Tiredness can be the result of a variety of reasons. Usually it is related to lifestyle factors such as sleep, diet, exercise, and stress but sometimes it is the result of a medical condition. The six most common medical reason for tiredness will be discussed later, but first we’ll look at the different lifestyle factors, because more often than not changes to your lifestyle can help to improve your energy levels.
If you are constantly feeling tired, you should start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Are you getting enough good quality sleep?
- Are you eating a balanced diet?
- Are you getting some regular exercise?
- Are you dealing with anything particularly stressful at the moment?
These may seem obvious but often there is a simple solution to improving your energy levels. However, if you think your tiredness is not the result of lifestyle factors or it is accompanied by other symptoms you should see your doctor so that they can identify the cause of your tiredness.
There are many reasons you could be feeling sluggish all day even if you’re getting enough sleep. It could be a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome. But it could also mean something less severe, that can be easily prevented by adopting healthier habits. For example, by changing your diet or by simply drinking more water.
We don’t want to look like zombies all the time, so we’re glad there are simple steps we can take to avoid that!
1. You aren`t eating properly.
Refined carbs can be a quick source of energy. When you eat something like breakfast cereal, cookies, pasta, or pizza, the refined carbs in them cause your blood sugar to spike, and you feel more energized. However, when your blood sugar levels drop, you’ll start feeling tired again. And if you keep snacking on foods that contain refined carbs, you’ll end up feeling fatigued throughout the whole day.
Try to eat less sugar and processed carbs, and replace them with fiber-rich foods, like oats, lentils, and vegetables.
2. You aren’t active enough.
You might think that if you come home tired after work, lying on the couch could help you save energy and make you feel a bit more energized. It’s important to get at least some exercise a couple of times a week, and it will help you feel less tired all the time. A 2008 study showed that young adults who did just 20 minutes of low-intensity exercise 3 times a week had higher energy levels and lower levels of fatigue.
3. You aren’t getting enough quality sleep.
You might feel tired even after getting your recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This is because the quality of your sleep is just as important as how long you sleep. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
Also don’t drink coffee late in the day, and don’t spend your time before sleep on your phone or watching TV. This will help you improve the quality of your sleep and you might not feel as tired during the day.
4. You have food sensitivities.
If you feel tired for no reason during the day, it might be a sign that you have a food intolerance. Some of the most common are gluten, dairy, and eggs.
5. You aren’t drinking enough water.
If you don’t replace the water that your body loses as a result of its biochemical reactions, you’ll become dehydrated. This can lead to lower energy levels and make it difficult to concentrate. A study showed that men who drank water to replace what they’ve lost while working out on a treadmill felt less tired than when they didn’t drink water.
6. You’re stressed.
Research has shown that high stress levels can cause fatigue. Moreover, one study found that avoiding dealing with stress can lead to higher levels of fatigue. Yoga and meditation can help you relieve it.
7. You might need more vitamins.
There might also be not enough iron, vitamin D, or vitamin B12 in your diet. Some of the foods that are high in iron are spinach, broccoli, red meat, and turkey. B12 can be found in milk, eggs, salmon, and beef, or you can take it as a supplement. To get more vitamin D, eat more mushrooms, fatty fish, and seafood. Also, try to spend more time in the sun.
8. Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME) is an extreme form of tiredness that can prevent you from carrying out everyday activities, and it usually lasts for at least six months. If you have CFS you will usually have other symptoms, such as a sore throat and muscle and joint pain.
For more information, support, and practical advice about living with CFS you can go to the ME Association’s website.
9. Glandular fever
Glandular fever is a viral infection that causes fatigue, along with a fever, sore throat, and swollen glands.
Whilst most people don’t develop complications from glandular fever, they can occur in rare cases. If you have glandular fever and you experience sudden, intense abdominal pain you should see a doctor immediately.
10. Underactive thyroid
An underactive thyroid (also known as hypothyroidism) can cause you to feel tired because not enough thyroid hormone – which metabolises food to create energy – is being released. Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid include weight gain and aching muscles.
There are many different reasons for feelings of tiredness, but usually extreme tiredness can be resolved with some simple changes to your lifestyle. Make sure you are getting enough, good quality sleep, that you are eating a healthy and balanced diet, you exercise regularly, and that you take time to relax. If your lifestyle is not the problem or you have other symptoms there could be a medical cause for your tiredness including: anaemia, hypothyroidism, CFS, depression, anxiety, and glandular fever. Usually your symptoms of tiredness will go away if you follow the information above but if you are concerned about your symptoms try our ‘When to Worry’ feature to get more information on tiredness.
Do you ever feel tired, even though you get enough sleep? Why do you think this happens in your case?