We live in a fast-paced day and age. Many people find themselves going from one activity to the next. Life demands our constant attention and energy.
But we only have so much energy to offer on any given day. Sometimes we don’t have enough energy even to get our day going at all. Unfortunately, fatigue is all too common.
Fatigue can have a variety of causes, from certain medical conditions to sleep deprivation. Thankfully, there are some ways to fight back against fatigue when it derails you.
What Is Fatigue?
A recent survey found that roughly 60 percent of U.S. adults report being more tired than ever before. But fatigue is more than simply feeling sleepy from time to time. It is often described as a lack of energy, the feeling of being “run down.”
Fatigue is the constant feeling of being tired, the feeling of being drained to the point of exhaustion. Fatigue makes getting up in the morning a challenging affair.
It hangs around and disrupts daily life. Simple tasks become daunting. If you find yourself having muscle weakness or crash halfway throughout the day, these could be symptoms of fatigue.
These statements are common for those suffering from fatigue; maybe they sound familiar:
- “I can’t seem to start any task; I can't find the motivation to do so.”
- “When I start a task, I can’t seem to finish it; I feel too tired to see it through.”
- “Concentration feels impossible; it’s mentally exhausting.”
- “I feel a constant brain fog; my mental clarity just isn’t there.”
What Are Common Causes of Fatigue?
There can be many different causes for fatigue. It can be temporary or chronic (lasting more than six months).
In many cases, fatigue is directly related to lifestyle factors. However, underlying medical conditions and certain medications can also be a culprit for why you don't have a lot of energy.
Here are some of the common causes of fatigue:
Lifestyle factors are typically the most common cause of fatigue. This would include dietary and exercise habits. A poor diet and sedentary life is a surefire way to welcome unwanted fatigue.
Sleep and fatigue are closely related. The exhaustion and low energy associated with fatigue can also be the result of sleep disorders. Underlying health issues like sleep apnea and insomnia can disrupt healthy sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and a lack of quality sleep.
There are many over-the-counter and prescription medications that can cause the feeling of fatigue (e.g., antihistamines). If you suspect medications may be a factor, it is best to consult your healthcare provider.
Fatigue is also associated with a whole host of medical conditions and disorders. These could include disorders that cause hormonal imbalances, conditions like anemia, and much more.
Fighting Back Against Fatigue
Pinpointing the exact cause of fatigue is not always easy. Poor lifestyle factors can be remedied naturally, whereas underlying medication conditions might take an intervention from a healthcare provider.
With that in mind, here are some ways to help fight back against fatigue and help restore your energy.
Start With Diet
Examining your diet is always the best place to start. The saying, “you are what you eat” is more than a cliché. It carries a lot of truth. Food is fuel, and the fuel we choose matters.
Make sure your daily nutrition contains rich foods with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. If you like to snack, make sure your snacks throughout the day are healthy choices.
It’s easy to reach for convenient, processed foods to fit our hectic lives, but these sugar-laden foods can leave us feeling down in the dumps.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet that emphasizes nutrient-dense whole foods could help you overcome fatigue. Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Inadequate hydration can also impact energy and cognitive performance. Eating right can help your body fight back against tiredness.
Among many lifestyle changes, exercise is an essential element in warding off fatigue. Exercise gets the blood flowing — literally.
In short, regular exercise helps prime the body’s engine. In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, exercise helps modulate metabolism and improve mood, both of which help fight off low energy.
It can give you an energy boost if you are looking for a midday pick-me-up.
The key to exercise is consistency. It doesn’t have to involve a gym membership, simply walking 30 minutes a day at a brisk pace can do wonders. Start there and build up.
Trying yoga, tai chi, or practicing meditation can also be good to include in your routine as it can help support your overall health.
More Sleep, Less Stress
Developing a healthy sleep routine is essential to combat fatigue. Sleep allows our bodies to recharge, rejuvenate, and restore themselves from the demands of the day. Adequate sleep is also important for cognitive health — avoiding brain fog.
Here are some quick tips for building healthy sleep habits that can set you up for a good night's sleep:
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before bed.
- Take a warm bath or shower before bedtime for optimal relaxation.
- Keep the bedroom cool and comfortable — and dark.
- Get into a habit of going to bed at the same time every night.
- Aim for seven to nine hours a night.
For extra sleep support, supplements like melatonin may be of benefit.
In addition to healthy sleep, work to kick stress to the curb. That is easier said than done, but stress can negatively impact your daily life and add to feelings of fatigue. Find what works for you.
Get a Nutritional Boost
Certain nutritional supplements may also be of benefit when it comes to fighting off fatigue. For example, B vitamins have an essential role to play in energy metabolism. Deficiencies in B complex vitamins can sometimes lead to feelings of fatigue.
Also, if stress is a big factor for you in the fight against fatigue, a class of herbs known as adaptogens might help. For example, an adaptogen known as ashwagandha possesses calming effects, while Panax ginseng helps enhance energy. Both can have positive effects as it relates to fatigue.
It is easy to feel run down living in a fast-paced world. Unfortunately, feelings of fatigue are becoming more and more common.
Fatigue can have a variety of causes, from poor diet and lifestyle factors to lack of sleep and certain medical conditions or illnesses. Regardless of the reason, fatigue can disrupt our daily lives.
Thankfully, there are ways to fight back against fatigue. Adopting a healthy, nutrient-rich diet and getting daily exercise is the best place to start.