Why you feel tired all the time

May 1, 2018

Do you often ask yourself, "Why am I so tired all the time?" If so, this article may be the perfect read for you; we have compiled a list of some of the most common reasons for tiredness and what you can do to bounce back into action.

woman yawning at her computer

There are many reasons for tiredness, including a lack of sleep, poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, and medical conditions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 15.3 percent of women and 10.1 percent of men regularly feel very tired or exhausted in the United States.

Tiredness can cause an array of problems. For example, around 1 in 25 adult drivers report falling asleep at the wheel each month.

About 72,000 crashes and 44,000 injuries each year are a result of drowsy driving, and that's not to mention the estimated 6,000 fatal crashes caused by drowsy drivers.

Everyone feels tired at some point in their lives — whether it's due to a late night out, staying up to watch your favorite TV show, or putting in some extra hours at work.

Often, you can put your finger on the reason you're not feeling your best, but what about those times when you can't pinpoint the cause of your tiredness? What makes you feel tired then?

Medical News Today have researched the possible explanations for why you could be feeling so drained and the steps that you can take to feel re-energized.

1. Lack of sleep

A lack of sleep may seem an obvious reason for feeling tired, yet 1 in 3 U.S. adults are consistently not getting enough of it.

man falling asleep in a car

Tiredness increases the risk of accidents, obesity, high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease.

People aged between 18 and 60 years need 7 or more hours of sleep every day to promote optimal health, according to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

Getting under the recommended hours of sleep each night is not only associated with fatigue, impaired performance, and a greater risk of accidents, but it also has adverse health outcomes.

These include obesityhigh blood pressuredepressionheart diseasestroke, and an increased risk of death.

If you struggle to fit in 7 hours of sleep, here are some tips to help you achieve a full dose of much-needed slumber:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning — even on the weekends.
  • Avoid naps. We need a certain amount of sleep within a 24-hour period and no more than that. Napping reduces the amount of sleep that we require the following night, which might lead to difficulty getting to sleep and fragmented sleep.
  • Limit time awake in bed to 5–10 minutes. If you find that you are lying awake in bed worrying or with your mind racing, get out of bed and sit in the dark until you are feeling sleepy, then go back to bed.
  • Ensure that your bedroom is quiet, dark, and a comfortable temperature. Any light that enters your room could disturb your sleep. Ensure that your room is dark and that light emitted from digital devices is out of sight. Cooler room temperatures are considered better to promote sleep than warmer temperatures.
  • Limit caffeinated drinks. Try not to consume caffeinated beverages after noon. The stimulating effects of caffeine can last for many hours after intake and cause issues with initiating sleep.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol before bed. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol before going to bed may cause fragmented sleep.

If you practice all the sleeping habits listed above and still wake up tired, it might be a good idea to contact your healthcare provider and discuss whether you have a sleep-related medical problem such as insomniaobstructive sleep apnea, or restless legs syndrome.

2. Poor diet

The easiest way to banish tiredness is to make adjustments to your diet. Eating a healthful and balanced diet can make the world of difference to how you feel.

selection of healthy foods

Eating a healthful and balanced diet can help to combat fatigue.

To improve your health and get all the nutrients you need — as well as eliminate fatigue — it is vital to choose a healthful mix of food from the five food groups, which are: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.

You can switch up your eating style today by implementing some of these small changes:

  • Eat the right amount of calories for your sex, age, weight, and activity level. Eating either too much or too little can make you feel sluggish.
  • Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Be sure to focus on eating whole fruits and a selection of vegetables.
  • Ensure whole grains make up half the grains you consume. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, bulgur, and whole-wheat flour.
  • Shift to low-fat and fat-free dairy to help limit your calories from saturated fats.
  • Vary your protein routine. Try to choose lean poultry and meat, limit processed meats, choose unsalted nuts and seeds, and select some omega-3-rich seafood.
  • Cut down on sugar. Sugar can give you a quick rush of energy, but it wears off fast and might make you feel more tired. Avoid foods and drinks that have lots of added sugar.
  • Never skip breakfast. Regularly skipping breakfast can lead to you missing out on key nutrients and the energy that you need to kick-start your day.
  • Eat at regular intervals. Sustain your energy levels by eating three meals per day and limiting unhealthful snacks.
  • Drink enough water. Drinking water can help to prevent dehydration, which results in fatigue, unclear thinking, mood changes, overheating, and constipation.

3. Sedentary lifestyle

When tiredness sets in, sitting on the couch and relaxing could seem to be the only answer. But getting up and moving may be the best thing you can do to re-energize and eradicate fatigue.

older man riding a bike

Exercising can help to increase energy and reduce tiredness.

Research by the University of Georgia (UGA) in Athens discovered that compared with sitting quietly, one single bout of moderate-intensity exercise lasting for at least 20 minutes helped to boost energy.

