Feeling tired at the end of a long day, or after a strenuous bout of physical activity is perfectly natural, but after a good night’s sleep, you should wake up refreshed and ready to do it all again. If you find that you aren’t recharging your batteries overnight, and you feel over-tired every day, that’s not good for your health, and you need to find out why you feel the way you do. Fatigue becomes self-perpetuating, making everything in life a struggle and eventually getting you down. If you can isolate the cause of your tiredness, you will be able to take steps to eliminate the reasons for the way you feel and get back to being happy and full of energy.
The first thing to do is look at your sleep patterns and see if you’re getting the right amount of good quality rest and sleep. Most people need around eight hours of sleep in any twenty-four hour period, although some may need more, and a few are perfectly healthy with less. Forcing yourself to have less sleep because you don’t want to waste time being unconscious is an admirable theory, but you can’t fight the biological needs of your mind and body. If you normally sleep for seven hours a night, try going to bed an hour earlier each night, so you are getting eight hours sleep, and see if that makes a difference. You can also get too much sleep, which ironically can also make you feel tired. The trick is to find out how much sleep is optimum for you and stick to that amount every night.
Rest and relaxation
R and R is vital to your wellbeing, and sleep alone is not sufficient to keep you running at full strength. Taking time out of your day to spend doing the activities that you find relaxing, and giving your brain a chance to wind down in the evenings will keep you fit and focused. Time for yourself is not an indulgence; it is an essential aspect of self-care, so don’t feel that you are lazy if you want to read a book for an hour in the evening, or watch some television. Your brain needs diversions from the stresses of everyday life if it is to function well, and if you aren’t getting enough relaxation time, you will start to feel tired.
It’s a surprisingly simple fix to a common problem, but it could just be that you aren’t drinking enough. Most people aren’t very good at regulating their fluid intake and may fall short of the recommended water consumption per day. One of the first symptoms of mild dehydration is fatigue and sleepiness, so it’s worth monitoring how much fluid you consume during the average day. If you’re drinking less than one and a half liters of fluids every day, there’s a good chance you’re not getting enough. Try increasing the number of drinks you have each day, and make sure a proportion of what you drink is water. Remember, alcoholic drinks don’t count as they have a diuretic effect, which means they cause your body to excrete more water than the volume they are contributing.
Once you’ve looked at all the basic causes of fatigue and addressed any problems you’ve found, see whether it makes a difference. Give it a week or so to let your body adjust to any changes and recover from the fatigue before assessing whether your interventions have been successful. If you are still feeling tired, stress is the next most likely cause. Many of us lead stressful, busy lives and find it hard to switch off. With so much going on all the time, your stress levels can increase to the extent that they start to have physical effects on your body, so if you do feel stressed it’s important to take steps to reduce your causal factors and lower your stress levels.
Hormones can have some quite drastic effects on the way you feel. Whether it’s down to health issues or the effects of aging, the influence of hormonal activity and fluctuation can be behind many of the negative emotions you might experience. Lowered levels of hormones can cause or exacerbate negative feelings and affect mental alertness. You can find out more about the effects of hormones on your body and possible solutions for the problem at BodyLogicMD. This applies to men and women, so don’t dismiss this as a possible explanation for your feelings.
Diet and exercise
If you live on takeaways and don’t do much exercise, your body will be unfit, and you’ll struggle to be focused and alert. Make some changes to your diet that will increase its nutritional value, and avoid too many carbohydrates. Taking up exercise may seem an unlikely cure for fatigue, but it has been shown in research that doing some exercise each day will improve your physical strength and resilience, and it’s important that if you feel tired, you make an effort to do some exercise that’s suitable for you and your stage of fitness.
You could be suffering from an underlying health condition that is affecting your energy levels. Diabetics, for example, may not notice the subtle changes when the disease first manifests itself. If you’ve had a bout of the flu, you could be suffering from post-viral fatigue, which leaves you feeling exhausted and drained for some time afterward. A routine blood test should pick up any possible conditions that may be causing fatigue problems. You may also be deficient in certain essential vitamins or minerals. A lack of iron resulting in anemia is notorious for causing fatigue, but get a blood test to check before self-medicating so you can be sure you’re treating the right deficiency.
There are many possible causes for fatigue, but it’s important to work your way through the potential reasons methodically because in many cases some simple lifestyle changes and better habits will resolve the problem.