Causes of Fatigue and Sleepiness and How to Fight Them

Fatigue Cause No. 1: Not Enough Sleep


It may seem obvious but you could be getting too little sleep. That can negatively affect your concentration and health. Adults should get seven to eight hours every night.

Fix: Make sleep a priority and keep a regular schedule. Ban laptops, cell phones, and televisions from your bedroom. Still having trouble? Seek help from a doctor. You may have a sleep disorder.


Fatigue Cause No. 2: Sleep Apnea


Some people think they're sleeping enough, but sleep apnea gets in the way. It briefly stops your breathing throughout the night. Each interruption wakes you for a moment, but you may not be aware of it. The result: you’re sleep-deprived despite spending eight hours in bed. Your doctor may order a sleep study to check for this.

Fix: Lose weight if you're overweight, quit smoking, and you may need a CPAP device to help keep your airway passages open while you sleep.


Fatigue Cause No. 3: Not Enough Fuel


Eating too little causes fatigue, but eating the wrong foods can also be a problem. Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

Fix: Always eat breakfast and try to include protein and complex carbs in every meal. For example, eat eggs with whole-grain toast. Also eat small meals and snacks throughout the day for sustained energy.


Fatigue Cause No. 4: Anemia


Anemia is one of the leading causes of fatigue in women. Menstrual blood loss can cause an iron deficiency, putting women at risk. Red blood cells (shown here) are needed because they carry oxygen to your tissues and organs.

Fix: For anemia caused by an iron deficiency, taking iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods, such as lean meat, liver, shellfish, beans, and enriched cereal, can help.


Fatigue Cause No. 5: Depression


You may think of depression as an emotional disorder, but it contributes to many physical symptoms, as well. Fatigue, headaches, and loss of appetite are among the most common symptoms. If you feel tired and "down" for more than a few weeks, see your doctor.

Fix: Depression responds well to talk therapy and/or medication.


Fatigue Cause No. 6: Hypothyroidism


The thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck. It controls your metabolism, the speed at which your body converts fuel into energy. When the gland is underactive and the metabolism functions too slowly, you may feel sluggish and put on weight.

Fix: If a blood test confirms your thyroid hormones are low, synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed.


Fatigue Cause No. 7: Caffeine Overload


Caffeine can improve alertness and concentration in moderate doses. But too much can increase heart rate, blood pressure, and jitteriness. And research indicates too much actually causes fatigue in some people.

Fix: Gradually cut back on coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks, and any medications that contain caffeine. Stopping suddenly can cause caffeine withdrawal and more fatigue.


Fatigue Cause No. 8: Hidden UTI


If you've ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you're probably familiar with the burning pain and sense of urgency. But the infection does not always announce itself with such obvious symptoms. In some cases, fatigue may be the only sign. A urine test can quickly confirm a UTI.

Fix: Antibiotics are the cure for UTIs, and the fatigue will usually vanish within a week.


Read More: