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Last Updated on December 17, 2020

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Fatigue Symptom (& How to Boost Energy)

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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Your Fatigue Symptom (& How to Boost Energy)

Adulting is hard, there’s so much to do and so little time. Juggling between work appointments and personal commitments, commuting through traffic, paying bills – our days are marked by a series of endless tasks.

Feeling tired after a hectic day is quite normal – nothing that a warm shower and a good night’s rest cannot cure.

However, if the bouts of fatigue occur more often and last longer, you might have a problem. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t ignore fatigue as a passing phase.

Warning signs of fatigue

Feeling tired all the time? You’re not alone my friend. Scientific studies show how fatigue has affected the productivity of people irrespective of their age and gender.

You cannot just take a relaxing vacation or a couple of days off work and expect the exhaustion and restlessness to disappear.

So, the next time you find yourself wondering “why am I so tired all the time?”, don’t blow it off. Here are a few red flags that one should look out for:

  • Lack of sleep and excessive snoring
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Yellow colored urine
  • Panic attacks, palpitations, anxiety
  • Severe headaches and body pain
  • Weak immunity
  • The onset of allergies and itchiness
  • Cracked lips, acne breakouts
  • Sudden and excessive hair loss

Note: Victoria (Australia) state government’s BetterHealth portal offers a more detailed list of symptoms related to fatigue.

[1]

Why you shouldn’t take the fatigue lying down

We’ve all had those days when you’re so weary, tiredness no longer remains just a condition, it becomes an emotion.

The reason behind this exhaustion can be both physical and psychological. Physical fatigue affects your bodily function (hand limb coordination, blinking frequently etc), psychological fatigue affects the cognitive function of your brain (i.e. feeling dizzy, “brain fog” etc).

Fatigue can be an early sign of depression or anxiety. And there’s no escape, not until you get professional help.

People who have chronic fatigue may become depressed and experience extreme bouts of sadness along with the muscle cramps, joint pain and headaches – an unfortunate combination that affects mostly young to middle-aged adults.

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Proper sleep and an orderly life might be helpful in controlling the sudden bouts of dizziness and acute fatigue you feel all day. In fact, it would come as a surprise to many that chronic fatigue actually keeps one awake at night.

There’s nothing worse than being bone-tired but unable to fall asleep. Making a few changes in your routine cannot magically cure psychological issues such as depression or physical problems like high blood pressure. You need to see a doctor for that.

Do not dismiss your exhaustion, especially if it’s affecting your daily life and productivity.

Chronic fatigue vs Feeling tired – What’s the difference?

Imagine feeling so exhausted that the simplest of tasks seem impossible. Now combine that physical exhaustion with severe headaches, joint pains and nausea. Finally, imagine telling this to a close friend only to have him/her roll their eyes in disbelief.

These hypothetical scenarios are part and parcel of someone suffering from chronic fatigue. Fatigue is a daily struggle while tiredness is just a temporary incontinence.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a legit medical condition and means a lot more than just your body feeling tired.

In severe cases, the symptoms can last for up to 6 months or longer. A report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists has revealed how one in five people suffer from or show signs of chronic fatigue.[2]

Underlying medical conditions triggering your fatigue symptoms

Most people blame the hectic lifestyle for their lethargy. And while that’s true to some extent, it’s not the only reason behind your exhaustion.

Fatigue can be a sign of some serious disease or medical condition. It could be a symptom of the following kinds of ailments.

Anemia

Anemia is a condition that affects your RBC count and blood supply to the brain, the heart and tissues. Women are more susceptible to feeling weak and tired because of blood loss during menstruation, or later in their pregnancy and breastfeeding stages.

Anemia is not a disease, but rather a sign of some other unresolved issue in your body that needs thorough diagnosis and fixing. It might be because of an iron or vitamin deficiency and other conditions like kidney failure, arthritis, and even cancer.

Fatigue is a common symptom in anemic people, along with other signs like chest pains, breathing problems, insomnia and headaches.

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To combat anemia, increase your intake of Vitamin C, consume yogurt and turmeric, eat a lot of green vegetables, include sesame seeds in your salads and smoothies.

Diabetes

Many people with diabetes describe themselves as feeling unbearably tired or lethargic at times.

High sugar levels disrupt the blood circulation, the cells don’t get enough oxygen or nutrients to function properly.

The RBCs are inflated due to excessive glucose, causing an increase in the production of monocytes in the brain that make you feel inactive and lethargic.

Low blood-sugar, on the other hand, can cause fatigue among other ailments as there is not enough fuel to power the cells.

Proper medication, a balanced diet and plenty of exercises would keep diabetes and your fatigue in check. Bring home a reliable blood sugar/glucose meters.

Blood pressure issues

Given that so many signs are associated with fatigue, it is no surprise that blood pressure goes unnoticed.

Almost every adult is struggling with a high or low blood-pressure problem. There are no prominent signs of hypertension and maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to diagnose. It is only when your arteries and other organs are at significant risk that we understand that all is not well with our body.

Some uncommon symptoms include chest pains, headache, frequent bouts of dizziness, vision problems and fatigue.

The physical exhaustion can also be a side-effect of the medication prescribed for blood-pressure fluctuations.

To control your blood pressure, focus on reducing extra flab from your body, exercise regularly, quit smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, reduce the amount of sodium in your food, avoid caffeine, and try yoga to de-stress.

Also, use a credible blood sugar monitoring device.

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Sleeping disorders

Feeling tired and run down during the waking hours is something we all struggle with. The ever-piling work pressure jam-packed schedules and chaotic lifestyle disrupt our body’s natural clock. And as you don’t get a proper shut-eye at night, you’re disoriented, confused and cranky in the morning.

Chronic fatigue has often been associated with sleeping disorders. Sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome are a few common sleeping disorders that people with chronic fatigue are susceptible to.

Researchers from Stockholm University showcased how sleep deprivation could negatively impact your social appeal.[3] Don’t worry, some medications, sleeping aids and a good rest are all you need to overcome the exhaustion.

Adopt a regular sleeping schedule, don’t eat heavy dinners, don’t drink alcohol or coffee before sleeping, and make your room’s lighting and air quality congenial for a good sleep.

Also, as a potent short term solution, use a handy cleansing device along with your favourite cleansers to make your skin look better. Use some safe and useful skincare devices to combat the negative signs of sleep issues on your face.

Thyroid problems

Tiredness is a common sign of hormonal imbalances in the body. And when your thyroid hormones are out of whack, chances are that your body would tire easily.

The thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck, is responsible for controlling metabolic activity. An excessive production of the thyroid hormone (aka hyperthyroidism) speeds up the metabolism, while a deficiency of the hormone (aka hypothyroidism) slows the metabolic process of the body.

Hyperthyroidism causes fatigue, muscle sprains (especially around the thighs), sudden weight loss, excessive sweating and an irregular menstrual cycle in women.

Heart disease

People having cardiac problems might have trouble performing everyday tasks like climbing stairs, carrying some weight or even walking for a long time.

Fatigue, excessive sweating and intolerance to exercise are a few common symptoms of heart diseases. The arteries in the heart are blocked by cholesterol, blocking the blood flow to the other parts of the body.

As a result, you become more prone to breathing problems, high-pressure and even diabetes.

Fatigue can also occur due to dehydration – the toxic wastes aren’t flushed out, it accumulates in the organs and weakens the body from within.

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Menopause

A few symptoms of chronic fatigue also overlap with menopause.

Joint pain, headaches, anxiety, sleeping disorders, muscle cramps- they’re all part of menopause induced fatigue.

Hot flashes, excessive sweating, vaginal dryness and physical exhaustion can be your body’s way of coping with the hormonal changes when the menstrual cycle stops.

Almost every woman in her late 40s-50s has to go through this phase. However, if your symptoms are severe and extend over a long period, you should get it checked with a good gynecologist.

How to boost your energy

These days, we’re so used to luxury that even the most basic physical activity can tire us out. So, if you find yourself out of breath after climbing a few stairs, you need to stop and ask yourself – “Am I treating my body right?”.

Staying up late all night binge-watching movies and hogging on pizza is exactly the kind of lifestyle that would get your body in trouble.

Some fundamental lifestyle changes can go a long way toward increasing your life expectancy.

Here are a few easy and natural tips to boost your energy levels and stay fresh and active all day long:

  • Get more sleep. This is easier said than done, but there are sleeping aids and meds available over the counter that help you sleep better. Learn to hack your sleep cycle or try out Sleep Cycle app; it analyzes your sleep and wakes you up during the light sleep hours, ensuring you’re well rested before waking. It’s been positively reviewed by CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Wired.
  • Regular exercise. Not just hitting the gym, but also yoga and meditation that keeps you mentally and physically fit. Try this guided meditation or try out Headspace, the most popular guided meditation apps of its times.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol. Any drug addiction can cause weight gain, breathing problems, sleep apnoea and other physical problems. If you find quitting smoking a herculean task, try replacements such as V2 Standard Starter Kit and V2 Pro Series 3 e-cigarettes, that cut down significantly on the nicotine intake.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink a lot of organic fruit juices and water at regular intervals.
  • Eat healthily. Include fresh fruits, veggies and proteins in your diet, do away with the calories. Eat a nutrient-rich, balanced diet. Find a healthy eating plan that suits you.

When to make an appointment with your doctor?

Chronic fatigue has recently been recognized as a disease by the medical community. Today, doctors are acknowledging fatigue as a problem that doesn’t just imply lack of sleep, but a host of other medical issues that might be hidden underneath the apparent exhaustion.

Unfortunately, the layman still sees fatigue as a blanket term used to define lethargy, laziness, complacent behavior and a bad hangover.

Make an appointment with your doctor if your fatigue is accompanied by depression, severe anxiety, chest pains, breathing problems, dizziness, abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding, vomiting and migraines. It might lead to some fatal consequences if left unchecked for long.

Summing it up

Chronic fatigue is tough to deal with, more so when people around you aren’t aware of your daily struggles to fight the exhaustion off.

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Acknowledge the problem and get help – that’s the only way to deal with it.

Featured photo credit: Doğukan Şahin via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Victoria (Australia) state government’s BetterHealth: Fatigue
[2] Royal College of Psychiatrists: Sleep and tiredness: key facts from the Royal College of Psychiatrists
[3] Stockholm University: Negative effects of restricted sleep on facial appearance and social appeal

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

7 Reasons Why Your Body Feels Heavy And Tired

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7 Reasons Why Your Body Feels Heavy And Tired

Interestingly enough, this topic about our bodies feeling heavy and tired has been assigned right around the time when I have been personally experiencing feelings of such “sluggishness.” In my case, it comes down to not exercising as much as I was a year ago, as well as being busier with work. I’m just starting to get back into a training routine after having moved and needing to set up my home gym again at my new house.

Generally speaking, when feeling heavy and tired, it comes down to bioenergetics. Bioenergetics is a field in biochemistry and cell biology that concerns energy flow through living systems.[1] The goal of bioenergetics is to describe how living organisms acquire and transform energy to perform biological work. Essentially, how we acquire, store, and utilize the energy within the body relates directly to whether we feel heavy or tired.

While bioenergetics relates primarily to the energy of the body, one’s total bandwidth of energy highly depends on one’s mental state. Here are seven reasons why your body feels heavy and tired.

1. Lack of Sleep

This is quite possibly one of the main reasons why people feel heavy and/or tired. I often feel like a broken record explaining to people the importance of quality sleep and REM specifically.

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The principle of energy conservation states that energy is neither created nor destroyed. It may transform from one type to another. Based on the energy conservation theory, we need sleep to conserve energy. When getting quality sleep, we reduce our caloric needs by spending part of our time functioning at a lower metabolism. This concept is backed by the way our metabolic rate drops during sleep.

Research suggests that eight hours of sleep for human beings can produce a daily energy savings of 35 percent over complete wakefulness. The energy conservation theory of sleep suggests that the main purpose of sleep is to reduce a person’s energy use during times of the day and night.[2]

2. Lack of Exercise

Exercise is an interesting one because when you don’t feel energized, it can be difficult to find the motivation to work out. However, if you do find it in you to exercise, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its impact on your energy levels. Technically, any form of exercise/physical activity will get the heart rate up and blood flowing. It will also result in the release of endorphins, which, in turn, are going to raise energy levels. Generally speaking, effort-backed cardiovascular exercises will strengthen your heart and give you more stamina.

