Have you noticed that you’re feeling more tired than usual over the last few days, weeks, or even months? Feeling a little tired occasionally is normal, but when you feel extreme tiredness that occurs seemingly out of nowhere, there may be an underlying problem. Let’s take a look at the top 10 most common unexpected causes of fatigue and what you can do to correct it.
1. Not Sleeping Properly
Healthy sleep is essential in preventing fatigue. You may get to bed early and wake up late, but that doesn’t mean you’re sleeping properly. A noisy environment or a medical condition such as sleep apnea can prevent you from reaching the deepest stages of sleep. Reading on a tablet, phone or computer right before bed can also stimulate your brain and makes falling asleep more difficult. (Read about it here in one of our past articles). If you believe that you’re having trouble sleeping, visit your doctor to request a sleep test.
2. Stressed Out
Mental stress releases a catabolic hormone called cortisol. While necessary in small amounts, excessive cortisol production can cause muscle breakdown, mental stress, and physical fatigue. A lack of sleep can make stress feel worse.
If you are going through a stressful time, try natural remedies such as walking in a park, meditation, and spending time with friends.
3. Feeling Depressed
If your mental health is suffering from a pre-existing condition, lack of sleep, mental stress, or all three, this could be contributing to your fatigue. Depression and anxiety are characterized by periods of chronic fatigue, and women are more at risk than men. If you have been feeling depressed, visit your doctor immediately to discuss treatment options.
4. Starting to Get Sick
One of the tell-tale signs that you’re about to come down with a cold, flu, or other common illness is sudden fatigue. If it’s cold season and you’re feeling fatigued, try taking one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water each morning. You can also supplement with vitamin D and zinc, visit a sauna, and get plenty of rest.
Allergy flareups is a common cause of fatigue. Have you been recently been in contact with these common allergens?
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
If so, visit your doctor to discuss an allergy treatment.
6. Specific Medical Condition
A pre-existing medical condition or one that you have yet to get treatment for could be the cause of your fatigue. Here are some conditions where chronic fatigue is the most common symptom:
- Thyroid issues
- Multiple sclerosis
Consult with your doctor about a blood test to look for possible medical conditions.
Continuing with the point above, if you’re taking medication for a medical condition, take a look at the label. Chances are that drowsiness and fatigue could be one of the side effects. Here are a few that are common:
- Allergy medications (antihistamines)
- Epilepsy medication
- Muscle relaxers
- Pain medication
8. Too Many Simple Carbohydrates
Your diet can be to blame for chronic fatigue, especially if you notice that you’re feeling tired soon after eating. Take a look at your food choices. Are you eating a lot of simple carbohydrates such as white rice, white bread, candy, junk food, and soda?
Energy crashes are common after indulging in these foods. Chat with your doctor or nutritionist about adopting a well-balanced diet with lean protein, healthy fats, and complex – not simple – carbohydrates.
9. Lack of Physical Activity
Ironically, refraining from being active can cause fatigue, especially when this is combined with a poor diet. Begin to incorporate more physical activity and exercise into your routine. You can start with a daily walk of 30 minutes and progress to simple bodyweight exercises.
Need some ideas for a workout you can do at home? Read our article on everyday household items to help you train.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you are overactive and you never give yourself a break, the fatigue could be your body telling you to take it easy. Aggressive exercise programs require at least two days of rest per week. If this sounds like your workout, take a few days off and see how you feel.