Fatigue: causes and how to combat it?
Table of contents
What causes fatigue
When we think about fatigue, many people assume that this just means being very tired: but this isn’t the case. Fatigue is an overwhelming sense of tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness that is not fixed by sleep or rest, and it can have a huge negative impact on your quality of life.
But what causes fatigue? There are many factors that can contribute towards you feeling fatigued. Often, it can be linked to a habit or routine in your daily life, but sometimes it can be a symptom of a more serious medical condition or illness. Fatigue can also be caused by mental or emotional triggers.
Fatigue can be caused by:
- Stress or anxiety
- Poor diet/nutrition (nutrient deficiencies)
- A viral infection
- Feelings of burnout or mental/emotional exhaustion
- Being over or underweight
It is also normal to feel exhausted or fatigued during the early stages of pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks.
Some more severe reasons for fatigue are:
- Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid)
- Kidney disease
- Sleep apnoea or other sleep disorders
- Chronic infection
Fatigue: the diagnosis
If you’re feeling fatigued and it’s starting to affect your quality of life, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor can run tests (like blood tests) to see if you need a diagnosis or are suffering from a nutrient deficiency (for example fatigue could be a sign of low iron levels- iron contributes to the normal formation of red blood cells, haemoglobin and supports normal energy yielding metabolism.)
What are the symptoms of fatigue?
Fatigue is not just feeling tired. It impacts your energy levels as well as your motivation and ability to concentrate, so can leave you with a low mood, and it can build or develop over time.
If you’re dealing with long term fatigue, you may have chronic fatigue syndrome. If you are concerned, you should talk to your doctor who can give you further advice.
The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are:
- A feeling of physical exhaustion that is not relieved by sleep or rest
- Taking a long time to recover after physical activity and exercise, or finding physical activity very difficult
- Insomnia and problems with sleep
- Struggling with memory, concentration and thinking
- Muscle and joint pain
- Flu-like symptoms, as well as feeling dizzy or sick
How to treat fatigue?
Taking the steps to treat fatigue can be difficult when you’re feeling low on energy. We’ve put together a few tips on how you can begin to treat fatigue, looking at your habits and lifestyle.
- Ensure you’re eating a healthy diet that meets all your nutritional needs. This means balancing fats, proteins and carbohydrates as well as making sure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and drinking water regularly.
- If you’re feeling fatigued, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind, but getting moving can help you feel recharged. You don’t need a complex fitness regime: even a low intensity walk for 15 mins can give you an energy boost. The more exercise you do, the more you’ll feel the benefits!
- Stress can be a big factor in your fatigue levels. Prolonged stress can lead to chronic fatigue and disrupted sleep. But we all know that avoiding stress is easier said than done! Try to talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling. If you’re struggling with feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you could try yoga, meditation or taking a daily walk.
- Try to reduce your intake of alcohol. Many people think that alcohol helps you sleep at night, but this isn’t the case! Alcohol has a sedative effect, which means it relaxes the nervous system and can make you feel sleepy at first, but later causes your levels of the stress hormone epinephrine to spike, which can lead to you waking up and struggling to get back to sleep.
- Cut back on caffeine. While a cup of coffee might give you a buzz at first, it can leave you feeling tired later in the day.
If you’ve taken some of the above steps but aren’t noticing a difference to your fatigue levels, you should talk to your doctor or other health care professional.
If you’re not feeling your best, you should take a look at your diet first to make sure it contains everything you need to stay healthy. If you’re tired all the time, you might not be getting enough of certain nutrients, leaving you low on energy.
Sometimes, we might need a little extra support to ensure we’re getting everything we need from our diet – especially if we’re busy. Berocca Effervescent Tablets contain vitamins, which naturally help generate energy from your food, as well as vitamins B6, B9 & B12 which help reduce tiredness & fatigue.
If you need a little extra kick, why not try Berocca Boost? Berocca Boost contains the same energy-supporting B vitamins as Berocca, as well as caffeine*, for a boost when you need it most.