Sometimes as women we wear exhaustion like a badge of honor. With modern life being so busy and women doing more than ever before, it is easy to blow off the fact that you feel tired all the time. But you shouldn’t.
Feeling tired all the time is not normal and warrants a closer look by your doctor. However, you may also find yourself asking, ” why am I so tired all the time?” or ” why do I feel sleepy all the time.”
In all these cases getting to the bottom of your exhaustion is important. First, you want to know the reason you feel so exhausted all the time, and then you can address it and get your life back.
Why Am I always so tired?
Chronic fatigue is an indication that something is wrong and you should find out what it is 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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Why do I 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.
However many women don’t get that amount of sleep. Women tend to carry the big share of the housekeeping and child care duties and so you may find that when you get home from work you still have another job to do.
And to do it all you may find yourself staying up late cleaning up, packing lunches, or even just getting caught up watching Netflix in an attempt to unwind.
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 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.
Try to fix your sleep schedule if you are feeling tired all the time.
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Do you find yourself asking “why am I always so tired?” A major and very serious cause of feeling exhausted all the time is heart disease.
When you have heart disease it means your heart is not pumping blood well to all the cells. And so your body is starved of oxygen. Heart disease may include conditions such as CHF or coronary artery disease.
Sometimes a malformation of the heart, like a hole in the heart may have been missed and all these can make you feel very very tired all the time.
These conditions make you feel exhausted with just a lit bit of exertion such as a little walk or household chores. So it is extremely important to see your doctor to determine why you are so tired.
Another common reason for low energy levels in females 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
Yes, women suffer from sleep apnea too. Many women also experience hormonal imbalance due to hormonal shifts in the childbearing years as well as later in the premenopause and menopause phases.
These hormonal shifts may cause or exacerbate fatigue. And therefore, hormonal imbalance is a big reason for low energy in females.
Apart from the sifts in estrogen and progesterone other hormonal imbalances that cause fatigue include hypothyroidism 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 this happens over and over even hundreds of times during the night.
In sleep apnea, the upper airway gets 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.
Due to repeated sleep interruptions, you don’t get deep restorative sleep or REM sleep. This then causes your 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 are will determine what the problem is. If the doctor finds you have sleep apnea a CPAP machine is usually recommended to keep your airway open while you sleep.
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 weak 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.
And 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 a 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
When you have depression you do feel tired a lot. Depression just drags one down. The lack of interest and motivation, and 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 medications 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 and unfortunately many women also suffer more incidents of chronic pain than men. It is no wonder then that many women also tend to have low energy levels more often than men.
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 naturopathic doctor as well as they are more willing to explore natural remedies for many chronic health 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, and 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 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.
Nutrition deficiency and lack of energy
Other vital nutrients for energy include vitamin D, which is required for energy metabolism, gene synthesis, the immune system, and many functions in the body so but a deficiency can also make you feel tired.
Also, minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium are required for energy metabolism.
Optimal potassium helps the heart to work properly, but if low or too much you will feel tired.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals 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 and of course, all cells need glucose for energy.
So if you have a magnesium deficiency one likely symptom is fatigue because you are not producing enough of the energy-making molecule, ATP. And there are so many we can be deficient in magnesium in our modern world including lack of dietary intake, excess stress leading to magnesium depletion, medications, and hormonal imbalances.
If you find it too hard to keep up with your dietary needs, a magnesium supplement can help. Check with your doctor first because taking any new supplements is. f you are cleared to take supplements, you may want to try this one supplement from The Healthy One
and easily fill the nutritional gaps you may have.
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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 the treatment and diet plan.
You are dehydrated
Not staying hydrated can leave you feeling fatigued. Unfortunately, many people just don’t drink enough fluids and live with chronic dehydration. This is a big problem and one reason you may feel so tired all the time.
Remember your body is 70% water, and water is needed for energy production. If your drink of choice is a diet of Dr pepper, coke or Mountain Dew, or the many other soft drinks common today, you are likely not hydrating well.
First of all these drinks are addictive and don’t do anything to improve your health. They are simply empty calories.
Plus they are full of sugar or toxic sugar alcohols, fake sugars, and other toxins. The sugar will dehydrate you and most likely you will reach for another one and you are still dehydrated.
And when dehydrated you 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
Another common reason that causes fatigue and feeling tired all the time is lack of exercise. A sedentary lifestyle leads to fatugue. If you sit all day you are going to feel tired.
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 is 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
If you are still tired after 8 hours of sleep you may be a shift worker.
Let’s just say for many people shift work is hard. It is not easy to sleep when the whole world is working and some of them call you or text you or the package arrives 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.
why am I so tired all the time?
As you can now see, when you start asking questions such as why am I tired all the time, or why am I sleepy and have no energy all the time, chances are the above reasons are the cause.
But feeling tired all the time is not normal and should never be taken lightly. Always seek medical care so labs can be done to determine the cause of your extreme fatigue.
Be your own health advocate and ask questions. Request labs. Also do your research and let your doctor know if you have questions you related to what you find in your research.
Finally being your own advocate also means taking your health maintenance seriously. So commit to exercise, sleep well, reduce stress, and eat right. 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!