An earlier study by UGA also found that when sedentary individuals completed an exercise program regularly, their fatigue improved compared with those who did not.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest that all adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week and muscle-strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups on 2 or more days per week.

This may seem to be a lot of time spent exercising, but you can spread out your activity across the week and, in total, it is just the amount of time that you might otherwise spend watching a movie.

Fatigue: Why am I so tired and what can I do about it?

Fatigue: Why am I so tired and what can I do about it?Learn more about how to manage your fatigue.READ NOW

If you have not exercised for a while, start slowly. Begin with a brisk 10-minute walk each day and build up to walking fast for 30 minutes on 5 days per week.

Brisk walking, water aerobics, riding a bike, playing tennis, and even pushing a lawnmower can all count toward your time spent doing moderate-intensity exercise.

4. Excessive stress

Many situations can cause stress. Work, financial problems, relationship issues, major life events, and upheavals such as moving house, unemployment, and bereavement — the list of potential stressors is never-ending.

man looking stressed

Excessive stress can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion.

A little stress can be healthy and may actually make us more alert and able to perform better in tasks such as interviews, but stress is only a positive thing if it is short-lived.

Excessive, prolonged stress can cause physical and emotional exhaustion and lead to illness.

Stress makes your body generate more of the "fight-or-flight" chemicals that are designed to prepare your body for an emergency.

In situations such as an office environment where you can't run away or fight, the chemicals that your body has produced to protect you can't be used up and, over time, can damage your health.

If the pressures that you face are making you feel overtired or giving you headachesmigraines, or tense muscles, don't ignore these signals. Take some time out until you feel calmer, or try some of these tips.

  • Identify the source of stress. Until you can recognize what is causing you to create and maintain stress, you will be unable to control your stress levels.
  • Keep a stress journal to identify patterns and common themes.
  • Learn to say no. Never take on too much — be aware of your limits and stick to them.
  • Avoid those who stress you out. If there is someone in your life causing you a significant amount of stress, try to spend less time in their company.
  • Communicate your concerns. Learn to express your feelings and concerns instead of keeping them bottled up if something is bothering you.
  • View situations in a different way. Try to look at stressful situations in a more positive light. For example, if you're stuck in a traffic jam, see it as an opportunity to have some alone time and listen to your favorite tunes.
  • Look at the bigger picture. Think about whether the stressful situation will matter in a month's time. Is it worth getting upset about?
  • Accept the things you are unable to change. Some sources of stress, such as an illness or the death of a loved one, are unavoidable. Often, the best way to deal with stress is to try and accept things the way they are.
  • Learn to forgive. We are all human and often make mistakes. Let go of anger, resentments, and negative energy by forgiving friends, family, and colleagues and moving on.

Physical activity is a significant stress reliever and releases feel-good endorphins. If you are feeling stress build up, go for a walk, take your dog out, or even put on some music and dance around the room.

5. Medical conditions

If you have made lifestyle changes to do with your physical activity, diet, stress levels, and sleep but still feel tired all the time, there could be an underlying medical condition.

doctor holding clipboard with anemia written on it

Many medical conditions, such as anemia, can make you feel tired.

Some of the most common conditions that report fatigue as a key symptom include:

If you are concerned that you have a medical condition that is causing you to feel tired, arrange an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your worries as soon as possible.

Written on
April 30, 2018

Continue reading...

More from our Blog:

Safety Tips for Exercising Outdoors

Enjoy your outdoor exercise while keeping an eye on your safety! Stay safe, live well!

Read Post
What are the best foods to fight aging?

Although all of the foods mentioned above are appreciated for their significant health benefits, we should not forget that well-being and longevity cannot be achieved without a balanced, inclusive diet and a healthful lifestyle. Moreover, current studies suggest that our genetic makeup may have an important say as to which foods work best for our health. So, keeping our list of nutritious foods in mind, make sure you follow the healthful diet that is most effective for you!

Read Post
Daylight Savings 2018: When do US clocks go forward and why do we have it?

Daylight Savings 2018: When do US clocks go forward and why do we have it?

Read Post
Five St. Patrick’s Day Safety Tips

St. Patrick’s day calls for drinks with friends, a heap of green, and a healthy dose of responsibility. With that formula and the above tips, you can make March 17 a greater and safer night out for you and your loved ones.

Read Post
Diabetes Alert Day March 27 2018

American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day ®, observed annually on the 4th Tuesday in March, is a 1-day wake-up call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, particularly when diabetes is left undiagnosed or untreated. Diabetes Alert Day 2018 will be observed on Tuesday, March 27.

Read Post
The Four Most Dangerous Holiday Driving Hazards

Whether it’s making a “Merry Christmas!” phone call from behind the wheel, rushing to the next holiday party or indulging in some rum eggnog prior to hitting the road, here are some of the most dangerous behaviors drivers exhibit during the holiday season.

