A survey-based report completed by the National Safety Council found that, as of 2017, 43% of Americans believed they didn’t get enough sleep to adequately and effectively perform their daily duties at work.
Additionally, about 11% of adults report that they get insufficient sleep every night. With sleep being such an important part of taking care of your body, it’s clear that many people aren’t getting what they need.
Not getting enough sleep is a huge factor that can play into fatigue, but there are additional factors that could also be causing your perpetual tiredness. Finding out what could be causing you to feel tired all the time can help you figure out the best way to treat it.
What’s causing you to feel so exhausted all the time? What can you do about it? Will you ever be able to get through the day feeling energized again?
Finding the Cause of Your Fatigue
Sleep problems are one of the biggest contributors to fatigue. Some of the most common sleep issues include the following:
- Shift work
- Sleep apnea
It’s not just a lack of sleep that can contribute to exhaustion. Your body can feel worn down and fatigued due to a variety of reasons:
- Mental health issues
- Metabolic issues
- Health conditions (heart, lungs, cancer, lupus)
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Chronic pain
Stress and hormonal issues can also cause fatigue. Specifically, adrenal fatigue syndrome tends to go hand-in-hand with stress. The adrenal glands help your body manage stress, but when you’re under too much stress, the glands can’t work properly. They have to work overtime and may not be able to function efficiently, causing tiredness and fatigue.
Any of these issues can make it difficult to simply get through your day without feeling overwhelmed by tiredness. Obviously, some of these underlying causes require medical testing, so if you’re constantly tired, it’s worth it to go to your doctor for a general exam.
The Risks of Bad Sleep
Many of the conditions listed above not only cause tiredness, but they can make it even harder to get a good night’s sleep. That often causes more problems during your waking moments.
Your body needs sleep in order to heal itself and recharge, mentally and physically. If you don’t get enough sleep, or you’re not getting good sleep, you could be at risk for problems:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of motivation
Because sleep loss can lead to irritability and impair your focus, it can start to have negative effects on different areas of your life including relationships.
The irritability from lack of sleep can make you “snappy” at your partner which can make arguments much worse. Sleep impacts the area of the brain that is used to solve problems, so a lack of sleep will make it harder to come to a reasonable solution with your partner if you’re arguing. It can also cause you to be less grateful in your relationship and impair your decision making.
Sleep deprivation can also lead to a variety of serious health conditions including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Unfortunately, some of those conditions can further contribute to sleep problems, creating a perpetual cycle that needs to be treated.
Even if you’re just starting to feel fatigued regularly, it’s important not to ignore it. Chronic fatigue syndrome can actually change your brain chemistry and can cause everything from cognitive dysfunction to headaches and muscle pain.
One of the obvious solutions to treat tiredness is to get better sleep, but if you have an underlying condition, that isn’t necessarily easy to do.
Insomnia is also both a cause and a result of chronic fatigue. This can be brought on by anxiety, stress, or depression, but it can also make those mental health issues even worse. In some cases, medical attention may be needed to combat your tiredness. You may need to talk with your doctor about your insomnia, who may prescribe medication to help you get the sleep you need. Treating underlying conditions like heart problems or diabetes can also help you to feel more energetic.
Use these helpful tips as a supplemental way to fight fatigue each day:
- Eat healthy meals/snacks every 3-4 hours rather than larger meals 2-3 times a day.
- Exercise regularly, even if you have to fight through your tiredness at the beginning.
- Lose weight.
- Develop a healthy sleep routine each night.
- Reduce stress levels.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol.
- Drink more water.
Because there are so many factors that can cause you to feel tired, run-down, and fatigued, the best thing you can do for your mind and body is to find the underlying cause. Your feelings of fatigue could be a sign of something more serious. Getting to the root of the issue may not only help you have more energy, but it could improve your health by helping you treat an existing condition with the right medical attention.