You eat at a decent hour before 6 p.m., turn off all electronic devices, shut off the lights and force yourself to go to sleep on time — and yet you still wake up with zero energy. Sound familiar? Feeling tired can loom over you like an ominous dark cloud of despair. Once your body feels tired, focusing can be a major hurdle, your emotions are erratic and the day seems to creep by slowly. Sometimes, taking all the necessary steps to avoid exhaustion inevitably lands you right back in the exhausted zone. Take a look at these five reasons you feel tired all the time.
Being dehydrated is one of the scariest causes of being tired all the time. Because dehydration isn’t always easily detected, it can easily sneak up on you if you’re unaware of the symptoms. Dehydration occurs when your body doesn’t have enough water. When this occurs, the body will feel fatigued and can’t function properly. Being just a little dehydrated can even alter a person’s mood, energy level and ability to think clearly.
Dehydration can be caused by drinking too many sodas, getting overheated, illness, menstrual cycles and stress. Neglecting to drink enough water can cause you to feel sluggish and foggy because cells shrink from lack of water. The shrinkage of cells is detected by two types of brain sensors, one controlling drinking and the other controlling the excretion of urine by sending a message to the kidneys. When this happens, the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin produces a smaller volume of more concentrated urine.
The amount of water your body requires varies for each individual, even for those who are sedentary. On average, doctors recommend about 15.5 cups of fluids for men and 11.5 cups of fluids a day for women.
When I was in college, there was a time period where I was extremely tired no matter how much rest I had. It was very frustrating and I couldn’t figure out why. I tried exercise and sleeping early but nothing helped. I later discovered that I was anemic and needed to increase my iron levels to solve the issue. Anemia occurs when the body has lower-than-normal levels of red blood cells.
Anemia is a result of a low supply of oxygen reaching cells and tissues throughout the body.
Suffering from anemia will make you feel lackluster regardless of the amount of sleep you get. Anemia is connected to low iron levels within the blood as well as low levels of vitamin B12 and folate. Anemia can easily be fixed by eating foods that are rich in iron, vitamin B12 and folate. Eating foods loaded with vitamin C, such as citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables with high levels of iron and folate will help with iron absorption.
Depression can strike at any time and is closely linked with chronic fatigue. Depression happens when someone feels anxious, sad or experiences feelings of hopelessness for long periods of time. One of the major side effects of depression is sleep issues. The sleep issues are typically categorized as insomnia or sleep apnea. If you’re suffering from depression, you may feel tired even if you’re not exerting much energy during daily tasks.
Taking control of fatigue by practicing deep-breathing exercises, stretching and yoga can ease sleepiness-related depression symptoms. Sometimes depression can be fixed by developing a routine, such as going to bed the same time every night, steering clear of naps, and turning off electronic devices before bed.
4. Blood Sugar Imbalance
Junk food is the primary culprit for a rollercoaster ride of exhaustion. When you consume sugary drinks and food, your blood sugar levels spike insanely high followed by a tiring crash afterward. Eating processed foods with added sugars and simple carbohydrates will throw your blood sugar off balance. Blood sugar levels become imbalanced when too much sugar is eaten and the bloodstream responds rapidly because of extreme elevations in blood glucose, essentially creating a “sugar high.” To level out blood sugar levels, you’ll have to significantly reduce sugar intake. If you’re feeling tired all the time, chances are an imbalance of glucose in your blood has something to do with it.
5. Sedentary Lifestyle
Technology rules the world, so it’s no surprise that the number of adults working sedentary jobs has increased significantly since the 1970s. There are thousands of jobs available that can be done right from the comfort of your home. As awesome as that sounds, it can leave us all vulnerable to a chronic case of laziness and declined energy. People who frequently sit, lay down and don’t exercise fall under the “sedentary” zone.
If you’re living a “exercise can wait” lifestyle, it will affect your energy levels. Over the past 20 years, the total amount of sedentary screen time, such as using computers, watching television and playing video games, has increased drastically. To put things into perspective, adults are spending 70 percent or more of their waking hours sitting! Scientists believe people are enjoying over four hours of on-screen entertainment per day and venturing outdoors less frequently.
Doctors recommend exercising several times a week. If you’re tired, studies show engaging in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous activity can increase energy levels and prevent and manage multiple chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers. If the thought of 150 minutes of exercising paralyzes you with fear, consider this: if you break that down, it equates to just 30 minutes of exercise five days a week!
Feeling tired frequently can put a real damper on life, but recognizing the cause of fatigue is the first step to improving your energy. Drink more water, increase your intake of vegetables and fruits, and exercise to significantly spike energy levels within the body. What way have you combatted fatigue? Share your comments below!