What to Do About Fatigue
Some reasons for fatigue include:
Lack of sleep – Most adults require at least eight hours of sleep per night.
Anemia – Talk to your doctor about altering your diet or vitamin/mineral supplements.
Stress/anxiety – Constant circulation of the stress hormone cortisol through your system zaps your energy.
Infections – Flu, Lyme disease, glandular fever or any infection is likely to result in fatigue.
Depression – Those with a genetic predisposition toward depression should consult with their doctor. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects sufferers during the winter months and can be treated with light therapy.
Cancer – The cancer itself, as well as treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, can cause fatigue.
Low metabolism – When the body is slow to produce energy from the food you eat, extreme fatigue can result.
High metabolism – A too-high metabolism can cause a high pulse rate and difficulty resting, leading to excessive fatigue.
Poor eating habits – Living on sugar, fat and caffeine has disastrous results.
Diabetes – Extreme fatigue is actually a warning symptom of this disease.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) – General fatigue without explanation characterizes this disease about which little is known, including its cause.
Certain medications – Antihistamines, cold medications, some antidepressants and many other drugs can cause fatigue.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) – This is the inability to keep your legs, feet and/or arms still when you lay down to go to sleep.
Sleep apnea – This condition interferes with sleep by interrupting your breathing. Many treatments are available.
Thyroid problems – Symptoms of hypothyroidism include sluggishness, chronically cold hands and feet, constipation, dry skin, unexplained weight gain and hoarseness. Hyperthyroidism symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, weight loss, increased heart rate, nervousness and irritability. See your doctor.
What to do about it:
Reduce stress – If you are unable to do this on your own through lifestyle changes, it may help to get professional counseling through your local mental health association, doctor, workplace or place of worship.
Exercise – At least 30 minutes per day of physical activity is recommended.
Eat well – A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources will keep your energy at its optimal level.
Avoid alcohol – Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and sedative which can disrupt sleep and make you tired for hours after only a few drinks. Limit your intake.
Stop smoking – The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke makes your oxygen intake less efficient, and oxygen is crucial in energy production.
Get adequate sleep – While not everyone needs eight hours, figure out what your optimal amount is and make whatever changes in your lifestyle are necessary to ensure adequate sleep.
Drink enough water – The basic rule of thumb is eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day.
Eat breakfast – Skipping breakfast ensures a mid-morning slump that’s hard to recover from.
Don’t skip meals – Your body is like a furnace—in order to burn fuel efficiently, it needs a steady intake of nutrients throughout the day to avoid spikes in blood sugar.
Don’t crash diet – Not only do you not get enough calories (energy) with most crash diets, but many of them restrict certain types of foods, and a balance of nutrient-dense foods helps you to maintain your energy levels.
Don’t overeat – When your stomach is stuffed, your blood supply rushes to that site to digest the overabundance of calories, making your feel sleepy and energy-depleted.
Limit caffeine – Five or fewer caffeinated drinks per day should be the limit, and none after three in the afternoon to avoid insomnia.
Learn to relax – There are many relaxation techniques out there. Find one that helps you clear your mind before sleep time so that you won’t dwell on your problems in bed.
Avoid sleeping pills – Because the root cause of insomnia isn’t addressed, sleeping pills don’t work in the long run. Long-term use of these medications can lead to addiction and worsened insomnia.
Limit sedentary time – If you work at a desk all day, once an hour stand up and stretch, run in place, take a walk, anything to get the blood flowing.
Have fun – Don’t forget the power of laughter, one of the great energy boosters. Learn to shoe-horn in some enjoyable activities every day.