Just about everyone gets overtired or overworked. Temporary fatigue is a common occurrence and usually has a cause and a solution. But persistent exhaustion lasts longer, which is not relieved by rest and has deeper health consequences.
It’s a nearly constant state of fatigue that saps energy, motivation, and focus. Constant fatigue can affect your physical, emotional, and psychological health.
If you get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly but still struggle to perform daily tasks, concentrate, or be motivated, you may suffer from fatigue. Fatigue makes it difficult for you to wake up in the morning, go to work, and complete daily tasks. You may feel compelled to sleep and not be refreshed after resting or sleeping.
Here are some fatigue symptoms to look out for.
Table of Contents
What is Fatigue?
Fatigue is a feeling of constant tiredness, weariness and a lack of energy. Most adults will experience fatigue at some point. 1 in 5 adults reported that fatigue interferes with their everyday life, as per the National Institutes of Health.
Fatigue isn’t a disease. Lifestyle, social, psychological, and underlying health issues often cause fatigue, but it is not a medical condition.
There are many causes for fatigue, which are basically grouped as:
- Lifestyle habits such as poor diet, excessive alcohol, and drug use, increased stress, sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia, and a sedentary lifestyle.
- Medical-related fatigue is a symptom of many health diseases, disorders, and deficiencies.
- Medications and treatments such as antihistamines and blood pressure medications, bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, and other treatments can cause fatigue.
Symptoms of Fatigue
Fatigue symptoms can be physical, mental, and emotional. You could experience some of these symptoms of fatigue:
- Loss of appetite
- Sore muscles and muscle weakness
- Slow reflexes
- Impaired hand-eye coordination
- Impaired decision-making and judgment
- Reduce immunity
- Poor vision and memory
- Poor focus and concentration
- Lack of motivation
- Anxiety and depression
How Do I Relieve Fatigue and Boost Energy?
Stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, and other lifestyle factors often cause fatigue. Fatigue is also an overwhelming tiredness that isn’t relieved by rest and sleep. You may have an underlying medical condition. In such situations, it’s best to consult a doctor.
For lifestyle-related fatigue, you can try our suggested lifestyle changes to boost your energy. Lifestyle changes may improve fatigue if not caused by a medical condition.
1. Inculcate Good Sleep Habits
If you don’t get enough sleep at night, it will be hard to stay alert and perform at your optimal best during the day. You should get around 7-9 hours of night’s sleep every day.
Here are our suggested sleep tips:
- Get up at the same time every day, tired or not.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the latter part of the day as it can hamper your sleep. You can opt for hot milk or non-caffeinated drinks before bed.
- Avoid eating heavy meals before sleep.
- Switch off all electronic devices at least an hour before you sleep.
If these tips don’t work, see a doctor to discuss your sleep problems. Your doctor can determine if your insomnia is because of a physical illness, medication, or emotional issues.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
A balanced diet with plenty of water hydrates and nourishes your body. Here are our suggested tips for eating healthy:
This helps to beat fatigue and boost your energy. Eating regular meals and healthy snacks every 3 to 4 hours instead of a large meal less often can help you maintain your energy.
Say No to Caffeine
The Royal College of Psychiatrists suggests avoiding caffeine if you’re tired. We find caffeine in most teas, colas, energy drinks, painkillers, and even herbal remedies. Stop drinking caffeine for a month to see if you feel less tired. You can also go on a three-week caffeine detox periodically if you cannot give it up altogether. You may get headaches without caffeine. If so, cut back on caffeine slowly.
Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Even though a few glasses of wine in the evening can help you fall asleep, it affects your sleep quality. You sleep less deeply. You’ll be tired even after 8 hours of sleep. So, limit alcohol, especially before bed. You’ll get more rest and energy.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
Drink Water for Energy
Sometimes dehydration makes you tired. Especially after exercise, a glass of water works.
3. Get Moving and Exercise Regularly
Exercise may not be on your mind if you’re tired. But exercise will make you less tired over time, giving you more energy. Regular exercise is vital for health, and it can boost your energy once you’re used to it.
