Feeling Tired and Exhausted? These Are The Main Causes of Fatigue

Remember how it feels to have droopy eyelids, an exhausted body, and yawns constantly forcing themselves onto your mouth? 

It certainly isn’t fun unless you’re getting ready for a night’s sleep. However, fatigue can suddenly happen whenever, whether it’s time to sleep or not. This can often mean poor performance at work, school, on the drive, or whatever it is you’re trying to get done. When it feels like a mountain is weighing upon your shoulders, doing the bare minimum can often get that much harder. On top of that, important things like focus, memory, coordination, and memory can get impaired.

Usually, fatigue can go on for an extended period. In those situations, evening waking up from a long sleep won’t leave you feeling energized and refreshed. However, there’s no need to feel like you’re stuck in a hopeless situation. Let’s take it step by step and spend some time understanding what the causes of your fatigue are. 

What is Fatigue?

In general, fatigue is all about the tiredness or lack of energy you may feel when doing tasks that you used to be able to complete with ease. Because of its persistence, it’s not something that a little short rest can fix. However, there’s also a component of fatigue beyond merely being tired. It also deals with the lack of motivation as well. As soon as motivation circles the drain, even doing simple tasks like getting out of your bed can be a struggle and chore to do. 

Types of Fatigue 

Because you are made up of your body and your mind, there exists physical fatigue and mental fatigue. Though they’re separate, they often feed into each other. For instance, if your body feels weaker or lacks muscle strength, it can be hard to even walk up the stairs like you normally once did. This can lead to a build-up of stress, which would soon impact your mental fatigue. 

On the other hand, mental fatigue involves the inability to give your full attention and concentration to a task at hand. Common symptoms include tiredness, inability to stop falling asleep throughout the day, and a struggle to keep awake. 

What Contributes to Fatigue?

There is a plethora of causes that can be sorted into three main categories, including mental health, lifestyle choices, and physical health conditions. Let’s take a deeper look into the top 3 causes per category. 

Mental Health Issues

1- Depression

Depression is when you might feel sad or hopeless for a long period of time. Usually, you might also feel a lack of energy when it comes to doing activities you used to enjoy, or for things as simple as brushing your teeth. Sometimes, you might have trouble falling asleep or sticking to a normal sleep schedule, which can eventually lead to fatigue and exhaustion. 

2- Anxiety

When you’re anxious a lot of the time, a hormonal rush is what’s often responsible for maintaining that constant sense of worry. As you might have guessed, that rush doesn’t last forever[1]. As soon as it crashes, you might end up very tired. Even when you’re anxious, that nervousness might keep you from fully relaxing to sleep, which can lead to a messed-up sleep schedule. 

3- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Having OCD means you may show an excessive tendency to gravitate toward orderliness, perfectionism, and detail. If left unchecked, OCD could cause relentless compulsions and obsessions that would make for an exhausting lifestyle. The depletion of energy you would feel would directly contribute to chronic fatigue[2]

Lifestyle Factors

1- Too Much Alcohol

A little bit of alcohol here and there is great to take the stress off things. However, it has a slight sedative effect[3] that can really contribute to fatigue and energy loss if drunk in high amounts. Other qualities of alcohol can also disrupt your sleep to result in nighttime awakenings and insomnia. 

2- Too Much Caffeine

Coffee is known by many as the go-to source in the morning for a boost of energy. However, once the caffeine leaves your body, it can usually result in fatigue if you drink too much. For instance, over 41 studies[4] have found that after people experienced more alertness for a few hours after drinking caffeinated drinks, they were more tired the next day. 

3- Not Enough Sleep

Fatigue comes naturally after a night of little sleep. However, if you persistently lose out on necessary hours of sleep day after day, your fatigue can turn into a more chronic issue. You’ll experience more of a short temper, constant lack of focus, and will feel the urge to fall asleep quite often throughout the day. It’s recommended that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep a night[5]

Physical Health Conditions

1- Anemia

Almost 2 billion people[6] globally live with iron deficiency anemia, with fatigue being one of the most common effects. Because your body can’t make enough of the protein that brings precious oxygen to your body tissue, you can end up feeling weak and lightheaded. 

2- Diabetes

When diabetes occurs, blood sugar levels are often affected. Your body parts need sugar in the form of glucose to regulate normally. However, that glucose builds up in your bloodstream instead, which can leave you feeling fatigued and lethargic. 

3- Thyroid

Your thyroid within your neck area plays an important part in helping your cells function by producing two crucial hormones. When it’s underactive, your body’s metabolism might start to slow down. Unfortunately, that can lead to fatigue and tiredness. 

When to See the Doctor?

You may come to a point where you’ve done everything you could to try to get rid of your fatigue, from eating right to getting the recommended hours of sleep. If your constant exhaustion isn’t going away no matter what, it’s time to take a visit to the doctor office to see if there’s a problem they can help identify to solve. Together, you both can work toward figuring out your chronic fatigue and regaining your energy to live a full life again.