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5 Reason why you're tired all the time

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Tell a friend you’re struggling with fatigue, and you’ll probably be met with some seriously sympathetic vibes. After all, wondering why you're always so freaking tired is a common question in this stressful, busy life. But how do you know when feeling tired all the time is a sign of a bigger prob?

Sure, there’s an obvious link between feeling extremely fatigued and binge-watching a Netflix show late at night, or struggling to get out of bed in the morning because you've been training your butt off for a virtual race. But other times, the reason why you always feel tired isn't obvious.

Turns out, there are a lot of health issues that can cause you to feel tired all the time—and they're treatable. These are some of the most common reasons why you might be dealing with extremely low energy and extreme exhaustion, plus how to fix each one (because a girl can only put up with feeling wiped for so long!).

1. You’ve been more sedentary than usual

Hello, working from home with only trips to the loo punctuating your days. While going hard during your at-home workouts can wear you out, the opposite is true too. 'The human body gets more tired with progressive sedentary habits due to generalised deconditioning of the body and, ultimately, muscle loss,' says Dr Sobia Khan, MD, assistant professor of general internal medicine and Director of Women's Center for Comprehensive Care at Baylor College of Medicine.

Basically, your body takes a 'use it or lose it' approach to fitness. And, if you don’t exercise regularly, you’re going to feel more tired when you actually do start moving, and during the time when you're not expending energy.

How to fix it: This solution is pretty simple—get moving more. Just a reminder, the general physical activity recommendation is that you get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, along with two or more days a week of muscle-strengthening activity. Once you start moving again, it’ll be easier to get through your day-to-day stuff without being a zombie.

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2. You’re overdoing it on sugar and refined carbs

When you eat things that are sugary or high in refined carbs (think: white bread, pasta, pastries), it causes your blood sugar to spike, explains Jessica Cording, MS, RD, author of The Little Book of Game-Changers. In the moment, that can make you feel hyper. But, unfortunately, all of that sugar and carbs will lead to an inevitable crash. 'That can leave you feeling tired,' Cording says.

If you continue overloading on a ton of sugar and refined carbs, you can also cause something known as insulin resistance in your body, Dr. Khan adds, which is when your body can’t use glucose (a.k.a. sugar) as well as it should. The result: You feel tired a lot.

How to fix it: Try to cut back on how much sugar and refined carbs you’re having on a regular basis, Cording says. FWIW, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends limiting your intake of added sugars to less than 10 percent of your total daily calories. (So, if you eat a 2,000-calorie diet, no more than 200 of those calories should come from added sugars.)

When you’re going to have sugary or carb-filled foods, try to balance out the meal with some protein and fat, like adding nut butter atop your crackers. This can help lower the odds you’ll have an energy crash afterward, Cording notes.

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3. You’re stressed out big time

Worried about losing your job? Have a relative who is sick with COVID-19, or are ill yourself? Stress isn’t just a mental thing—it can impact you physically as well. 'Your mind and body are closely linked and are in constant communication with one another,' says Dr Monifa Seawell, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist in Atlanta, Georgia. 'When there is a shift in your emotional state, be it positive or negative, it is not at all uncommon for that change to also show up in some physical way in your body.'

Stress can show up in your body in a lot of different ways, like in the form of headaches, an upset stomach, and, yep, fatigue, Dr. Seawell says.

How to fix it: When it comes to stress, you really need to try to address the root issue, Dr. Seawell says. While there’s some stress that’s unavoidable (hey, pandemic life), doing your best to limit stress that you can do something about can be helpful.

Dr. Seawell also recommends trying to get 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day. That 'can oftentimes help boost your energy levels' when you can’t completely obliterate your stress levels, she says. And, if you’re still struggling, she recommends talking to a licensed mental health professional. They 'can help you process your emotions and learn healthy coping skills,' Dr. Seawell says.

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4. You’re skiping on sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should be getting between seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Definitely getting less? Enter the fatigue.

'Minimum seven hours of sleep is required for effective rejuvenation of the body and restfulness of the brain,' Dr. Khan says. Here’s the thing: Even one night of bad sleep can mess with your circadian rhythm (your sleep-wake cycle) and throw you off for a few days, she says.

How to fix it: At baseline, the solution is simply to get more sleep. But, of course, sometimes that’s easier said than done. You need to first figure out what’s screwing up your sleep—stress? Netflix? Crappy sleep hygiene?—and then address the reason for your lack of sleep. If you’re still struggling, talk to your doctor about your options. You may need an intervention such as cognitive behavioural therapy to treat insomnia, for example.

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5. You’re dealing with depression

Depression can cause a range of symptoms, but decreased energy or fatigue is definitely one of them, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). 'Whenever I am screening a patient for depression, feelings of fatigue and loss of energy is one of the symptoms I always inquire about,' Dr. Seawell says.

These are the symptoms of depression to be familiar with, according to the NIMH:

Persistently feeling sad, anxious, or 'empty'

Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism


Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

No longer feeling pleasure in your hobbies and activities

Low energy or fatigue

Moving or talking more slowly

Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still

Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping

Appetite and/or weight changes

Ideation about death or suicide

Pain, aches, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that don't have a clear cause or get better with treatment

Worth noting: Not everyone with depression experiences every symptom, according to the NIMH. So, it’s entirely possible for you to feel tired on the regular and not even realise that it’s due to depression.

How to fix it: This is another issue where you have to fix the problem that’s causing your fatigue before you’ll feel better. Depression can be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. If you suspect that your fatigue is linked to depression, though, it’s best to talk to your doctor about getting evaluated and next steps for treatment.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author and not to RozBuzz-WeMedia.