The pandemic forced many people to remain inside for an extended period. Of course, it was for everyone’s safety to reduce infection rates, but after two years of staying inside constantly, it can take a toll on one’s mental health. Furthermore, the reason for this is that it reduces a person’s exposure to sunlight, which helps the body release vitamin D, an essential vitamin that helps with mood regulation. Improving exposure to sunlight can increase these amounts, so stop staying inside and start heading out (safely masked, of course).
Because vitamin D helps with circadian rhythm, a lack of it can make a person feel more fatigued than they are. The circadian rhythm is the wake-sleep cycle: we feel more awake when the sun is out and tired when the sun goes down. So having that diffused light through windows can affect how that rhythm works. Low energy levels are likely a result of staying inside too much for too long, so spend some time in the sun, or you can start adding vitamin D supplements to your diet.
Alcohol is known as a downer or depressant: it slows down brain activity and can have a calming effect on the body. However, they can also cause low blood pressure, slurred speech, headaches, dizziness, and poor concentration. Drinking alcohol in excess can even lead to a person blacking out, and although it has a calming effect to help you fall asleep, it can later affect your quality of sleep.
After having alcohol, the body’s epinephrine level goes up several hours later, causing heart rates to elevate, resulting in nighttime awakenings. Alcohol can also cause the throat muscles to relax too much, leading to sleep apnea and other breathing problems that can interfere with sleeping. Moreover, frequent drinkers are aware of the groggy hangovers they have the next day, leaving them feeling fatigued. It’s best to reduce one’s alcohol intake if fatigue is a real problem that interferes with the daily operation of your life.
Some medications warn patients that they can cause fatigue and dizziness. The four big culprits for causing fatigue include antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medication, and anti-anxiety medications. Antidepressants can cause fatigue because they work on regulating serotonin, which is a mood chemical in the brain responsible for sleep. By boosting serotonin, the body’s natural response is to want to sleep more, hence the fatigue. Antihistamines make you drowsy because they block the histamines that cause you to itch and sneeze but are also responsible for your brain’s normal functions. Blocking these histamines stops these functions, leading you to feel drowsy.
Blood pressure medication can make you feel fatigued because they inhibit the production of adrenaline, which makes your heartbeat rapidly; depressing this will lead to a slower heart rate, causing you to feel more tired. Dosages can be reduced to counteract this or to change to an ACE inhibitor that works on lowering blood pressure without making you feel drowsy and tired. Anti-anxiety medications can cause fatigue because they bind to a chemical called GABA, which causes the body and brain to relax. That is to reduce anxiety symptoms, but it can work too well, leaving you feeling extremely tired.
It can be a real struggle for many people with chronic pain to get out of bed in the morning. Not many people know where their pain and fatigue come from, but it could result from fibromyalgia. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, though many doctors believe that trauma, infection, or genetics may play a role. Fibromyalgia symptoms include sleep issues, fatigue, joint swelling, morning stiffness, headaches, and widespread pain.
To treat fibromyalgia, you need a proper diagnosis, which can be difficult. The real problem is providing relief from the pain without causing excess sedation. The problem is that fibromyalgia presents like many other diseases, including lupus, anemia, and multiple sclerosis, just to name a few. It is a disorder that affects how the brain and spinal cord process painful and nonpainful signals to the point that they can’t tell the difference. Fibromyalgia typically presents after a specific event, such as physical trauma, surgery, or infection. If you fear that you may have fibromyalgia, it’s crucial to speak to your doctor as soon as possible to receive a diagnosis.
If you go to bed and still wake up tired, you could have sleep apnea. This interruption in your sleeping pattern can happen because your brain is not receiving enough oxygen. Your sleep could be interrupted as often as 100 times a night, so you feel extremely tired in the morning even if you believe you’ve slept for hours. Your brain senses that you’re not breathing and will send signals to wake you from sleep so that you can start breathing properly again.
There are two kinds of sleep apnea, OSA and CSA. OSA is obstructive sleep apnea and results from your muscles relaxing too much and causing an obstruction in your throat that prevents enough air from getting to your lungs. CSA is central sleep apnea, where your brain isn’t telling your body to keep breathing when you’re asleep. Both are extremely serious conditions that interfere with your natural sleep stages and leave you feeling very exhausted the next day.
Being active throughout your daily life is essential, but it can be challenging to get up and move around. Unfortunately, people have become more sedentary, which has impacted people’s energy levels. On average, people should be getting at least 30 minutes of medium-paced exercise every day to help their bodies stay healthy. However, more and more people are becoming more sedentary in life, which has increased the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. So what is considered “sedentary”? This would be a deficiency in physical activity for long, uninterrupted periods.
