Men's HealthResearch

6 Reasons You Feel Tired All the Time

You’re getting enough sleep, exercising in moderation, and consuming enough calories, but you still feel tired much of the day. It’s a common problem, especially among women. No one feels bright eyes and bushy-tailed all the time but feeling tired most days isn’t normal either. Fatigue isn’t a symptom you should ignore. Sometimes it’s because of diet and lifestyle, but other times it can be a sign of a health problem. Let’s look at some reasons you might feel tired and what to do about it.

You’re Making the Wrong Food Choices

How’s your diet? Hopefully, you’re not extreme dieting! The food you eat supplies energy, so it’s not surprising that eating too few calories can make you feel tired. However, it’s not just calorie intake that impacts your energy level. The composition of those calories does too. Eating meals and snacks high in sugar and refined carbohydrates causes blood sugar spikes and dips that can make you feel tired and hungry.

How to Remedy:

  • Start the day with a high-protein breakfast.
  • Cut back on or eliminate refined carbs and sugar.
  • Add protein to every meal or snack.

Your Sleep Habits Aren’t in Sync with Your Biological Clock

You have an internal biological clock in the hypothalamus of your brain. Unlike a clock you place by your bed, this time keeper is made up of a dizzying array of nerve cells that come together to form the suprachiasmatic nucleus, a group of nerve cells sensitive to light. When you expose your eyes to light it signals this portion of your brain and it sets your internal clock. This clock determines when you release hormones and helps regulate your sleep patterns and metabolism.

Certain factors can disrupt the internal biological clock and make it harder to sleep. The most powerful disruptor of the internal biological clock is exposure to blue light in the evening. If you’re staying up late and using computer devices that expose your eyes to blue light, it can disrupt your sleep quality. Even if you don’t toss and turn, the sleep you experience may not be as restorative, and you may feel fatigued.

How to Remedy:

  • Switch your devices to night mode to reduce exposure to blue light.
  • Even better, turn off your devices after 7:00 P.M.
  • Sleep in complete darkness & expose your eyes to light as much as possible in the morning.
  • Expose your eyes to sunlight as early in the day as possible, preferably before noon.

You Exercise, but Sit Too Long In Between Sessions

If you do a regular workout, congratulations! But don’t assume you can sit non-stop in between exercise sessions. Studies show that sitting too much is an independent risk factor for premature death. The risk is greatest if you sit for over 6 hours per day. Beyond the risks of dying early, sitting too long can zap your energy and make you feel tired. When you’re confined to a chair, your body goes into “hibernation mode.” Your metabolism drops and you feel sleepy. Plus, when we sit in a chair for too long, breathing becomes shallow and oxygen delivery and release of carbon dioxide drops. These changes cause you to feel sleepy.

How to Remedy:

  • Walk around every 20-30 minutes even if it’s only up and down the hall.
  • Stand up and stretch as often as possible.
  • Practice slow, controlled, deep breathing. Most people breathe too shallowly.

You’re Not Hydrating Enough

Research shows that even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, a down mood, and lack of motivation. The risk of dehydration is even higher if you exercise. One part of your workout you shouldn’t neglect is hydration and rehydration afterward. Check the color of your urine. If it’s darker than pale yellow, you have some catching up to do on fluids.

How to Remedy:

  • Carry a stainless-steel water bottle with you to sip on throughout the day.
  • Monitor the color of your urine. If it’s darker than light yellow, you need to drink more.
  • Eat more foods with high water content like fruits and raw vegetables.

You Haven’t Had a Check-Up Lately

Several health conditions can cause fatigue. Three of the most common are diabetes, hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid), and anemia. For pre-menopausal women, the most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency. However, many other medical conditions can cause you to feel tired and lack energy. For example, sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing many times throughout the night, can cause unexplained fatigue and sleepiness. Nutritional deficiencies, such as a low vitamin D or vitamin B12 level, can cause you to feel tired too.

How to Remedy:

  • Visit your physician for a physical exam and lab studies.
  • Get a yearly check-up and lab studies so you’re aware of where you stand from a health perspective.

You’re Physically or Emotionally Exhausted

Stress can cause fatigue too. Sometimes, fatigue is an early sign of depression. Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder during the winter months when they’re exposed to less sunlight.

How to Remedy:

  • Practice stress management, whether it be yoga, meditation, or walking outdoors in nature.
  • Get outside & make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
  • If you feel down in the winter, a light therapy lamp for seasonal affective disorder may be of benefit.

Caffeine Withdrawal

If you’re a habitual consumer of caffeine and you suddenly stop or reduce your caffeine intake, you could feel tired because of caffeine withdrawal. Caffeine blocks adenosine, a compound in the brain that helps the body relax. With adenosine blocked, you feel stimulated. However, your body becomes tolerant to the activating effects of caffeine and you need more and more caffeine to get the same effect. If you stop consuming caffeine, your body experiences withdrawal and you feel unusually tired. It may take up to a week for your body to re-acclimate to having no caffeine.

How to Remedy:

  • Don’t consume the same amount of caffeine each day.
  • Don’t overdrink coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages. Enjoy more water!
  • Don’t go cold turkey! Gradually decrease your caffeine consumption.

The Bottom Line

Now you know some of the reasons you may feel tired all the time. If you’ve made changes to your diet and sleeping habits and still feel tired, see your physician.

References:

Harvard Health Publishing. “Blue Light Has a Dark Side”

WebMD.com. “Even Mild Dehydration May Cause Emotional, Physical Problems”

Medical News Today. “Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal”

Source: https://cathe.com/6-reasons-you-feel-tired-all-the-time/