Are you relying on a second or third cup of coffee and an afternoon nap to get you through the day? Is your post-lunch crash inevitable? Fatigue affects most American adults, today. And, these are the most common reasons you feel fatigued.
Fatigue is best described as feelings of extreme tiredness. Chronic fatigue is extreme tiredness that doesn’t go away over time or with additional rest and sleep. It can also include other symptoms, like moodiness, joint pain, and lack of focus.
Unfortunately, a varying degree of fatigue plaques the majority of American adults. In fact, one poll showed that only one in seven adults wake up feeling rested every day. Coincidence? I think not. The American lifestyle and diet has changed drastically over the last several decades and these are primary factors in the rise in fatigue.
Overly stressed lifestyles and the Standard American Diet contribute to increasing feelings of fatigue. So, here’s what might be causing you to feel fatigued often:
Thyroid dysfunction can lead to a low-functioning thyroid– also known as, Hypothyroidism. When the thyroid slows down, so does everything else in the body. Cue: fatigue. In addition to fatigue, the most common symptoms of Hypothyroidism are feeling cold, numbness and tingling in hands, depression, weight gain, muscle weakness, and brain fog. It’s important to work with a trusted practitioner to order a comprehensive thyroid panel to test your thyroid hormones. Along with symptom analysis, this is the most effective way to confirm a Hypothyroidism diagnosis.
As a Functional Nutritionist, I most commonly see under-eating as a reason for fatigue. While it’s important to not consume too many calories, eating enough is equally important. If you don’t consume enough food, your mind and body will not have enough fuel to get you through the day. And, if you’re an active person, you need to pay even closer attention to your caloric intake (especially after workouts). If you struggle with low energy or fatigue on a daily basis, try increasing your consumption of protein, carbs, and fats. Remember: whole foods are best!
Failing to manage chronic stress will no doubt drain your mental and physical energy stores. Feelings of overwhelm and fatigue are often signs that chronic stress is wearing you down. Stress can also lead to sleepless nights, which only further fuel feelings of fatigue. To start managing stress, learn how to set appropriate boundaries and establish coping techniques. In many cases, therapy is extremely effective at helping to manage chronic stress.
Practicing poor sleep hygiene is an inevitable way to lose hours of quality sleep. Do you often lay awake at night, scrolling on your phone? Or, maybe you set an ideal bedtime, but can never seem to stick with it? Establishing healthy sleep hygiene is critical for adequate and quality sleep. For example: sleep in a cool, dark room and avoid using your phone at night. If digital devices are a must after the sun goes down, wear blue light-blocking glasses. Learn more about sleep hygiene, here.
If you regularly fight feelings of fatigue after mealtime, blood sugar imbalance is likely to blame. Eating meals that are high in carbs, sugar, or refined foods, will naturally spike blood sugar levels, inevitably leaving you with a blood sugar crash. Another tell-tale sign of blood sugar imbalance is waking up in the middle of the night (around 2-3am). Instead of consuming primarily carbohydrates, pair all your carbs with protein and fats. Learn more about how to balance your blood sugar, here.
Fatigue is common, but it’s certainly not normal. Use these common reasons for fatigue to help identify the root cause of your fatigue. For personalized guidance on how to overcome fatigue, apply to work with me!