It’s a vicious cycle: wake up tired, go to work tired, go to bed tired, and repeat. This scenario is normal to many modern adults; however, the cycle can be broken! Lifestyle changes can drastically improve your overall health, including that frustrating exhaustion. Let’s address some common causes of fatigue, and learn strategies for eliminating it.
The Problem: Not Sleeping Enough
This is an extremely common cause of fatigue today. It is also the most obvious, and some readers may be wondering why it’s even on this list. If we were all being totally honest, though, we would likely have to admit that we know we’re not getting enough sleep every night.
The Solution: Just sleep! Make it a top priority to get 8 solid hours of sleep each night. If you work irregular shifts, polyphasic sleep may be preferable. People who struggle with insomnia may consider seeking professional help.
The Problem: Not Sleeping Well
There are few things more frustrating than making an effort to get more sleep, only to lay in bed awake for hours. Sleep quality can be impaired by things as simple as sleeping with the TV on, or as complex as medical issues.
The Solution: Practice good sleep hygiene: establish regular bed and wake times, wind down before bed, and sleep in a cool, dark room. A sleep study can help diagnose conditions like sleep apnea. It can also be beneficial to evaluate your mattress needs; sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress can seriously impair your sleep quality.
The Problem: Exercising Too Much or Too Little
Despite the demands of modern life, it is crucial for people to participate in some form of physical exercise each week. Exercise has many benefits, like improving insulin sensitivity and boosting energy levels.
With that in mind, it is possible to exercise too much. Health and fitness expert Chris Kresser explains the dangers of overtraining, and how this stress can negatively impact your life. Most people think that they could always hit the gym or treadmill more, but this is not necessarily the case.
The Solution: Find a happy medium that works for you. Your workouts should leave you feeling energized, not drained. People who don’t exercise can start small; even a little bit of positive change is better than none! If you work out frequently and are always sore afterwards, you might need to exercise less, or eat or sleep more, to recover more efficiently.
The Problem: Eating an Unhealthy Diet
Eating well affects much more than our waistlines; the foods that we consume also contribute to our hormone balances and energy levels. One important micronutrient to eat for increased energy and immunity is vitamin C. Fortunately, it is very easy to eat enough vitamin C every day by eating the recommended fruit and vegetable servings.
We are also learning that gut health has a strong influence on the entire body, including energy and emotions. Our gastrointestinal systems require a balance of good and bad bacteria to function at their optimal capacity. Imbalances can lead to poor sleep and reduced immunity, both of which can contribute to fatigue.
The Solution: Strive to eat a whole foods diet with plenty of vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies. Enjoy fermented foods and prebiotics (like bananas, onions, and even dark chocolate!) to support gut health.
Even though we live in a fast-paced society, we do not have to feel run down all the time. In most cases, it is possible to reduce fatigue through lifestyle changes. First and foremost, make sure to get enough high quality sleep each night. If sleep does not improve your fatigue, address your exercise and dietary habits. With good daily choices, you can improve your health & feel the way that you are meant to feel: energetic, positive, and ready for life’s challenges!