Catch yourself saying “I’m so tired” more than once daily? Sometimes right after you wake up?
Tiredness is a common issue and one that most people take for granted as a typical sign of aging. But persistent fatigue often has underlying causes. There are many potential causes of that exhaustion and plenty of ways you can keep the lethargy at bay.
MEDICAL CONDITIONS AND MEDICATIONS
Numerous medical conditions can cause unrelenting exhaustion—anemia, diabetes, hyper/hypothyroidism, arthritis, heart disease, sleep apnea—the list goes on (and on). Additionally, stress, anxiety and depression can cause intense feelings of fatigue. If you’re currently seeing a provider for treatment of a condition, be sure to discuss your fatigue and determine if the cause is related to your condition or treatment.
If you don’t have a diagnosis, but feel like something is amiss, listen to your body and report your concerns to your provider. Keeping a log of your symptoms and patterns can help to secure an appropriate diagnosis.
Many times, tiredness is caused by medications used to treat a condition. Your provider may be able to suggest alternate medications or recommend times of day to take your medication to help combat excess exhaustion.
Fatigue is common in women experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms. During menopause, your body slows production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help to regulate energy levels, so experiencing an increase in tiredness is normal and common. Additionally, many women report difficulty falling and staying asleep during menopause, leading to a lack of daytime energy. That said, being tired all the time or having your exhaustion negatively affect your life may not be normal. Speak to a provider if you feel your menopause symptoms are getting the best of you.
Fatigue may be caused by your lifestyle. According to the Mayo clinic, most causes of fatigue can be traced back to habits or routines, such as lack of exercise (or overexertion!), alcohol or drug use, unhealthy eating habits, and common medications like allergy and cough prevention. If you know you’re not up to par in one of those categories, making a healthy change may improve your sleep and energy levels. We’re always here to guide, support and refer if you find you need a helping hand in making a lifestyle change.
GET ENOUGH QUALITY SLEEP
Getting enough sleep is key to combating daytime exhaustion. Be sure you’re giving your body enough time in bed. We know that’s easier said than done some days, especially if you have a baby or young child interrupting your sleep. Even if you can’t guarantee that you’re getting enough zzzs, aim for good sleep hygiene that will improve your overall sleep quality. That means limiting screentime before bed, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, keeping a clean, cool and quiet bedroom (for some, a fan or white noise machine can help drown out outside interruptions), and avoiding substances that interfere with sleep like caffeine, alcohol and drugs.
Bedtime routines aren’t just for kids—consider creating a routine for yourself that will help your body and brain develop good sleep habits. Your routine might include a round of meditation before bed, a warm shower, a spritz of a favorite scent in the room; or anything that supports feelings of calm. Over time, a consistent routine can help you drift off more easily.
CHECK YOUR BLOODWORK
Meeting your body’s vitamin and mineral needs with a balanced diet is best, but it’s important to check your bloodwork every so often. Your provider will help you determine when and what checks make sense for you. A vitamin deficiency may indicate that your body is working overtime in one area, which makes your energy feel depleted. Additionally, your provider may want to check your thyroid function to ensure you’re where you need to be. Keeping up with your regular health checks is the best way to know that you’re on track.
BOOST YOUR ENERGY NATURALLY
There are a lot of ways to naturally boost your energy level. Some favorites include:
- Take a 10-minute walk when you start to wilt. Your energy levels (and mood) will improve.
- Enjoy the outdoors. Slather on a little sunscreen and step outdoors for a quick boost. Soaking in a few rays will help your body stay awake.
- Be sure to eat breakfast, and partake in regular snacks or meals. Many people report that small healthy snacks throughout the day support their energy levels and healthy weight goals better than 3 large meals a day. Look for foods that maintain blood sugar levels: including some fish, nuts, flax and chia seeds, oats, eggs, berries.
- Keep up your water intake. Especially on days when we’re tired, it’s easy to add in a pop or latte (or two or three). But adding in extra water will do both your energy levels and your health a favor.
- Reduce stress, anxiety and anger. Participate in activities that reduce your tension (like that short walk we mentioned above!).
- Keep moving. If you have a sedentary job, consider setting an alarm on your phone or desktop to remind you to get up, stretch, and move every so often. Additionally, it’s important to give your eyes regular breaks from screens, too.
- Add in relaxation time. Take a look at your daily schedule. Are you unnaturally exhausted or are you overbooked? Be certain that you write in some rest and relaxation time into every day.