Fatigue is a sense of chronic exhaustion that can be caused by a number of different factors. Carrying out everyday activities can leave the sufferer feeling exhausted, and sometimes even the thought doing physical activity can seem overwhelming. Symptoms include muscle pain, headaches, and trouble thinking. Although blame is often laid at the door of hormonal imbalances, these are not the only reason for the affliction. Read on to discover common bad habits that could be contributing to your fatigue.
Lack of Protein and Iron
Iron deficiency anemia is a leading cause of fatigue; in fact, fatigue is often the first sign of this condition. The reason for this is that iron is one of the main substances responsible for the production of red blood cells, essential for carrying oxygen around the body. Therefore, with a lack of iron, there is less oxygen being delivered to the major organs, lowering their efficiency. Eating plenty of protein is a sure-fire way to increase the iron levels and reduce the feelings of anemia-related fatigue. Eggs, poultry, and milk will all help raise iron levels.
With a lack of exercise follows a natural decrease in energy, so a sedentary lifestyle will often result in chronic fatigue. The reasons for this are many, but it is often due to the fact that food is being digested more slowly, so the person is not releasing the energy from what is being consumed. In addition, exercise quickens the heart rate, resulting in blood (and therefore oxygen) being distributed around the body more quickly, which means better functioning of all the organs. It is recommended that the average adult should get around 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise every day.
Bad Sleep Patterns
If sleep is not a priority, then fatigue is a natural consequence. Having an erratic sleep schedule, consuming caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime, or not creating a good sleep environment can all lead to unrefreshing sleep, which means that the tiredness will tend to hit at inconvenient times, , and this can increase stress levels, further damaging sleep. With a stressful life, getting good sleep can often seem like it should be low in the priority list, but a person is going to be more productive if good sleep is an important part of the daily routine.
Fatigue can lower quality of life and even affect relationships, so it should be treated as soon as possible. Lifestyle changes should be the first step, as these small tweaks can often make a huge difference, and are also safer sustainable than some medical interventions. However, if the fatigue persists, it could be indicative of an underlying condition, and medical advice should be sought.
- BBC Good Food. (n.d.). Best sources of protein. Retrieved October 20, 2014, from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/best-sources-protein
- Love, S. & Lindsey, K. (2003). Dr. Susan Love's Menopause & Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- Menopause Centre Australia. (2013). Fatigue. Retrieved October 20, 2014, from http://menopausecentre.com.au/Symptoms-Fatigue-menopause
- National Health Service UK. (2013). Chronic fatigue syndrome - Symptoms. Retrieved October 20, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Chronic-fatigue-syndrome/Pages/Symptoms.aspx
- National Health Service UK. (2013). Self-help tips to fight fatigue. Retrieved October 20, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/self-help-energy-tips.aspx
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Stress: Causes of Stress. Retrieved October 20, 2014, from http://www.nhsinform.com/health-library/articles/s/stress/causes
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Stress: Symptoms of Stress. Retrieved October 20, 2014, from http://www.nhsinform.com/health-library/articles/s/stress/symptoms