Read Post
GRIEF & THE HOLIDAYS

Holidays are clearly some of the roughest terrain we navigate after a loss. The ways we handle them are as individual as we are. What is vitally important is that we be present for the loss in whatever form the holidays do or don’t take. These holidays are part of the journey to be felt fully. They are usually very sad, but sometimes we may catch ourselves doing okay, and we may even have a brief moment of laughter. You don’t have to be a victim of the pain or the past. When the past calls, let it go to voice mail…it has nothing to say. You don’t have to be haunted by the pain or the past. You can remember and honor the love. Whatever you experience, just remember that sadness is allowed because death, as they say, doesn’t take a holiday. Even without grief, our friends and relatives often think they know how our holidays should look, what the family should and shouldn’t do. Now more than ever, be gentle with yourself. Don’t do more than you want, and don’t do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss.

Read Post
Christmas tree and decoration fires

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. Carefully decorating your home can help make your holidays safer.

Read Post
Protecting Your Family AMERICA'S OPIOID EPIDEMIC

Opioid pain-killers and drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

Read Post
Officials warn about carbon monoxide as residents turn on heaters

If you suspect you home may have carbon monoxide, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Read Post
Five Safety Tips for Deep Frying Turkey

Fried turkeys are delicious, but they come with a slew of safety issues. Thousands of fires as well as many deaths and injuries happen each year due to turkey fryer fires. Before you set up your turkey fryer this Thanksgiving, remember these safety tips.

Read Post
The theme of World Diabetes Day 2017 is Women and diabetes - our right to a healthy future.

All women with diabetes require affordable and equitable access to care and education to better manage their diabetes and improve their health outcomes.

Read Post
Vaccine Effectiveness - How Well Does the Flu Vaccine Work?

The large numbers of flu-associated illnesses and deaths in the United States, combined with the evidence from many studies that show flu vaccines help to provide protection, support the current U.S. flu vaccination recommendations. It is important to note, however, that how well flu vaccines work will continue to vary each year, depending especially on the match between the flu vaccine and the flu viruses that are spreading and causing illness in the community, as well as the characteristics of the person being vaccinated.

Read Post
Fire Prevention Week October 8-14 2017

Fire Prevention WeekIn a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy. That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here’s this year’s key campaign messages:

Read Post
2017 National Seasonal Preparedness

Download the Ready 2017 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar (PDF) Download the Ready 2017 National Seasonal Preparedness Messaging Calendar (JPEG)

Read Post
10 Driving Safety Tips For A Happy Halloween

Halloween is a holiday that children and adults alike can enjoy. Who doesn’t love costumes, candy, and scary stories? But Halloween can also be a very dangerous time to be a driver and a pedestrian. If you have to drive this Halloween, follow these driving safety tips.

Read Post
Halloween Health and Safety Tips

Fall celebrations like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy parties, and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.

Read Post
When & How to Wash Your Hands

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.When should you wash your hands?

Read Post
Concussion Safety

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

Read Post
Bullying: What Schools, Parents and Students Can Do

According to the FBI, “Bullying remains one of the largest problems in schools, with the percentage of students reportedly bullied at least once per week steadily increasing since 1999.” Additionally, cyberbullying has become more rampant and has contributed to the suicides of multiple children. The Internet has unleashed meanness to a degree unseen before. Thanks to the accessibility to the Internet and the affordability of new technology, bullies now have multiple ways to harass their victims. The current generation has the added ability to use technology to expand their reach and the extent of their attacks exponentially.

Read Post
BACK TO SCHOOL SAFETY

As summer draws to a close and children start heading back to school, family life can get pretty hectic. It's important to remember – and share with your children – some key tips that will help keep them safe and healthy throughout the school year.

Read Post
Dog Days of Summer - Are you aware of Heat related issues?

For more information, read the Red Cross Heat Wave Safety Checklist. Tags: Heat, Health & Safety.

Read Post
Come Visit Nottingham Ambulance Squad at National Night Out Tuesday August 1, 2017

We have many opportunities for membership, including contributing members and active riding members. If you are interested in joining, please visit our website and complete the membership application.

Read Post
Summer Vacation Safety

As the warm weather approaches and thoughts turn to getting away for a few days, being safe while on summer vacation helps ensure that you and your loved ones only have good memories of your time away from home. There are many things you can do to keep yourself, your family and your valuables safe.

Read Post
Insect Sting Allergy Treatment

Call 911If the person does have severe allergy symptoms (anaphylaxis): Seek emergency care if the person has any of these symptoms or a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), even if there are no symptoms: Difficulty breathing or wheezingTightness in the throat or a feeling that the airways are closingHoarseness or trouble speaking Nausea, abdominal pain, or vomitingFast heartbeat or pulseSkin that severely itches, tingles, swells, or turns redAnxiety or dizzinessLoss of consciousness

Read Post
Nottingham Ambulance Squad answered 50 calls for service in March 2017 logging 504 volunteer hours

Nottingham Ambulance Squad answered 50 calls for service in March 2017 logging 504 volunteer hours

Read Post