Why am I always tired? This is a question that we often hear, particularly when obvious causes such as lack of sleep have already been ruled out. Being tired of itself can be a cause of stress so it is worthwhile investigating why you are not feeling awake and alert when you should be.
One of the first areas to examine if fatigue is an ongoing problem is your diet. Fueling your brain with the right kinds of foods is important if you want to feel energized and refreshed. What types of foods are you eating and when? Recent studies have shown that sleepiness during the day can be attributed to diets that are higher in fat.
Another factor can be whether you are fueling yourself with the types of foods which provide you with a long, slow burn of energy, or those that will result in a “crash”. If you eat too many refined sugars and carbohydrates, these will lead to highs followed by deep lows, whereas if you consume low glycemic index (low GI) foods such as whole grains you will have a longer source of energy.
Hydration is another key area to assess. Are you drinking plenty of water throughout the day? Do you limit consumption of caffeine and alcohol? (both of which are dehydrating!). Proper hydration can go a long way toward keeping you feeling at your alert best…
So if your diet is pretty good, you are getting enough sleep and you are sufficiently hydrated yet you are still feeling tired, the next thing is to examine any mental pressures which may be affecting you. Is there something that is causing you to feel stress, anxiety, depression or burn-out? Have you undergone a stressful event recently such as a break-up, change in home life or change in work life? You may be able to find methods to ease stress in the short-term, but long-term stress can lead to feeling like you are tired all the time and can have other detrimental physical effects on your body.
We have covered here previously many different methods for identifying and coping with stress, but if you don’t feel right for an extended period of time and it is causing other symptoms such as depression or prolonged fatigue, it is time to seek professional help. Long-term stress can affect your health both physically and mentally so it is very important that you have an action plan in place.
Lastly, if you can rule out diet, sleep, hydration and stress as causes of your tiredness, make sure you go to your doctor and have a physical. There are some conditions that can lead to fatigue no matter how well you manage the other areas and it is important that these are treated if they apply to you. For example, conditions such as anemia can cause fatigue but you will not know that your are anemic until you have a blood test done.
How have you fought fatigue? I’d love to hear from you below!
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