Feeling tired at the end of a busy day or week is a normal occurrence that can often be fixed with a good night’s sleep and a day off. But sometimes that tired feeling drags on for weeks and months at a time. If you’re at that point, there might be more going on than just being very busy.
Here are nine reasons you may be feeling so tired day after day:
The average adult needs about 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you find yourself short, try rearranging your schedule to give yourself more time to sleep. It’s not always an easy task, as busy as we are today, but the extra energy and focus you gain could make it worth the effort.
The clock says you’re getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, but you’re still feeling sluggish and sleepy during the day? It might be the quality of your sleep that’s not up to snuff. Some factors that negatively affect your sleep cycle are inconsistent sleep habits, not enough exposure to light during the day, taking electronics to bed, napping during the day, and sleeping in a room that is too warm, bright, or noisy.
What and when you eat can affect your energy levels throughout the day. If you normally skip breakfast, you’re starting off your day without the fuel your body needs. Eating healthy meals and snacks throughout the day helps maintain your blood sugar and keeps you fueled and ready to go. Choose lean protein, whole grains, nuts,plenty of fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water.
What you drink is just as important as what you eat. If you’re skipping water in favor of caffeinated and sugary drinks, you’re setting yourself up repeatedly for a quick shot of energy followed by a blood sugar crash that makes you feel sluggish. You may also be dehydrated. Remember that by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. A quick and easy way to monitor your hydration status is checking the color of your urine. If it’s clear and pale in color, you’re adequately hydrated. But if it’s cloudy and dark in color, you need more water.
If you find yourself fatigued after meals, but are making healthy diet choices and eating enough, you may have a mild food intolerance. If you notice yourself feeling sluggish 10-30 minutes after eating, take note of what you ate. If it happens again with the same food, consider removing that food from your diet to see if that helps. You may be able to pinpoint foods that you just don’t tolerate well.
Depression is much more than feeling sad or down. It’s a disorder that has both emotional and physical symptoms. One common symptom is fatigue. Medications and therapy can help manage the symptoms of depression and give you back your energy.
Sleep apnea is a condition that briefly stops your breathing over and over again while you sleep. Instead of getting a good night’s sleep, you’re actually being awakened frequently through the night and don’t realize it. It can be caused by your tongue and soft palate relaxing to the point they “collapse” against your throat, causing a blockage that make breathing difficult. Apnea makes you sleepy during the day. It can also lead to serious health issues, like heart failure and stroke, if left untreated.
For women, one of the most common causes of fatigue is anemia. Anemia in women is often caused by blood loss due to menstrual bleeding. Iron supplements or eating foods rich in iron can help. Shellfish, enriched cereals, and beans are good sources.
Fatigue is a symptom of a number of medical conditions that you might not realize you have. Hypothyroidism, diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia, for example, are all causes of chronic fatigue. If you are chronically tired and don’t know why, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms.
If you’ve ruled out all the above, starting an exercise program could be your key to feeling livelier. Moderate exercise like walking or biking for 20 minutes, three times a week can help boost your energy level. Regular exercise improves heart health, increases lung capacity, improves your sleep, and releases endorphins. Those natural mood boosters perk up your energy level, mood, and overall well-being.