I’m in the process of having my home gym renovated after moving to a new house. Over the past year, I have been totally slacking with exercise and training. I can personally say that over the last year, I have had less physical energy than I did previously while training regularly. Funny enough I have been a Lifehack author for a few years now, and almost all previous articles were written while I was training regularly. I’m writing this now as someone that has not exercised enough and can provide first-hand anecdotal evidence that exercise begets more energy, period.

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3. Poor Nutrition and Hydration

The human body is primarily comprised of water (up to 60%), so naturally, a lack of hydration will deplete energy. According to studies, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.[3] If you don’t consume sufficient amounts of water (and I suggest natural spring water or alkaline water), you will likely have more issues than just a lack of energy.

In regards to nutrition, a fairly common-sense practice is to avoid excess sugar. Consuming too much sugar can harm the body and brain, often causing short bursts of energy (highs) followed by mental fogginess, and physical fatigue or crashes. Generally, sugar-based drinks, candy, and pastries put too much fuel (sugar) into your blood too quickly.

I have utilized these types of foods immediately before training for a quick source of energy. However, outside of that application, there is practically no benefit. When consuming sugar in such a way, the ensuing crash leaves you tired and hungry again. “Complex carbs,” healthy fats, and protein take longer to digest, satisfy your hunger, and thus, provide a slow, steady stream of energy.

4. Stress

Stress is surprisingly overlooked in our fast-paced society, yet it’s the number one cause of several conditions. Feeling heavy and tired is just one aspect of the symptoms of stress. Stress has been shown to affect all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.[4] Stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands. This can lead to adrenal fatigue, the symptoms of which are fatigue, brain fog, intermittent “crashes” throughout the day, and much more.[5]

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It’s important to look at stress thoroughly in life and take action to mitigate it as much as possible. Personally, I spend Monday to Friday in front of dozens of devices and screens and managing large teams (15 to 30) of people. On weekends, I go for long walks in nature (known as shinrin-yoku in Japan), I use sensory deprivation tanks, and I experiment with supplementation (being a biohacker).

5. Depression or Anxiety

These two often go hand in hand with stress. It’s also overlooked much in our society, yet millions upon millions around the work experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many that are depressed report symptoms of lack of energy, enthusiasm, and generally not even wanting to get up from bed in the morning.

These are also conditions that should be examined closely within oneself and take actions to make improvements. I’m a big proponent of the use of therapeutic psychedelics, such as Psilocybin or MDMA. I’m an experienced user of mushrooms, from the psychedelic variety to the non-psychedelic. In fact, the majority of my sensory deprivation tank sessions are with the use of various strains of Psilocybin mushrooms. Much research has been coming to light around the benefits of such substances to eliminate symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more.[6]

6. Hypothyroidism

Also known as underactive thyroid disease, hypothyroidism is a health condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce sufficient levels. This condition causes the metabolism to slow down.[7] While it can also be called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism can make you feel tired and even gain weight. A common treatment for hypothyroidism is hormone replacement therapy.

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7. Caffeine Overload

I’m writing this as someone that went from five cups of coffee a day to now three cups a week! I’ve almost fully switched to decaf. The reason I stopped consuming so much coffee is that it was affecting my mood and energy levels. Generally, excessive consumption of caffeine can also impact the adrenal gland, which, as I covered above, can almost certainly lead to low energy and random energy crashes.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing is to identify that you feel heavy or tired and take action to improve the situation. Never fall into complacency with feeling lethargic or low energy, as human beings tend to accept such conditions as the norm fairly quickly. If you’ve made it this far, you’re on the right path!

Examine various aspects of your life and where you can make room for improvement to put your mental, emotional, and physical self first. I certainly hope these seven reasons why your body feels heavy, tired, or low on energy can help you along the path to a healthy and more vibrant you.

More Tips on Restoring Energy

Featured photo credit: Zohre Nemati via unsplash.com

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Reference

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