I’ve noticed that I’ve been very tired lately. I say ‘lately’ but it’s been going on for months. But why am I always tired?
So, I went to the doctor, and he suggested getting blood work done. It would test for 10 things, so 10 different tests. I wasn’t fazed until I found out that it would be $80 a test, and my health insurance doesn’t cover it.
So, I turned to the internet instead.
Fatigue vs. tiredness
Firstly, there is a difference between fatigue and tiredness. Fatigue is not the same as just being tired or sleepy, but they could be related. Fatigue means you have no energy, and it affects your emotional and mental state and drastically affects your day-to-day life.1
Symptoms include: being very tired, or becoming tired right after you start doing something, having little to no motivation, trouble with concentration and focus, making more errors, having slower reaction times than usual, and poor mood.1
I don’t think I suffer from fatigue. I’m still able to do what I’m meant to do and a coffee or energy drink usually gets me back to where I should be. Power naps have also been a saving grace, but they’re not always possible.
It seems like tiredness is a symptom of 90% of diseases, so it could be nothing or I could be dying. Who knows?
However, there are some deficiencies or diseases that mainly cause tiredness:1,2,3
- Viruses (like Covid or the flu)
- Poor sleep quality
- Poor diet
- Iron deficiency (anaemia)
- Sleep apnoea
- Underactive thyroid
- Coeliac disease (allergic to gluten)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (severe fatigue for at least 4 months)
- Glandular fever
- Restless leg syndrome
- Heart disease
- Liver or kidney problems
- Multiple sclerosis
- Vitamin deficiencies like vitamin B, vitamin D, vitamin C, and magnesium
- Caffeine consumption
- Certain medications like blood pressure pills and antidepressants
- Fluctuation in hormones
So, that narrows it down …
What can I do?
Obviously, if you know why you’re tired, you’d remedy that with medication or lifestyle changes.
Here are a few things you can do to alleviate your tiredness:
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, and that means getting at least 7 hours’ shuteye. If you struggle to fall asleep, natural supplements can help, or talk to your doctor about sleep medication. It’s also important to keep a consistent sleep schedule and limit stimuli (screens) before bed to get the best quality sleep.1,3
- Stress leads to mental and physical exhaustion, so it’s important to treat it. A therapist or loved ones can help with it. It’s good to talk about what’s bothering us. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing or yoga can help, as well as doing relaxing activities during the day, like reading, listening to music, and spending time with friends.1,2,4
- Improving your diet can help your energy levels. It makes sense that if you eat trash, you will feel like trash. Also, processed foods with too much sugar will impact sleep. It’s better to eat nutritious foods.2,4
- Caffeine can harm sleep quality, so it’s important to limit your consumption thereof (no more than 200mg per day). Try not to consume caffeine 4 hours before bed.1,2
- Keep hydrated, because dehydration makes you feel tired.1,2
- Regular exercise helps energy levels. About 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity cardio every week is a good goal to aim for. This is important because a sedentary lifestyle can lower energy levels and impact your health. However, don’t exercise just a few hours before bed, as it can impact your sleep quality.5,6
- Playing upbeat music can increase energy levels temporarily.4
- Drink less alcohol. Alcohol may make you fall asleep easier but you won’t stay asleep or have good quality sleep.1
I’ve looked at all the possible causes and looked up the symptoms of diseases, and I don’t think there’s anything seriously wrong with me. Besides being tired, I’m pretty healthy. I think it is depression, anaemia, dehydration, and hormone fluctuations. So, I’m taking iron supplements and keeping an eye on the rest.
The dog also often wakes us up at 5:30AM. Or rather, he wakes my husband up. I usually just register that the dog is being a nuisance and then I go back to sleep. That might also affect my energy levels.
I’m going to get blood tests done eventually, but it fluctuates so much from day to day, and I don’t get a great night’s sleep every night because of my hubby and the dog’s snoring. Not to mention this unholy heat and humidity these days.
Anyway, I’ll let you know once I know.
PPS: I used these sources: