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10 Reasons Why You Might Be Tired All The Time

Shreya Maji

6 min read

Constantly running low on energy throughout the day? From lifestyle habits to nutritional deficiencies, here are some reasons at the root of your fatigue.

There is an obvious link between staying up all night to binge the latest Netflix show and waking up tired the next morning. But at other times, feeling depleted of energy as you try to juggle your work and home life might not have very obvious reasons.

If you are asking yourself “Why do I feel tired all the time?”, you are not alone. Fatigue or tiredness is a common condition experienced by one-third of all teenagers and adults, as seen in studies published in Preventive Medicine (1986) and Pediatrics and Child Health (2008). Constant fatigue can be caused by simple lifestyle factors, but it can also be indicative of certain underlying health conditions and deficiencies. If you feel exhausted even after going to bed on time and getting adequate hours of sleep, here are some reasons that could be behind it.
01

You are not moving enough



The connection between over-exercising and feeling tired might seem obvious, but did you know that living a completely sedentary lifestyle can cause you to be even more fatigued? Not getting enough exercise or physical activity causes deconditioning of the body’s musculoskeletal system, which means you lose muscle mass and muscle strength, causing you to feel exhausted from simple physical activities. But luckily, this is reversible through regular exercise and proper nutrition. A study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health on 1500 people shows that an active lifestyle with at least 15 minutes of daily exercise can greatly benefit those suffering from daily tiredness.

Related Story: 7 Easy Ways to Get Yourself Moving

02

Your sleep is inadequate



Not getting enough sleep might seem one of the more obvious reasons for feeling tired, but getting sufficient restful sleep is something a lot of us struggle with. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommends 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day for adults. But more importantly, your sleep needs to be uninterrupted so that your brain can go through all the five stages of the sleep cycle. If you are waking up frequently throughout the night, it is likely that you will not feel well-rested. Also, sleeping during the day instead of at night disrupts your body’s circadian rhythm, and research shows that when your sleep is not in sync with your circadian rhythm, it can cause chronic fatigue.

Related Story: 6 Viral Life Hacks To Help Sleep Better

03

You are powering through on caffeine



When you are feeling tired, reaching for that extra cup of coffee at midday or a bottle of energy drink might sound like an easy fix. While the caffeine kick may provide a temporary boost of energy, it will also set you up for rebound fatigue, which is the tiredness you feel immediately after the effects of the caffeine wear off. Drinking caffeinated beverages also interferes with your sleep by blocking adenosine (sleep hormone) receptors, which leads to low levels of energy the following day, causing an endless cycle. Limit your caffeine to 2-3 cups (400mg) at most, and consume it early in the day to avoid interference with your sleep cycle.

04

You are not drinking enough water



When you are dehydrated, your blood pressure drops, leading to poor blood circulation, which causes tiredness. A study published in Oxford Academic in 2011 shows that even mild dehydration can lead to low energy levels. The recommended amount of water intake every day is 2 liters, and an easy way of meeting the requirement would be to drink water and juices in small quantities throughout the day.

Related Story: How Much Water Do You Really Need To Drink?

05

You are not eating enough



The number of calories you need per day varies across your weight, height, age and overall health. The resting metabolic rate of most adults or the number of calories that you at least need to sustain basic bodily functions is around 1200, while doing physical activity requires at least 1000 more. Restricting intake to fewer calories than you need will slow down your metabolic rate and lead to fatigue, as your body will be unable to continue even the basic functions. Skipping meals because you are too busy to eat, or eating too little because you do not have an appetite or are trying to lose weight and not eating enough to sustain heavy physical exertion, can cause you to feel tired all the time.

06

Your diet does not have enough protein



Protein is the macronutrient that makes up the major components of our cells and keeps our bodies running. High-protein diets are recommended for athletes and people who perform resistance training because studies show that they keep your energy levels higher than low-protein, high-fat diets. Running low on protein is a common side-effect of vegan or raw-food diets, because plant-based milks or foods have neither the protein content of cow milk, nor the complete set of 9 amino acids present in animal protein. If you are not getting enough protein, you will feel tired and sluggish throughout the day.

Related Story: Five Easy Ways to Add More Protein to Your Vegan Diet

07

You are running low on iron



Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in India, affecting more than half of all women and almost 30 percent of all men. Iron forms haemoglobin, which carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. If you are iron deficient, you will have poor oxygen circulation, making you feel unnaturally tired all the time.

08

You are not getting enough vitamins or minerals



Although vitamins and minerals by themselves do not provide your body with any energy, they help the body to convert the carbohydrates and fats present in your food into glucose, which gives you energy. For example, Vitamin B12 is crucial in the conversion of fats and proteins to usable energy. Vitamins A, C, D and B12 are vital to keep your energy levels high.

09

You might have a thyroid issue



Your metabolism is determined by your thyroid gland. Imbalance in the thyroid hormone levels can make you feel exhausted simply from doing daily activities. Hyperthyroidism, most commonly diagnosed in women of ages 20-40, and hypothyroidism, most commonly found in women above 50, can both cause constant fatigue. Thyroid disorders can be detected with a blood test, and are easily treatable.

Related Story: Everything You Need To Know About The Thyroid

10

You might be going through depression



Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms experienced by those dealing with depression. According to a 2018 report, constant fatigue affects more than 90 percent of people with depression. Insomnia and increased stress factors associated with depression are possible reasons behind it. If your fatigue is accompanied by persistent sadness, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and pessimism, difficulty concentrating or sudden appetite changes, it might be best for you to consult a mental health professional to get the treatment you need.

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