Lack of energy; inability to concentrate; irritability: these symptoms of extreme tiredness are better known as fatigue. Fatigue is so much more than the desire to sleep; it is a condition that can affect every avenue of a person's life, including their personal well-being, their relationships, and their professional performance. Fatigue can be caused by a number of factors, but in the majority of cases, the most effective remedy is adjustments to lifestyle and diet because many people are unaware of the effect their daily habits have on their energy levels.
Overeating causes lethargy and drowsiness, which can effect overall sleep quality. Wait 15 minutes after finishing a meal before reaching for seconds, as this is the length of time it takes for the brain to receive and process the message that the stomach is full after eating.
Make Time to Relax
Stress is one of the main contributors to fatigue; anxiety can cause insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Make time to relax every day, whether this means doing yoga, meditation, reading a book, or taking a hot bath - whatever helps you to switch off and unwind from the pressures of daily life.
Eat Plenty of Iron
Fatigue can be indicative of an iron deficiency; iron carries oxygen in the bloodstream to improve cell performance, which maximizes mental alertness and muscle performance. Red meat, poultry, and fish are prominent iron sources, which means vegetarians are more prone to iron deficiencies than meat-eaters and may need iron supplements to boost their intake.
While exercise may be tiring in the short-term, partaking in at least 15 minutes of physical activity every day is essential for a healthy functioning body and has an energizing effect in the long-run. Exercising before 6 pm during the day will also help you achieve more restful sleep at night.
Eat Whole Grains for Breakfast
Eating breakfast is essential for optimum mental and physical functioning during the day. Whole-grain cereals are fibrous, contain iron, and will slowly release energy during the day to dispel the physical and mental effects of fatigue.
Dehydration is a key cause of fatigue. Drinking the equivalent of at least 1.6 liters of fluids per day will ensure you remain hydrated, to help keep your energy levels up.
Eat Protein at Lunchtime
Many people experience a slump in energy levels after lunch. Prevent this by incorporating protein - found in tuna, eggs, tofu, and lean meat - into your lunch. Protein allows the brain to synthesize the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine to maximize attentiveness and alertness.
Cut Out Stimulants
Consuming dietary stimulants, such as alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods, within two hours of going to bed will affect the depth of your sleep, meaning that even if you sleep for eight hours, you'll most likely still feel tired the following day. Cut down on these to promote restful, rejuvenating sleep.
Fatigue can normally be corrected with these easy remedies, without having to compromise your social commitments or working routine. However, if your fatigue symptoms persist, it is important that you see a doctor to identify the cause of your symptoms and rule out any deficiencies in your diet or serious health concerns.
- Better Health Channel. (2011). Fatigue fighting tips. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Fatigue_fighting_tips
- National Health Service U.K. (2013). Self-help tips to fight fatigue. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/self-help-energy-tips.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Fatigue: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003088.htm
- Office on Women's Health. (2010). Menopause and mental health. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from http://womenshealth.gov/menopause/menopause-mental-health/