Most of us have heard that we should get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Do we get that? Probably not often enough and when we do it’s not the quality of sleep we really need. What happens is that we end up sleepy during the day, fatigued, tired and not at 100% for what we are doing. Listed below are some of the causes and the remedies that help.
1. Sleep apnea affects many even if they aren’t aware of it. Sleep apnea is when one stops breathing momentarily, causing a momentary wake up during the night. We aren’t aware of waking up and end up deprived of precious sleep because of it. The key to resolving this problem is.
a. If you are overweight, losing weight can actually help. Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in our bodies and causes the muscles in the throat to slightly close thus causing a stoppage in breathing. Another remedy is to sleep with a CPAP device. This can often be prescribed by your doctor and allows the airways to stay open during the night. One might also try an oral appliance or stop snoring aid. Get one that positions the lower jaw slightly forward. This helps keep the airways open.
2. Check your eating habits. Irregular eating patterns and / or a poor diet can cause fatigue. These two habits can cause blood sugar levels to spike or drop throughout the day causing fatigue. The best remedy for these is to eat a healthy breakfast. Protein and complex carbohydrates are good sources of longer lasting energy and will sustain your energy levels better throughout the day. Try eating 3 regular meals per day and two light, healthy snacks between meals. Healthy snacks means fruits and cheese etc. Candy and sweets can be a good source of quick energy but it does not last long and you may end up worse when they are done.
3. Did you know that Anemia is the leading cause of fatigue for women? Especially during their menstrual cycles the blood loss can cause iron deficiencies which reduces the production and count of red blood cells in the body. If this is the case one should look into taking a vitamin supplement with Iron. Most women’s vitamins are fortified with this. Foods that will help are lean meats, liver, shellfish, fortified cereals, and beans.
4. Many of us think of depression as a mental health issue; however depression can also be a leading cause of fatigue, lack of motivation, loss of appetite and may other problems. If you have been feeling fatigued and down for more than a couple of weeks then see your doctor and make sure it’s not depression.
5. Get your thyroid checked. Your thyroid gland controls the speed at which the body converts food into energy. During hypothyroidism this can slow down and cause fatigue. Your doctor can perform a simple blood test to measure this and prescribe medications that can help or even dietary recommendations to help.
6. Caffeine can actually cause fatigue. Caffeine can help with alertness and keeping awake however it also can increase heart rate, jitteriness and in some people it causes fatigue. If you drink a lot of caffeinated drinks you may consider cutting back. Do not stop abruptly with caffeine as it can actually cause withdrawal symptoms and added fatigue.
7. Infections can cause fatigue and trouble waking up. I speak from experience on this one. During my college years I had an abscess tooth that I did not get taken care of. It became infected and as a result I was always tired, late for class and slept in classes. Shortly after fixing the problem I had more energy and less trouble waking up etc. UTI’s can also cause these symptoms as well. If you have an infection most antibiotics will help clear that up.
8. Dehydration will cause fatigue in the body. Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated? The main preventive measure for this is to drink water continually throughout the day. Even if you work a desk job you can become dehydrated. One should drink about two cups of water throughout the day, and even more prior to exercise. Tip: Keep water near your desk or workstation and sip on it throughout the day. 10 to 12 sips of water per hour can help you support hydration.
9. Diabetes can cause significant fatigue. Diabetes causes large levels of sugar to stay in the blood stream instead of being absorbed into the cells for energy. This in turn will result in fatigue or loss of energy. See your doctor if you think it may be diabetes.
10. If you frequently change working shifts or sleeping hours this can disrupt your sleeping patterns. If you work different shifts one way to make sure you get sleep is to make sure to keep your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible. Avoid having radios, televisions and other distractions in the bedroom regardless as this can promote disrupted sleep. White noise such as a fan can also help. If you do not work shifts that change try to keep your sleeping times the same every night, even weekends. It’s ok to vary about an hour on the weekends but try to keep it moderate to avoid the abrupt sleeping pattern changes that can cause problems.
11. A great way to fight fatigue is to exercise. 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 times a week has been proven to increase energy levels and fight fatigue.
Hopefully this helps you out with the fight against fatigue. Good Luck and enjoy.