But overexercising can cause fatigue, so talk to your doctor before starting an exercise regime.
Begin with light exercise. Even a 15-minute walk can boost your energy, and the benefits increase with more activity. Gradually build up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking and cycling on ground or an incline, dancing, dancing, or tennis each week.
Staying within a healthy weight range helps maintain your energy levels and keeps fatigue at bay. So, try to stay within your doctor’s recommended weight range. If you’re overweight or obese, lose weight to boost energy. Living and functioning in an overweight body can be exhausting. It strains your heart, making you tired. Therefore weight loss can help you feel more energized.
The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to be more active and exercise daily.
4. Bust Stress
Reduce stress for energy as it zaps energy. Add relaxing activities to your day. You could try some of these stress-free options to reduce stress and boost energy.
- Tai chi
Basically, anything that relaxes you will improve your energy as well.
If you’re unable to manage stress on your own, you can try therapy to beat fatigue. There’s evidence that talking therapies like counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help fight stress-related fatigue. You might want to speak to your general physician for more details.
5. Consult Your Doctor
Fatigue is normal. Everyone experiences brief fatigue from illness, sleep disturbances, travel, diet, or medications. However, you must consult your doctor if you’re always tired. Fatigue can signal a serious health issue.
Call your healthcare provider if you experience:
- Fatigue lasts for more than two weeks and persists
- Trouble working or performing daily tasks
- No apparent cause for your fatigue
- Rapid weight loss for no reason
- Mental health issues along with fatigue
- Pain in the chest, arm, or upper back
- Heartbeat that’s fast, pounding, or irregular
- Headache or vision problems (if you recently hit your head)
- Vomiting, nausea, or abdominal pain
To diagnose your fatigue, your doctor will ask about other symptoms and perform a full exam. They may order blood or imaging tests based on your symptoms. Treatment depends on the cause of your fatigue. After treatment, you may feel better quickly. It may be weeks before your fatigue subsides.
Make an appointment to rule out infections, diseases, illnesses, vitamin deficiencies, etc. You should also ask your doctor if your medications are causing fatigue symptoms.
Fatigue is always feeling tired. It can affect your daily life, mood, and emotions. Stress, anxiety, depression, poor diet, sleep and other lifestyle habits can cause fatigue.
Fatigue usually improves over time or with simple lifestyle changes. To manage fatigue, get enough quality sleep. Make it a habit to go to bed at the same time each night. A healthy diet and regular exercise can improve sleep and reduce fatigue. Eat small, frequent meals with fresh fruit and veggies. Alcohol and caffeine can affect sleep, so avoid them.
If fatigue affects your quality of life or causes you distress even after making these lifestyle changes, consult a health professional.
Don't have time for the full article? Read this.
While temporary fatigue is common, constant fatigue can affect your physical, emotional, and psychological health.
There are many causes of fatigue including a sedentary lifestyle, medications, treatments, and other health-related issues.
Stay active and practice healthy eating.
Try stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, tai chi, and reading to help manage your stress and help curb your fatigue.
Consult a doctor if your fatigue lasts more than two weeks.
Featured photo credit: Doğukan Şahin via unsplash.com
|||^||Mayo Clinic: Fatigue|
|||^||Mayo Clinic: Fatigue|
|||^||Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Tips for Better Sleep|
|||^||Royal College of Psychiatrists: Sleeping well|
|||^||Mayo Clinic: Nutrition and healthy eating|
|||^||National Library of Medicine: The Effects of Alcohol on Quality of Sleep|
|||^||Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Dietary Guidelines and Alcohol|
|||^||Harvard Health Publishing: Exercise versus caffeine: Which is your best ally to fight fatigue?|
|||^||Heart.org: American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids|
|||^||Cleveland Clinic: 10 Ways You Can Relieve Stress Right Now|
|||^||NIH: Cognitive behavioural therapy for chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome: outcomes from a specialist clinic in the UK|
|||^||Medline Plus: Fatigue|