On many days, slugging through the workday is predictable and unavoidable, but it would be nice to have tips for fighting fatigue available, nonetheless. Maybe you stayed up late because you couldn’t turn off a riveting show or, you ate too much on your lunch break.
Whatever the case, the next day you are face first in the keyboard of your laptop — see above — or something relevant to your life. The point, is that many times and many days the reason you are experiencing fatigue is clear, but sometimes it isn’t that obvious.
Anything from a hidden health issue to particular gym habits could be the cause. Everyone would like to have no energy to help them get through the day to be sure, so here are some tips for fighting fatigue. When you identify the potential causes — which we have listed below — then, you can either avoid or correct the problem and whistle while you work, once again.
According to a 2012 study in the Journal of Nutrition, healthy women who failed to replace just 1.5 percent of their body’s water weight regularly experience mood swings and, yes, low energy levels. The study authors suspect neurons in your hypothalamus — or the region of the brain that is responsible for controlling hydration and body temperature, among other functions — will send mood-altering signals to the rest of your brain as an early warning to drink more water.
Action Required: Drink and forget about the 8-glasses-a-day myth, because a no one water measurement works for everyone, as your hydration needs vary from others based on things like the weather and your workouts. Basically, you should have to pee at least once every three hours and your urine should be neither clear nor dark, but have a light lemonade-colored tint.
You’re low on B12
Vitamin B12 is an absolute must if you hope to have you body make red blood cells and keep neurons functioning correctly. B12 deficiency will decrease the amount of oxygen your blood can carry through your body, which will cause the open-eyed nodding we all do so well. And as you age, you will produce less of a protein called intrinsic factor, which helps you process the nutrient.
Only animal foods naturally contain B12, which is why vegetarians and vegans face an increased risk of running low, as well as do people who have had stomach or intestinal surgeries (these procedures often alter the tissue where B12 absorption takes place, Sirchio said). Even low or borderline levels — not necessarily full-blown deficiency — can wear you down.
Steps to take: If your fatigue comes with restless legs, forgetfulness, or numbness and tingling, a lack of B12 could be your potential problem. One should always ask your nutritionist or doctor for a blood test for your levels, you may need supplements. Your doctor will tell you how much to take, though typically the dose will range from 100mcg – 500mcg. Choose a formula labeled methylcobalomin instead of cyanocobalamin, it is easier for your body to use. Supplements will only increase your energy if you are low to begin with, unlike caffeine, B vitamins will not give you an added boost if you already have an ample supply.
You are overwhelmed with stress
Usually, levels of the stress hormone cortisol runs highest in the morning and dip down by night, creating an normal daily rhythm. However, chronic stress will throw off the normal pattern in either direction. If your body remains on a constant awareness, the cortisol levels may never fall by the evening, causing disruption while sleeping. An individuals adrenal glands may eventually fall behind in cortisol production, leaving you sleepwalking through the morning,
Steps to take: You can’t always control the sources of stress, but you can change your reaction. Mindfulness practices have been shown to ease stress and fatigue in people with chronic medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and they work for healthy people, too. Try breathing techniques: Concentrate on your breath (don’t change it—just observe it). On each inhale, think “I am.” On each exhale, “at peace.” Repeat it for a few minutes while you’re waiting in line.
You may have hidden heart disease
In the journal Heart & Lung there was a study that found half of women who had heart attacks reported that they had trouble sleeping and felt strangely fatigued in the weeks leading up. There are red flags that you should be aware of. Weariness and shortness of breath when you exercise, climb stairs, or exert yourself are a few. Blocked arteries or a weak heart muscle will reduce the flow of blood, which will end up preventing your muscles and tissues from getting the oxygen they need to function normally.
Steps to take: You need to see the doctor now, especially if you have trouble getting motivated and up in the morning, or if you have other symptoms, such as chest pain, anxiety, or difficulty concentrating. Your doctor may recommend a stress test or an echocardiogram to test screen for heart disease.
Your iron levels could either too low — or even too high
Most women are aware that anemia leads to fatigue, but you cannot just assume taking iron supplements will be sufficient to increase energy and awareness. Low iron levels result in poorly formed red blood cells, which will deprive your body of much needed, refreshing oxygen. But too much iron can wear you down and make you tired, as well. The body uses vitamins, minerals, and energy to rid your system of excess, which leaves you with little left to run on.
Steps to take: Be aware of the risk factors: Iron deficiency often appears with vegetarians and vegans, people with digestive diseases or thyroid problems, women on hormonal birth control, and women with a very heavy menstrual flow. On the other hand, however, high levels can run in your family or even result from taking supplements, which frequently causes other symptoms that include feeling cold, thinning hair and nails, or dizziness when you stand up. Finding the right balance or equilibrium is important, so don’t take iron pills on your own. It is wise to first speak with your doctor about yearly blood tests to check these levels. If they’re found to be abnormal, then have them checked more frequently — even monthly — until they level off. Afterwards, every three to six months should be considered until you steadily see normal readings.
You’re not working out enough or at all
Being idle, especially when you have chronic stress, can drain your body of energy. A stressful day at work drives up cortisol and blood glucose levels, triggering a knee-jerk reaction to fight or flee in your body. However, when you spend your afternoon and evening barely moving between your computer screen and your couch, your body never releases that built-up energy and tension. This can make you restless and deter you from sleeping at night — or burn out your body’s cortisol factory so much that you’re dragging the next morning.
Steps to take: Start moving, if at least a little at a time. According to a recent study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women who get the government-recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week consistently report feeling less fatigue and having more energy and vigor than those who don’t. If you’re using exercise to help you sleep better, give your new regimen time to take hold — another study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found you will be required to move consistently for a few weeks or even months to you find you are reaping benefits.
You might be exercising too much
On the other hand, you still can have too much of a good thing, or in this case, exercise. If you’re sweating every day or training to the point of full exertion for an event such as a triathlon, fatigue and trouble sleeping can be a sign that you’re pushing your body beyond its limits. Workouts, particularly endurance sports such as long-distance running and cycling — also cause an increase in cortisol. Again, if you’re not finding the right balance or equilibrium between activity and rest, you can overload your system with physical stress, just as you can with emotional or mental pressure.
Steps to take: If you’re exercising regularly but all of a sudden find that you tire more easily, you may be over doing it. Try taking a few days of rest, but really rest. Afterwards, ease back into your routine, starting with about 25 percent of your usual activity for a week and adding another 25 percent each week until you’re back up and running.
You may have a urinary tract infection
If you’ve had a UTI before, then you know the burning urgency that comes when you have to pee. About half of all women who show up with UTIs also report fatigue and a general feeling of illness, as well, and the rate increases among those 40 or older.
Steps to take: Of course, you should go to the doctor if you suspect a UTI. Prescription antibiotics can take care of the bacteria. All your symptoms, including fatigue, should subside within seven to 10 days of completing treatment. As you’re healing, get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and eat a healthy diet, Carroll advised. If you’re prone to frequent UTIs (more than a couple per year) talk with your doctor—long-term prophylactic antibiotics can ward off future infections.