Being tired is no fun and can be downright aggravating. Fatigue makes us less productive, less coordinated, irritable, groggy and sometimes miserable to be around. Millions of people suffer from fatigue for unknown reasons. Knowing the unexpected causes of fatigue may be a clue into your sleepiness problem and how to resolve it.
The most obvious cause of fatigue is not getting enough sleep. So that’s not unexpected at all. But why you are not sleeping well may surprise you. Beyond not consuming too much caffeine, sugar and alcohol before bed, your bedtime habits and sleep environment may cause you to be restless during the night. Turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime and keep the lights dim to prepare yourself for sleep. Ensure your bedroom is at an optimal cool temperature, your bed is not cluttered with clothes, books, pets or children. Most of us need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to wake up feeling refreshed.
Now that your sleep habits are in order, we can move on to other unexpected causes of fatigue. Diet is at the top of the list. A balanced diet – one with lots of protein, some healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and tons of fruits and veggies – is one of the best ways to achieve more energy. Too much sugar affects our blood glucose levels causing us to feel sluggish and possibly gain weight. So grabbing that sugar boost in the late afternoon will actually backfire on you by early evening. Also, consuming too much sugar and fat can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes that causes major fatigue. Keep your blood sugar level stable with a wholesome diet throughout the day.
Also important in your diet is Vitamin B, Vitamin D and H2O. Vitamin B, especially B12, and Vitamin D are important nutrients for breaking down glucose into energy. Dietary sources of Vitamin B and D are meat, fish, cheese, eggs, soy and fortified cereals. Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to weak bones and fatigued muscles. Furthermore, water is vital to your energy level too. Dehydration can be overwhelmingly tiring. It’s essential to drink eight to twelve glasses of water daily to keep your cells working at their highest capacity.
Believe it or not, vigorous exercise is a key component to relieving fatigue. You may think that exercise will make you tired but it actually breeds energy. When you move your body – even by simple walking – you accelerate blood flow and allow oxygenated blood to reach every inch of your body. This supports more energy, better mobility and improved cognitive function. It may take a month or two to start feeling the invigorating effects of exercise but stick with it and you’ll notice a significant increase in your daily energy. Try to not exercise within three hours of bedtime to ensure you have time to cool off and wind down properly.
Other unexpected causes of fatigue include hormone imbalances, infections and anemia. When hormones are off-kilter, our bodies can fall out of whack quickly. One huge sign of a hormone issue is fatigue. Hormone imbalance can also lead to depression which acerbates fatigue and low energy. If your body is fighting an infection, you may feel fatigued even if you have no other symptoms. And anemia is a blood condition in which the body does not retain enough iron, causing severe sleepiness.
These unexpected causes of fatigue plague countless people every day. Watch out for the surprising ways you could be causing your own drowsiness. Once you identify them, turn them around to ensure days full of energy and vitality.