Common Causes of Fatigue and What to Do

Fatigue is a common condition that can affect anyone regardless of their age or gender. Feeling tired after a long day at work is normal for many people. But being fatigued is more intense and the person usually feels they lack energy or motivation. Feeling drowsy or sleepy should not be confused with fatigue, although drowsiness often accompanies fatigue. Fatigue can be both physical or emotional and can be traced back to your habits or lifestyle. In most cases, fatigue can occur in healthy individuals and can wane when a person gets enough rest. However, there are instances underlying medical conditions which may require a doctor’s attention cause fatigue.

What Are the Symptoms of Fatigue?

Fatigue affects people differently and, therefore, manifests in different ways. Whether it’s physical or mental, these are some of the symptoms of fatigue:

  • Dizziness.
  • Palpitations or elevated heart rates.
  • General body weakness.
  • Constantly weary or tired.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Fainting.
  • Severe headache.
  • Weight loss due to loss of appetite.
  • Moodiness.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Poor or lack of concentration.
  • Weak immune system.
  • Hallucinations.
  • An achy body.

6 Common Causes of Fatigue

If you experience one or more symptoms of fatigue, then it might help to establish the underlying cause. These are six of the most common causes of fatigue:

1. Lack of Sufficient Sleep

Typically, adults require at least seven hours of sleep every night. Sleeping for fewer hours for an extended period may lead to fatigue. And when we speak about sleep, we mean quality sleep. Distractions such as TV, phones, light, and noise may interrupt your sleep, which, in the long run, may cause fatigue. Other causes of poor sleep include drinking caffeine or alcohol just before bedtime. If you find that you keep waking up frequently throughout the night or you take a long time to fall asleep, talk to your doctor to rule out a medical condition. Poor sleep quality provokes drowsiness during the day, and hence fatigue.

What to do about it: Remove all electronic gadgets from the bedroom and lower noise levels. If you can’t control the noise, you can invest in headphones that block out noise or move to a quieter neighborhood.

2. When You’re Stressed Out

Stress is another leading cause of fatigue. When you’re stressed out, you may find it difficult to sleep at night. Apart from making you irritable and moody, stress is known to cause fatigue, especially when a solution is not forthcoming. Work-related stress can be caused by job insecurity, too much workload, and mean boss or colleagues. Stress can also be caused by unemployment, financial constraints, and trying to find a balance between work and family.

What to do about it: Speak to a friend or a health professional to take the burden off your shoulders. Likewise, if possible, find a better job with a favorable working environment. Additionally, try to avoid stressors and join yoga classes to help you relax.

3. Unhealthy Diet

Believe it or not, the food you eat contributes to fatigue. Lack of essential minerals and vitamins such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron and omega-3 fatty acids are known to provoke fatigue. Frequently indulging in diets that are rich in artificial sugars, unhealthy fats, and highly processed foods are also possible triggers of fatigue.

What to do about it: Change your diet and turn to fresh vegetables and fruits. Reduce your sugar and salt intake and opt for high-nutrient diets.

4. Lack of Enough Fluids

Water is a vital component of your health. Your body needs to stay hydrated all the time for the cells and organs to perform their duties. Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue and can be caused by diarrhea, vomiting or failure to drink enough water.

What to do about it: Carry a bottle of water wherever you go. Get into the habit of sipping into a glass of water throughout the day. Aim to drink eight glasses of water every day to prevent your body from developing issues such as fatigue.

5. A Sedentary Lifestyle

Research shows that long bouts of sitting may drain you. So, if you’re used to binge watching or you use your computer for long hours, it’s advisable to break the habit and become more active. Apart from fatigue, a sedentary lifestyle could also lead to weight gain and obesity. What to do about it: Use your computer while standing. You can also take a break and walk after every two hours. Fidgeting is also said to help keep your body active.

6. Underlying Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can cause fatigue. They include:

  • Anemia.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Food allergies and intolerance.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety disorder.
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI).
  • Heart disease.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Diabetes.
  • Drug abuse.

Most of these conditions are treatable by prescriptions and identifying them early will really help. Likewise, there are certain medications – antidepressants, antihistamines, sedatives, steroids, and blood pressure medications – that are known to cause fatigue.


A fast fix that can boost your energy levels is exercise. Go to the gym, run or take part in a physical activity that you enjoy. Within no time, you’ll be feeling like yourself again. Yoga is especially a powerful exercise that works on both your physical and mental state, and may just be what you need.

All images by Pixabay


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