and there and that can cause fatigue.
These are some reasons many people feel tired all the time. This list is by no means the full list of all the reasons people feel tired a lot all the time.
Feeling tired all the time is not normal and should never be taken lightly. Always seek medical care so labs can be done. Be your own health advocate and ask questions. Request labs. Do your research and let your doctor know if you have questions you need to be answered from what you find in research.
Finally being your own advocate also means taking your health maintenance seriously. So commit to exercise, sleep well, reduce stress, and eat right at least. If you have a chronic condition already causing you to feel so tired, let your doctor know too and a new health plan can be agreed on.
Here is to staying healthy and vibrant!