Do you feel tired all the time? Do you drift through most days in a sluggish state – even if you had a full night’s sleep? Unfortunately, because fatigue has a multitude of different causes, it can be hard to track down the culprit. To help understand why you might be feeling constantly fatigued – even after that full night of sleep – here are some common causes of fatigue.
Let’s start with the most obvious source, sleep. It is estimated that 60 million Americans persistently suffer from sleep deprivation. Even if you do get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night, various factors – such as your hormone levels – can affect sleep quality, which means you are not as well rested as you should be.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. But when your body experiences chronic stress, it takes a toll on your health and can leave you feeling constantly fatigued. Sleep gets disrupted, your immune system becomes vulnerable, and even your cardiovascular system can become strained.
Your energy levels are determined by what you eat, because your body converts the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates you eat into daily energy. Therefore, if your diet is less than ideal, it could be a cause of constant fatigue.
A diet that is high in refined carbohydrates, such as pasta, white breads, sugary desserts, and sweetened sodas and fruit juices, can contribute to fatigue.
These types of carbohydrates cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, which leads to a surge of insulin to move sugar out of the blood and into the cells, followed by a drop in blood sugar – all of which can leave you feeling worn out.
Fatigue can also stem from what you are not eating.
If you are not eating a well-balanced diet, which includes plenty of colorful vegetables, moderate amounts of fruit, lean protein, and sources of healthy fats like olive oil and fish, you could be deficient in essential nutrients, which is another common cause of fatigue.
Iron deficiency anemia is a common cause for feeling weak and tired. In fact, it is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. As the name implies, it is caused by a lack of iron, one of the key nutrients needed to produce healthy blood.
Without enough iron, your body cannot produce enough hemoglobin, the important substance found in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen throughout the body.
The thyroid gland affects virtually every organ in the body. The thyroid produces hormones that regulate every bodily process – from how fast your heart beats to how efficiently your intestines digest food.
The two main hormones made by the thyroid gland are T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).
The production of these two hormones is regulated by another hormone, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which is produced in the brain.
Hormonal changes leading up to, during, and after menopause can cause excessive fatigue. Estradiol, progesterone, thyroid, and adrenal hormones are involved with regulating energy at the cellular level, and menopause can cause these hormones to fluctuate at random, which is why fatigue is a common symptom for women going through menopause.