On average, you should be getting up and moving every 60 minutes of sitting down. Even if you can’t get in a full solid 30 minutes of exercise, you can improve your energy levels by just getting up and moving around more frequently during the day. The goal should be to aim for at least three to six minutes of movement for every sixty minutes of sitting or lying down. Get a small set of bike pedals you can use while sitting or do some squats right in front of your chair. Moving around in your workspace is better than doing nothing at all.
Not many people know just how many carbs are involved in their everyday diets. Bread, pasta, whole grains, and processed foods are an introductory portion of almost every meal. Nevertheless, some people overdo it, leading to a carb intake that is much too high. Although carbohydrates are necessary for the body to function by providing energy, eating too many carbs will only leave you feeling more sluggish than energized. That is because too many carbs elevate your blood sugar, which causes your body to have short bursts of energy and then eventually crash.
It could be time to look at what you’re eating daily to determine if carbs are the culprit for why you’re constantly feeling tired. Get a food diary and start writing down what’s in your meals and the portion sizes; cut back on the carbs portion of your diet to see if this makes a difference. Of course, if you’re already on a strict diet, it’s essential that you speak to your doctor first before making any changes to your diet to ensure you’re not causing more harm than good.
Have you ever spent a day out during summer and quickly felt fatigued? After talking about being inside too much can lead to fatigue, you think more sunlight would make you feel more energized. And it does; the problem is heat. Heat can make you feel more fatigued than you are. Why? Because your body is in overdrive to keep your body cool. The first process is vasodilation, where the blood dilates and flows to the skin’s surface to shed the heat within the body.
The second process is sweating, keeping the skin cool as the sweat evaporates. Through sweating, heart and metabolic rate also go up, which eats up a ton of energy and leaves you feeling tired. That is why it’s essential to remain hydrated during the summer months to help with this cooling process and not stay out in the sun for extended periods. If water isn’t your thing, eat some watermelon or drink coconut water. The electrolytes they contain can also help to boost your energy levels.
Anemia is a condition resulting from not having enough iron in your blood. Your body requires iron to create hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that allows it to carry oxygen to the blood vessels. Less iron means less opportunity for this oxygen-carrying purpose, so a person with anemia will feel fatigued. Unusual tiredness is usually the first symptom of anemia, and it’s also a common symptom in those who don’t have enough iron in their blood without actually being anemic.
Without this hemoglobin, your heart has to work overtime to provide enough oxygen to the rest of the blood, further increasing fatigue. A reduction of hemoglobin also means that there is not enough oxygen getting to the brain, impacting memory, mood, and concentration. You could detect anemia at home if you look at the inside of your bottom eyelid or gums; if they appear paler than usual, you could have anemia. You should seek the advice of a doctor immediately.
Not many people know that they can have a food intolerance until it’s too late. That is not the same as having a food allergy, like peanut and shellfish allergies. Food intolerance doesn’t produce an immune reaction to a specific food group. The most common one is being lactose-intolerant. While a food allergy will deliver an anaphylactic shock, food intolerance can produce pain, discomfort, and intestinal distress. However, another common symptom is fatigue.
Fatigue can result from inflammation or immune response by the body. Since the body has to work harder to get rid of the food in the stomach, you use much energy in the process. That can leave you feeling much more tired than the energized feeling you should have after eating a meal. If you notice that you’re feeling more tired than usual after a meal (that is not carb-heavy), you may need to begin keeping a food diary to figure out the cause of your fatigue. Then you can start eliminating certain foods to see what the root cause of the problem is.
Hydration is essential for the human body to function normally. Every organ and cell within it relies on the presence of water, so when you’re not replenishing the water that’s being used, then everything starts to go a little haywire. Not many people remember to drink enough water each day; one way to combat that is to fill a water bottle and just keep it with you throughout the day. You’re going to feel thirsty, and instead of stopping to get an iced coffee, you’ll already have your hydration by your side.
Among the many symptoms you could experience because of dehydration, fatigue is one of the big ones. Your energy levels can plummet fast, and you can also experience brain fog because your brain requires hydration. Just be aware of how much you’re drinking each day. You don’t want to overdo it because too much hydration can lead to fluid overload and the brain swelling up.
Everyone is supposed to get about seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Going to bed regularly each night can also help you improve your sleep quality. However, did you know that you can feel fatigued from having too much sleep? This happens because it is a deviation from your body’s regular patterns. So your body and brain are not sure what to do when you’re getting more sleep than you should.
