Diagnosing fatigue is not hard. Do you feel tired? Do you have a hard getting out of bed? Do you have a harder time getting through the day without more rest? All the time?
Physical and mental fatigue are common problems, usually symptomatic of your lifetyle or an underlying medical condition. Below are suggestions for identifying and treating lifestyle causes of fatigue, as well as possible medical conditions you should discuss with your doctor if lifestyle changes don’t get rid of your fatigue. Feeling fatigued all the time isn’t just not fun — it can and will effect your work performance, your relationships, your social life, and your overall quality of life. You deserve to feel energized and refreshed every day, so take steps to get rid of your fatigue now.
Understanding Your Fatigue
Fatigue is usually a symptom of one of two underlying causes: your lifestyle or a more serious medical condition.
Fatigue caused by your lifestyle should be easily treated by simply changing the lifestyle choices leading to your fatigue. The five suggestions to the right cover the most common causes of fatigue: fatigue from lack of sleep, fatigue from depression and anxiety, fatigue from poor nutrition, fatigue from lack of exercise, and fatigue from medications. The suggested treatments for these causes of fatigue are simple and should help you get rid of your fatigue quickly.
If the suggestions to the right aren’t helping you get rid of your fatigue, and you don’t think your fatigue is caused by your lifestyle, chances are you’re suffering from chronic fatigue caused by an untreated and potentially serious medical condition. The section below (Serious Medical Causes of Fatigue) offers more advice on how to address fatigue as a serious health problem.
Common Causes and Treatments of Fatigue
Create and keep a regular sleep schedule to get rid of fatigue. Lack of regular sleep is the most obvious cause of fatigue and can be remedied by holding yourself to a sleep schedule that gives you just the right amount of sleep, even if you have to set an alarm (or two). Everyone has different sleep needs (anywhere from 7-9 hours a night on average), and getting too much sleep can make you feel just as fatigued as too little sleep, so pay attention to your natural sleep patterns. You should wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go, not groggy and unable to focus. Avoid stimulating activities like eating, reading, watching television, and exercising before you go to bed. If a regular sleep schedule doesn’t help you get rid of fatigue, or you just don’t sleep well, you may have a more serious sleeping disorder that is preventing you from getting the deep and restful sleep you need (see below for more information).
Treating your depression, stress, and anxiety can help you to get rid of fatigue. One of the most common symptoms of depression is constant exhaustion, and stress and anxiety naturally consume your energy and leave you feelign worn-out and, you guessed it, fatigued. If you think you’re depressed or suffering from too much stress and anxiety, see a therapist and/or doctor as soon as possible for help treating the underlying causes, which will in turn help you get rid of fatigue.
Change unhealthy eating and drinking habits to get rid of fatigue. Poor nutrition is another common cause of fatigue. Not getting enough calories, protein, fiber, fluids, vitamins and nutrients, and drinking too much alchohol can all cause fatigue. Try adding juice and fresh fruits and vegetable to one meal day, replacing junk food snacks with healthy snacks like dried fruits and roasted nuts. Excessively reducing your calories by overdieting will definitely cause fatigue (and other health problems). If you lead a busy lifestyle and find yourself eating out or grabbing fast food more often than not, set aside one day a week to plan meals ahead of time. Pack lunches three or more days a week, cook big meals that you can freeze and eat later, eat smaller portion sizes at restaurants (most restaurant dishes are two to three times a healthy serving size) and take the rest home for later. Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake; alcohol is a natural depressant and caffeine is only a temporary stimulant than can also cause you to sleep poorly.
Exercise regularly to get rid of fatigue. If you’re not getting regular phsyical activity, just climbing a flight of stairs can leave you feeling fatigued. More exercise will get your body into better shape and leave you feeling naturally energized. If you’re out of shape regular exercise can be intimidating, but remember that getting into better shape doesn’t require intense physical exertion. Half an hour (or more) of moderate physcial activity is enough help you feel better. Taking a walk around your neighborhood, doing simple yoga stretches, or raking the yard are all good examples of moderate physical activity. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better and relieve some symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.
Some medications can cause your fatigue. Fatigue is a common side effect of medications like beta-blockers (often prescribed for high blood pressure), antidepressants, and both OTC and prescription antihistamines (for allergies). Some common cold medications and pain relievers contain caffeine, which can cause poor sleep, which can cause fatigue. If you think any of your regular medications are causing your fatigue, ask your doctor what you can do to counteract your exhaustion, or if there are any alternative medications without this side effect. In many cases these medications are necessary and if the condtion being treated is life-threatening or more disruptive to your daily life than the side effects, you may not have a choice but to keep taking them and live with your fatigue.
Alternative Treatments for Fatigue
Serious Medical Causes of Fatigue
If you’ve addressed and treated lifestyle causes of fatigue and your fatigue is still not going away, or if your fatigue has occured suddenly for no apparent reason, you should see your doctor about possible underlying medical causes of your fatigue as soon as possible.
Medical conditions that cause fatigue include clinical depression, pregnancy, sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders, anemia, diabetes, cancer, thyroid problems, and chronic fatigue syndrome (usually diagnosed after all other possible causes have been excluded). Your doctor should discuss these and other possibilities with you and work to uncover and treat the cause of your fatigue.