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Why Are You So Tired? 10 Common Causes of Fatigue

We all get tired sometimes. But if you’re sleepy all the time or unable to get out of bed even when you want to, then you may be experiencing fatigue. If you’re wondering why you’re so tired or are concerned that you’re feeling exhausted too often, read on. We’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons why you may be feeling tired all the time. 

Fatigue, a feeling of weariness or tiredness, is a common symptom that people experience. You may feel a general lack of energy or wonder why you’re so tired all the time. Sometimes fatigue is caused by a simple issue, such as lack of sleep, changing hormones during puberty or menopause, or a poor diet. Other times, it can be a symptom of a serious medical issue. There are many reasons why you may feel sleepy all the time. Here are some of them. 

If you’re experiencing persistent fatigue, your doctor may recommend a blood analysis. When your body doesn’t have enough iron, you may develop iron deficiency anemia. Your blood needs iron to produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Without iron, your blood can’t carry oxygen efficiently, so your brain, muscles, and organs have less oxygen to work with. 

A common symptom of iron deficiency anemia is fatigue. It may also come with dizziness or lightheadedness, weakness, and a fast heartbeat. You may not be able to get off the couch or out of bed. Iron deficiency anemia is common when you are pregnant or experience heavy menstruation

If you are sleepy all the time but get at least six hours of sleep a night, you may have a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders can get in the way of a restful night of sleep and make you feel sleepy during the day. There are a few different types of sleep disorders including: 

  • Obstructive sleep apnea 
  • Insomnia (difficulty falling and/or staying asleep)
  • Narcolepsy (a neurological disorder that interferes with sleep–wake cycle regulation)
  • Hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness at inappropriate times)
  • Restless leg syndrome 

All of these disorders interrupt your sleeping cycles, making it difficult or impossible to fall or stay asleep, and can make you feel exhausted all the time. Sleep disorders can force your brain to be active when it should be resting. If your disorder goes unchecked, your body will become fatigued because it’s not receiving the restful sleep it needs to function properly.

If you’re feeling tired all the time, you may need to adjust your diet. Healthy food contains vitamins and minerals that our bodies need but cannot make on their own. If you don’t eat a balanced diet every day, then your body may be lacking in some of those vital nutrients. 

Eating a poor diet is like trying to build a brick wall without any mortar. Eventually, your body will start to feel fatigued because it’s trying to function without everything it needs. Every body is different and needs nutrients in different amounts in order to work optimally. If you are feeling exhausted all the time and wonder if you’re eating enough, talk to your doctor about adding nutrient-rich foods to your daily diet. 

Stress is a common cause of fatigue. Lots of people experience stress during their daily lives, but sometimes it can be overwhelming and make you feel exhausted all the time. 

Stress can have many possible sources: work, finances, time management, relationships, etc. When stress is dominating your life, it has real effects on the body. Prolonged amounts of stress can cause fatigue and brain fog, making you feel tired all the time. 

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can also affect your entire body and cause fatigue. Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located at the front of your neck. It produces hormones that control the metabolism of your body’s cells and tissues (in other words, how your body uses energy). It regulates your heartbeat, body weight, nervous system, menstrual cycle, as well as how you respond to stressors. 

If your thyroid is underactive, your whole body can slow down and you may experience symptoms like fatigue, weakness, sleeping problems, weight gain, depression, irritability, memory loss, constipation, and irregular periods. If you’re feeling tired all the time and your doctor has ruled out things like diet and sleep problems, they may consider testing you for a hormone imbalance. These tests can determine if your thyroid is working properly.

If you have diabetes, it can be difficult to properly care for yourself because of fatigue. Doctors have noticed that many of their diabetic patients also suffer from fatigue

Diabetes fatigue syndrome is a multifactorial syndrome of fatigue in patients with diabetes. The causes of fatigue in patients with diabetes vary, from lifestyle and nutritional problems to medical, endocrine, and psychological ones. If you maintain a healthy diet, stay on top of your medication, but are still experiencing tiredness with your diabetes, then talk to your doctor. You may be experiencing fatigue, which can start to impair your ability to manage your condition.

Antihistamines, antidepressants, anxiety medication, blood pressure medication, and cough medication all come with a possible side effect of fatigue. If you use any of these types of medication and are feeling tired all the time, then talk to your doctor to see if your medication may be the culprit.

You may feel fatigued due to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious, long-term illness characterized by at least six months of extreme fatigue that is not relieved by rest, which interferes with your usual activities. The syndrome is twice as common in women and usually affects people between 25 and 45 years old. This syndrome is a collection of symptoms that can include:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Brain fog
  • Memory impairment
  • Joint pain 
  • General malaise 
  • Feeling sleepy all the time

The exact cause of this syndrome is unknown, but there are factors like autoimmune conditions, brain abnormalities (especially in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland), and some infections that are thought to play a role in the development of chronic fatigue syndrome. If you are exhausted all the time and experience any of these symptoms for six months or longer, your doctor may diagnose you with CFS. 

If your body is not being fully utilized, it will usually be in a resting state. People with desk jobs often have an inactive lifestyle. If you don’t perform heavy labor and feel tired all the time, you might not be active enough.

Having an inactive lifestyle can have negative effects on the body, making you feel fatigued and sleepy all the time.

You can make simple changes and transform your fatigue into energy by taking these small steps:

  • Stand and stretch every hour while you sit at a desk.
  • Stretch in the morning when you wake up.
  • Walk for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Add nutritious food to your diet.

Simple changes that you can manage even when fatigued can help turn your inactive lifestyle around. Start with just one, like stretching every morning when you wake up. You may notice an increase in energy right away.

One of the best ways to manage your fatigue is to keep a fatigue diary. Things to note in your diary are:

  • Date and time
  • How you feel (physical and mental)
  • Any difficulty concentrating
  • Any difficulty getting out of bed
  • Any muscle soreness
  • Any headaches
  • Any difficulty completing daily tasks

If you notice that you are experiencing symptoms of fatigue for more than six months, visit your doctor and bring your fatigue diary with you. They can use your notes to better understand the type of fatigue you are experiencing. 

Determining the cause of your fatigue is the first step. If you are feeling tired all the time, it may have a simple cause such as an inactive lifestyle. You can help improve this by moving a little every hour, walking, and increasing the amount and variety of nutritious food in your diet. 

Fatigue can sometimes be a sign that something else is wrong. Keep track of your symptoms and talk to your doctor if you are feeling tired all the time. They can run tests, check your hormones, and see if your current medication may be causing your fatigue.

It’s important to remember that fatigue affects your whole self, mentally and physically. It can make you feel tired and sap your energy. It can be hard to complete daily tasks when experiencing fatigue. Ask your loved ones for support if you need help, and talk to your doctor if it becomes too difficult to take care of your basic daily needs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1124000/

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/fatigue-older-adults

https://medlineplus.gov/chronicfatiguesyndrome.html

https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/iron-deficiency-anemia

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/always-tired-you-may-have-sleep-apnea

https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/key_disorders.html

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4539866/

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003088.htm

https://www.btf-thyroid.org/what-is-thyroid-disorder

https://www.thyroid.org/hypothyroidism/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/when-depression-starts-in-the-neck

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6064586/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-a-to-z

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