Do you get frustrated when even after 8 good hours of sleep you feel exhausted and your eyes keep shutting down? And when you need to take several naps to make it through the day? We understand you… It is more common than you think. About one-third of the population feels overly sleepy or tired. But what are the reasons for this constant fatigue and is there something you can do about it? We’ll find out together!
Tiredness is a symptom of several conditions and diseases, but luckily for us, most of them are quite easy to fix.
‘You are what you eat’, right? Healthy nutrition is always beneficial, especially battling tiredness and fatigue. Follow this analogy to understand it all in few simple steps – human body needs fuel just like cars need gas, so without a continual supply and sufficient calories necessary to perform both physical and mental activities, our ‘body machine’ can become tired on a daily basis as it ran out of fuel. So, regardless of whether your condition is caused by some other reason than nutrition, eating well can help boost your energy level and improve both your cellular and physical condition. Although you probably know it by now, we must emphasize it – the food that you ingest is essential, as the key to healthy eating is choosing ingredients that have adequate nutrition value and consuming it in appropriate portions.
Now the story focuses on carbs, the well-known enemy of anyone who tries to lose a pound or two. When carbs are consumed, they cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar, which sends a signal to our pancreas to produce insulin in order to send sugar out of the blood and into the cells. This change in blood sugar levels can make you feel tired and crave food, more precisely for quick energy which is actually another portion of refined carbs, and you end up in a vicious cycle.
Several studies have shown that minimizing sugar leads to greater energy levels, but another interesting conclusion came up – there is food that helps you fight against fatigue. Try to eat as much fruit and vegetables as possible, red meat, nuts for a protein boost and whole-grain pasta and rice for a complete and well-balanced diet. And also, make sure to eat a lot of vitamins B and D, as lack of them directly affects how much of the food ingested converts into energy and how strong and effective your muscles are.
Sitting can make you tired!?
Well, it turns out that the term ‘mental fatigue’ explains why most of us feel zonked after sitting in an office all day. Although it is not the same thing you feel after working out, it still drains your energy. The brain, in fact, uses a high amount of energy compared to other organs, and 20% of the oxygen we consume gets used by the brain. Even though it seems that you’re not pushing it, just staring at the screen for hours requires a lot of brainpower, and according to the experts, it has similar effects on our body as hours spent in the gym. Our brains are trained to make predictions based on past experiences and to prepare us for how we might react to it, whether you are being interviewed, take an exam or something else. Sitting still can sap your energy, as the body senses this stillness with going to sleep. You are blinking less frequently as well, which leads to dry eyes and eye strain, thus putting you in the ‘silent-mode’.
The general rule is to get up and take a short walk or a little bit of stretching and get a glass of water every half an hour.
Lack of good sleep?
This is probably the most common reason we feel tired. Whether it’s for a late party, insomnia, movie or work, sleep deprivation is a common issue that has effects not only on our focus and good mood but on physical health in general as well. People need around 8 hours of good-quality sleep to function throughout the day, but this changes from each individual to another. Many factors can cause poor sleep, including health conditions, but usually, it is due to bad sleeping habits. An occasional sleepless night or two won’t harm you more than just making you feel exhausted and nervous the next day, but in case you make it a habit, the mental effects become more serious – it will be difficult for you to concentrate and make decisions, the risk of accidents and serious injuries increases as well and you will probably fall asleep sometime during the day. Good night’s rest boosts immunity and your mental wellbeing, so make sure you get enough sleep (it might also help you lose weight when on a diet!). Benefits do not end here – it also decreases the risk of diabetes and heart disease and increases your sex drive and fertility.
Did you know that a human being can survive three weeks without food, but only a few days without water? Well, let us explain the main reason for this – human body is made of, more or less, 60% of water, while two most important organs, brain, and lungs, are also mostly water, so when your body is not hydrated enough, it reflects badly on all your major body functions. Reportedly, 1 in 5 patients who visit their doctors for tiredness is not aware of how much water they should be drinking on a daily basis. Women are supposed to drink 8 and men at least 10 glasses a day, and yet many of us just ignore this unwritten rule. Headaches, poor concentration, and tiredness above all are only some of the symptoms which appear due to inadequate hydration. Watery fruits and vegetables will also do the trick, so make sure you always have either that or a bottle of water by your side.
Too much stress?
Well, this is a pretty much well-known fact. The modern age has caused a stressful surrounding for all generations, and stress is a reflection of how we react to situations perceived as dangerous or threatening, so when the brain senses that kind of situation, it set off chemical reactions which protect the body from damage. The process is commonly called ‘fight or flight’. Tense muscles, increased heart rate, quick breathing, and high blood pressure are the first signs you’ve been taken over by stress. Unlike episodic acute stress, chronic stress can last for weeks and consume your mind, body, and soul, whether it’s caused by your job, relationship, money issues or something else. However, one of the most prominent symptoms of chronic stress is constant tiredness. If you are one of those people who feel constantly exhausted, ask yourself – Am I exposing myself to a non-stop stress? If the answer is yes, stop it and stop it now. There are many successful methods for stress management, so why not try them out? Listening to relaxing music, meditation which, for your information, has taken over the world as people need a relaxation technique to achieve mental clarity after the massive amount of signal it receives non-stop, using aromatherapy, reading a good book, taking up a hobby or two and exercising can do wonders for your state. Chronic stress causes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and high cholesterol, and you don’t want that, do you?
Okay, so now we have listed the most probable factors which may cause your fatigue. But in case it’s something more serious (we hope not!), maybe the following lines can help and reduce your anxiety before seeing a doctor.
- Anemia – one of the most common medical issues for feeling constant fatigue is lack of iron in the system. Iron deficiency anemia appears the most by women with heavy periods and during pregnancy. It is also possible to have too much iron in your blood, the condition is called hemochromatosis and also causes tiredness, but it affects both adult men and women.
- Sleep apnoea -a condition where your throat narrows or even closes entirely during sleep thus interrupting your breathing, which results in snoring and dropping your blood’s oxygen levels. Consequently, you wake up often during the night and feel tired the next day. This issue appears mostly by overweight middle-aged people, and it gets even worse if they drink alcohol and smoke on a regular basis.
- Coeliac disease – disease provoked by your immune system’s reaction to gluten which can be found in food like bread, cereals, and cakes. Many people are not even aware of this life-long condition, so if you have the following symptoms as well, get your blood tested: diarrhea, anemia, weight loss and bloating.
- Diabetes – another long-term condition caused by too much glucose (sugar) in your blood, which makes you feel exhausted. If you also feel very dehydrated all the time, go often to the toilet and have started to lose a lot of weight, make a blood test to see whether you’re suffering from diabetes.
- An underactive thyroid – this condition reflects that you have too little thyroxine (thyroid hormone) in your body, which causes you tiredness. If so, you are very likely to put on weight and have sore muscles and dry skin as well. It is more common among women and chances to start suffering from a lack of thyroxine increase as you grow older.
So, that would be the most common cause and condition related to being constantly tired or fatigued. We hope to have helped at least a little and to have given some good advice regarding your sleeping troubles. At the end, who doesn’t like to tuck in and let all the problems go away for a few hours, right?