Doctors recommend that you figure out how many hours work for you and stick with it, even on the weekends and during holidays. You’ll feel more refreshed if you stick to the same sleep schedule every day because that is what your body becomes adjusted to. Of course, if you’ve tried changing your hours and still feel fatigued, it may be time to seek a professional opinion on the source of your exhaustion.
Those who experience stress regularly may notice that they feel exhausted after a particularly stressful situation. They want nothing more than to go to bed and close their eyes. That isn’t a defense mechanism to get away from the stress; it is a biological response to what the body is doing. During stress, the body releases cortisol, a stress hormone, which flows through the rest of the body. Elevated cortisol levels can then lead to decreased energy and interfere with sleep.
Stress is the number one cause of insomnia, a widespread sleeping disorder. That is because cortisol puts the body in a heightened state that takes a while to recover from, affecting the other brain chemicals needed for the body to function normally. Furthermore, because stress is more likely to lead to insomnia, the lack of sleep further exacerbates the fatigue a person can experience.
One important reason you could start feeling fatigued is that you might be in the early stages of pregnancy. Symptoms can show up before you’ve even taken a pregnancy test, and that’s because your body is already going through the hormonal and physical changes that come with being pregnant. Other than a missed period, one of the prominent symptoms is being extremely tired. Why? Because the body goes into overdrive to maintain the pregnancy and start developing milk-producing glands in the breasts for the future.
Some women have even experienced severe exhaustion as early as one week after conception, making it one of the first noticeable signs of pregnancy. Remember that fatigue could also be a symptom of a hormonal imbalance that has nothing to do with being pregnant. If you suspect either of these conditions, you should seek the advice of a medical professional as soon as possible. That way, you know what to prepare for in the future.
Did you know that exhaustion could be a symptom of diabetes? There are two types of diabetes: one where blood sugar is too high and one where blood sugar is too low. In each extreme, you’re going to experience lethargy. Why? Because there is an imbalance between the blood glucose levels and how much insulin is circulating throughout the body. Knowing your blood glucose levels could help you better maintain it through diet and exercise.
A person feels tired when too much sugar is present in the blood. Why? Because there is not enough insulin to process it and bring it to the cells as energy, or the insulin is not working effectively enough. That is why you will feel tired. When it comes to low blood sugar levels, the body has run out of fuel, so like a car without gas, the body will feel tired. You need to monitor blood sugar levels closely to determine what remedies can help prevent fatigue.
Anyone who has had a major depressive episode can tell you that they feel fatigued regularly. That is because depression interferes with both the physical and mental functioning of the body as a whole. Depression can cause severe fatigue and make even the most basic tasks feel nigh impossible. The best means of determining whether you have severe depression is you schedule a physical exam with your primary care doctor to see whether your severe fatigue is related to your depression.
According to a study published in Psychiatry Research, 90% of depressed patients participating in the survey reported severe fatigue, making it a prevalent symptom. The worst part is that 81% of those patients were already on antidepressants, which can further increase the fatigue symptom. If you fear that you may have severe depression, speak to your primary care physician immediately and see if you can get help in treating your depression, especially if one of your symptoms is extreme fatigue.
There is no such thing as the perfect body; everyone is different in their own way, and trying to meet a certain standard in terms of weight or looks isn’t going to make you more healthy. However, being overweight or underweight can impact levels of fatigue. That isn’t to say that you have to meticulously meet some magic weight number to be cured; instead, you should strive to be a healthy weight that doesn’t cause fatigue.
Being overweight can increase conditions such as fatigue because it also increases the risks of diabetes and sleep apnea. Carrying more weight than your body can handle leads to more joint and muscle pain, making fatigue worse. Being underweight can also lead to fatigue because there is not enough fuel for the body to function. It could be due to eating disorders, cancer, an overactive thyroid, or other chronic diseases that can cause dramatic weight loss.
Eating right can play a big part in your energy levels, which means having a nutritionally-sound diet. Just as if you put the wrong kind of fuel in your car, if you eat the wrong type of food, it will stop working properly, which can leave you feeling more tired than you should. Fried foods, processed grains, and foods with a lot of added sugar will overload your body with more calories than they need, forcing it to work overtime to break down these foods and leaving you feeling tired in the process.
Having too much caffeine and alcohol in your diet is also bad for energy levels because they interrupt your natural waking cycle. Invest your time in healthier foods that aren’t fried and have more dietary fiber to get your metabolic rates back in balance. Simple adjustments to your diet can provide you with a surprising boost to your energy levels and allow you to get more done during your day.