Do you constantly daydream about collapsing into bed even though it’s only midday? Do you consider caffeine to be your best friend? Are you ready for a nap as soon as you wake up? What are the causes of low energy?
Raise your hand if this sounds like you – if you’re not too exhausted to actually lift your arm, that is.
You aren’t alone. It seems that fatigue is an epidemic: The National Safety Council reported in 2017 that 43 percent of Americans admit they’re too exhausted to function properly.1
But do you know exactly why you’re always so tired? For the best answer, speak to your doctor about your fatigue. They will need to determine the cause of your low energy in order to provide a solution.
The possible causes of low energy levels are many, and you might be surprised by a few of them.
Do You Need More Sleep?
It’s no secret that experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep nightly. 2 However, what’s often overlooked is the quality of your slumber.
Quite a few factors could be disrupting your circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle, such as:
- Pre-existing sleep conditions like obstructive sleep apnea (which you and your doctor must manage closely)
- Discomfort from existing health problems
- Problems with low mood which could lead to insomnia
Not only can these conditions make sleep harder, but the lack of restful sleep could aggravate any of these conditions. This can have a direct effect on the extreme tiredness you experience daily.3
But even without these conditions, not giving your brain and body the chance to recharge and replenish itself could contribute to a host of other issues that impact your overall health and wellness.4
So, while how long you sleep matters, how well you actually sleep matters more. Your brain needs to complete all the stages of sleep to fully recharge your body.5
A good night’s sleep is easily undermined by any number of factors. Setting up a good environment for shut-eye is essential. Here are some things you can try to possibly get better-quality sleep:
- Invest in clean and comfortable quality bedding.
- Set the right temperature (a cooler room is better).
- Freshen the air and clear it of potential allergens.
- Scent your pillows and sheets with a relaxing aroma, like lavender.6
Could An Illness Be Contributing To Your Fatigue?
There is a potential connection between illness and feeling tired all the time. This makes it imperative that you get in touch with your doctor if you’re dealing with serious fatigue regularly.
One health condition potentially contributing to your low energy levels could be iron-deficiency anemia.7
Iron is essential to the production of healthy red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout your body. If you suffer from an iron deficiency, you may:
- Look pale
- Feel weak and tired all the time
- Have headaches
- Experience excessive sleepiness
- Have muscle weakness8
You can address iron-deficiency anemia by getting properly diagnosed by a doctor. Then, you could look into a couple of lifestyle changes: consuming a more iron-rich diet, and switching to a new or better vitamin or iron supplement (as recommended by your doctor, of course).
Is Stress Sapping All Your Energy?
The struggle is real — stress, from all aspects of your life, can build up on the daily and take its toll on your health.9
Studies suggest that work-related stress could be playing a large part in why you’re constantly exhausted.10
Prolonged stress can cause an abnormal rise in the body’s cortisol levels, which then has an impact on your energy (or lack thereof).11
This cycle of stress and fatigue can deplete your adrenal glands, leading to adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue is said to be caused by the depletion of cortisol in the adrenal glands, which then leads to fatigue, among other debilitating symptoms and potential health problems.12
Possible Ways To Beat Stress And Fight Low Energy
While living with stress seems unavoidable given today’s world, that doesn’t mean you can’t employ tools to help you deal with it.
Here are some ways you might be able to beat stress naturally:
- Employ a well-balanced diet with reduced reliance on stimulants like caffeine and sugar. A poor diet can seriously mess up your energy levels.13
- Reap the rewards of physical activity or regular exercise well past weight loss, in order to stimulate both the body and the mind. Exercise is a stress-buster.14
- Consider cognitive behavioral therapy, which could alter the way you respond to and process stressful situations and events.15
Talk To Your Doctor About Prolonged Fatigue
If you’re constantly feeling tired, it’s worth exploring probable causes with your primary care doctor. You may want to make some lifestyle changes, too, including making more time for exercise and evaluating your vitamin and mineral intake. Whether you view life as a race or a marathon, it won’t do to constantly be running on empty.