Why Am I Always Tired?

fatigue exhausted

If you are asking, "Why am I always tired?", you are not alone. With our hectic lifestyles and less than optimal health habits, feeling like you have no energy is a modern day epidemic. 

If you feel exhausted because you are burning the candle at both ends or not getting enough sleep, then you have your answer for why you are always tired. Unfortunately, the reason isn't always that clear. Sometimes it takes a little detective work to figure out what is behind your constant fatigue.

8 Reasons You Always Feel Tired

1- Poor eating habits affect your energy in a number of ways. Skipping meals or waiting too long to eat between meals causes your blood sugar to drop. Eating or drinking too many simple carbohydrates (think white foods and sugar) causes blood sugar to spike and then drop. When your blood sugar plummets, so does your energy.

Overeating also causes a dip in energy. It takes a lot of your body resources to digest food. If you eat junk food, your body actually has to use some of its nutrient stores to process that food.

Being overweight causes your body to use more energy to carry you around. It needs that energy to function, leaving you little to do what you want.

2-Food sensitivities are behind a variety of symptoms including extreme fatigue. Food allergies are hard to miss because of obvious, sometimes life threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or a rash. Food sensitivities are more difficult to ferret out. 

Common problematic foods include dairy, grains with gluten (wheat, rye, oats, barley), peanuts, corn, soy and eggs. Too much sugar and artificial sweeteners can also stress your body. All these foods are a regular part of the standard American diet.

If you notice you have no energy within an hour of eating a particular food, or experience bloating or gas, consider eliminating it from your diet for at least a week and notice if you feel more energetic. Do this even if it is a healthy food. It is not healthy for you. Here's a tip - these are often the foods you crave. 

3-Chronic stress is a common cause of burnout and extreme or constant fatigue. Ongoing and intense distress disrupts almost all your physical and mental functions including your immune system, digestion, mental focus and sleep. After a while your adrenal glands cannot keep up with the demand for more stress hormones. This can happen rather quickly if you are under severe stress. It can take months or more for them to rebuild.

Some people get addicted to the energizing feeling of the adrenaline rush and create lots of reasons during the day to push the stress button.

If you have the habit of creating stress for yourself by rushing and pressuring yourself, or you burn the candle at both ends, consider what you are doing to your adrenal glands. This habit may feel good for a while, but it time it will catch up with you.

Eventually those whipped adrenal glands will fizzle out and you will find yourself always tired with little energy. It can take months to get them functioning well again.

4-Dehydration, even slight dehydration can make you feel tired. If you consume a lot of processed foods, which are often seriously lacking in water content,  too many caffeinated beverages, or alcoholic beverages, you may need to drink more water than usual to keep yourself hydrated.

5-Sleep issues such as insomnia not only leave you feeling exhausted but cause other health problems as well. Waking up frequently during the night can leave you feeling exhausted. To optimize energy, get the right amount of sleep for you. This is usually between seven to nine hours nightly.

Sleep apnea is another issue that can zap your energy. It disrupts normal sleep patterns and may even compromise your breathing and oxygen intake. Spells of not breathing during the night and/or incessant snoring can make you wake up feeling exhausted. 

6- Not getting enough exercise is also responsible for lethargy and fatigue. This may sound counter-intuitive, but your body needs to generate energy to make energy. 

I learned this lesson the hard way.  Years ago I gave up my lunch time exercise routine to make more time for my studies and responsibilities. Big mistake. I was always tired! Really tired. When I made the link to no exercise I went back to the gym. In no time I had more energy, was less stressed, and felt better. Lesson learned.

7-Overuse of stimulants may backfire and over time leave you feeling wiped out.  If you are filling your coffee cup throughout the day or you reaching for energy drinks, this may explain why you are always tired. Sure you get a boost for a while, but at a steep price to your already overworked exhausted adrenal glands and nervous system.

Occasional and moderate use of stimulants can provide a needed boost without causing problems unless your adrenals are already weak.

8-Undiagnosed health problems such as anemia, cancer, heart disease, thyroid problems, digestive problems, and silent infections are a few possible medical reasons why you are always tired.

If after honestly appraising your lifestyle and health habits, you still have unexplained  mental or physical exhaustion lasting a week or more, please see your medical provider. 

Discovering why you are always tired is the first step to remedying the problem. Within the reason may even be the easy fix. 

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By Val Silver

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