Healthy Living

Top 10 Reasons You Feel Tired All the Time

It's not uncommon to feel tired, but extreme tiredness could indicate an issue in health or lifestyle.

These are the top ten reasons why you might feel tired a majority of the time, and what you can do to get your energy back.

1. Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a quick source of energy. When you eat carbohydrates, the body converts them into sugar, which fuels the body. However, the consumption of refined carbohydrates can actually make people feel tired or sluggish throughout the day.

A rapid increase in blood sugar happens when sugar and refined carbohydrates are eaten. When there is an increase in your blood sugar levels, the pancreas produces a large amount of insulin to regulate it, and the rise and fall of your blood sugar levels make you feel tired. When you're craving a quick boost of energy, you may consume another portion of refined carbohydrates, which then leads to a vicious cycle. 

According to studies, consuming less sugary foods and processed carbohydrates at snacks and meals can increase energy levels. Research also suggests that consuming other types of foods, such as bonito broth and okra, helps increase alertness and lessen tiredness. 

Make your energy level stable by consuming whole and fiber-rich foods, such as legumes and vegetables instead of eating sugary foods and refined carbohydrates. 

2. Sedentary lifestyle

People who live a sedentary lifestyle tend to have a low energy. Some people may even say that they are too tired to exercise. An explanation behind this tiredness could be a debilitating disorder called chronic fatigue syndrome, which is characterized by extreme tiredness or fatigue on a daily basis. 

According to research, individuals with CFS often have low endurance and strength levels, limiting their exercise ability. However, there are also studies that suggest that exercising may actually minimize fatigue in people with CFS, including those who have other diseases, such as cancer. 

To combat tiredness and boost energy levels, replace a sedentary lifestyle with physical activity. Maybe take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk short distances instead of driving. 

3. Poor sleep quality

Another cause of fatigue is not getting enough sleep. When you sleep, your body does many things, such as regulating energy levels and metabolism, storing memory, and releasing hormones. When you wake up in the morning, you may feel alert, energized, and refreshed if you had a high-quality sleep at night.  

Adults usually need at least seven hours of sleep every night for optimal health, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep should also be uninterrupted and restful to let the brain go through the five stages of sleep. Aside from getting enough sleep, having a regular sleep schedule can also help prevent tiredness. 

Exercising and other physical activities often help people get a healthy amount of sleep per night. Another way that can help is going to bed at the same time every night, which can help improve the quality and amount of your sleep. However, you may need to consult a sleep specialist for an evaluation in case you feel like you have a sleep disorder.

4. Food intolerance

Food intolerances or sensitivities usually cause symptoms, such as skin rashes, headaches, runny nose, and digestive problems. However, fatigue can also be another overlooked symptom of food sensitivities. Research also suggests that people who have food intolerances are more prone to developing fatigue. 

Below are the common sources of food sensitivities:

  • Gluten
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Corn
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Sugar alcohols 
  • Food colorings and other food additives

A dietitian or an allergist can help you identify what is causing your food sensitivities, and they can also prescribe a diet that will help you avoid problematic foods.

5. Not consuming enough calories

Tiredness can also be experienced if too few calories are consumed. The body uses calories to properly move and function, including maintaining the body's temperature. When too few calories are consumed, a person's metabolism slows down to conserve energy, which explains the feeling of fatigue. 

The number of calories needed by a person usually depends on his or her age, weight, height, and other factors. Most people usually need at least 1,200 calories a day to prevent slowing of the metabolism. To maintain your energy levels, avoid a drastic cut in your calorie intake, even when trying to lose weight. 

6. Sleeping at the wrong time

Aside from not getting enough sleep, sleeping at the wrong time can also be a cause of low energy. If you're sleeping during the daytime and not at night, you are disturbing your body's internal clock or circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is an individual's 24-hour internal clock that runs in between cycles of alertness and sleepiness at regular intervals. 

According to research, chronic fatigue may develop when there is an out of sync sleep pattern with the circadian rhythm. This problem is common in people who work at nighttime or shifts. 

Sleep experts say that around 2-5 percent of all shift workers have a sleep disorder, which is characterized by extreme sleepiness or sleep disturbance for a period of one to several months. Whenever possible, it is still ideal to sleep during the night than at daytime. There are strategies that can help shift workers retrain their body clock to help improve their energy levels. 

7. Protein deficiency

A protein deficiency could also contribute to fatigue. Protein affect the metabolic rate more than any fats or carbs, so not only could a low amount of protein cause fatigue, it could also cause weight gain.

Fatigue is also lessened by a branched chain of amino acids (BCAAs), which are the building blocks of protein. You can prevent fatigue and keep your metabolism strong by consuming meals rich in proteins. 

8. Not drinking enough water

You need to stay well hydrated to maintain good energy levels. A loss of water usually occurs during many biochemical reactions that take place in the body, so you must replace this loss to avoid being dehydrated. The body can lose water when you urinate, pass stools, sweat, or breathe. 

According to some studies, even mild dehydration can cause low energy and concentration levels. Although it is often recommended to drink eight glasses of water daily, the amount of water to drink may depend on your age, gender, weight, and physical activity. To maintain good levels of hydration, make sure to drink enough water daily. 

9. Energy drink dependency

Energy drinks only provide a temporary boost in energy levels because of their sugar and caffeine content. The ingredients found in most energy drinks are:

  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Large doses of B vitamins
  • Amino acids
  • Herbs

However, energy drinks can also cause rebound fatigue when the effects of sugar and caffeine wear off. There are also studies suggesting that improved mood and increased alertness are experienced for several hours after energy drink consumption, but participants also experienced excessive sleepiness the next day. Even consuming smaller dosages of caffeinated drinks in the afternoon may cause sleep disturbances and low energy levels. 

So, maybe skip that cup of joe next time. While it may help you in the moment, it may not be of much help later on.

10. Too much stress

A person's response to stress often influences how tired they feel. Although stress is a normal part of life, excessive stress may cause fatigue. Chronic stress may even have an extreme effect on a person's quality of life and energy levels. To prevent being exhausted, developing strategies, to effectively manage your stress may help. Some strategies that can help relieve stress include meditation and yoga. 

Key Takeaways

  • It is very common to feel tired on a regular basis. However, extreme tiredness may also be a symptom of certain health conditions or lifestyle factors. 
  • To combat tiredness and boost energy levels, replace sedentary lifestyle with physical activity. 
  • Make your energy level stable by consuming whole and fiber-rich foods, such as legumes and vegetables instead of eating sugary foods and refined carbohydrates.