Often confused with drowsiness, fatigue causes reduced energy, lack of motivation, trouble concentrating, or difficulty with daily tasks. Drowsiness occurs when your body needs more sleep, and you feel groggy. While fatigue is a constant weariness that cannot be relieved by rest. Long-lasting feelings of fatigue can lead to emotional and physical consequences.
Although fatigue can mean a significant physical or mental condition, it's often not a severe concern. It is categorized as a symptom and not a medical condition. Medical or lifestyle factors induce fatigue and provoke decreased energy levels, muscle aches, attention or memory problems, difficulties sleeping, chronic tiredness, or slowed reflexes.
Why People Feel Fatigued
Some people may be exhausted due to stress levels, lack of sleep, boredom, minimal physical activity, or emotional stress. Internal factors, such as stress, can drain your body of natural energy. Fatigue can also be a sign of more serious concern, such as anemia, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, heart failure, or autoimmune disorders. Medical conditions can have astounding consequences for your daily functioning. Lastly, particular medications may cause lethargy, including sleeping pills, blood pressure medicines, and antihistamines for allergies, leaving us feeling depleted. Patients may be sluggish due to these medications.
Workplace Related Fatigue
Stress from your work may induce fatigue. If you work long hours, have high workloads, face irregular hours, or have a physically demanding job, you'll feel overworked, and you may experience burnout. Catalysts for job burnout could be lack of control, hostile work environments, unclear job expectations, lack of socialization, work-life imbalance, or the work conditions themselves (monotony or chaotic). These components can result in sleep disruptions, critical self-evaluations, and medical ailments.
Lifestyle Related Fatigue
You may feel fatigued due to your lifestyle choices, but fortunately, you can increase your natural energy levels with behavioral changes. Enhancing energy levels will help you focus throughout the day.
Alcohol promotes fatigue by slowing the nervous system, but it can have the reverse effect too. Stress hormones increase when consuming alcohol, and may stimulate the body by intensifying your heart rate and disrupting sleep. In addition, drinking alcohol may cause you to wake up several times during the night to use the restroom, further interrupting your sleep. Replacing alcohol with plenty of water will improve energy and keep your body hydrated.
Sleep disturbances can be another factor of exhaustion. If a barking dog wakes you up, it can interrupt your sleep cycle, leading to less restorative sleep. Adequate rest is essential to fighting fatigue. The same holds for an uncomfortable environment, ranging from a room being too hot to a mattress being too firm to too much light in the room.
Sedentary lifestyles may also lead to fatigue because of the decreased energy level. Your physical health has a significant impact on your energy, leaving you feeling drained. According to New York Academy of Sciences, obesity can make you feel exhausted. When you are tired, you are less likely to partake in activities, and it begins a cycle.
Medical Related Fatigue
Anemia can make you feel drained due to red blood cells not providing enough oxygen to the body. Anemia is more common in women but can also affect men. With anemia, your muscles get tired quickly, resulting in your body craving rest to recover.
Trouble breathing during sleep cycles also increases fatigue. Sleep apnea interrupts your sleep cycle, causing inadequate rest that can lead to exhaustion. The CDC states that people need a minimum of seven and nine hours of sleep. Insomnia may also produce weariness. When your body cannot rest appropriately because of built-up energy, you can't relax and recover through the proper sleep cycle. Restless leg syndrome may unknowingly disturb sleep. Though you may not wake up during episodes of restless leg syndrome, your body struggles to unwind and rebound. Any time the sleep cycle is interrupted, it can contribute to extreme fatigue in your body.
Poor mental health can cause fatigue. Depression is a mood disorder that can lead to a loss of interest in daily activities and often feelings of tiredness. Fatigue is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of depression. Even while taking medication, 90% of patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) report fatigue. According to Dr. Fava, fatigue may establish apathy and potential emotional disturbance. Distinguishing fatigue from MDD can be challenging. Prescription medicines for depression may result in a more profound feeling of exhaustion, especially among tricyclic antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) also sustained fatigue symptoms.
Anxiety is the state of constant worry that overloads your body with feelings of uneasiness. Your body may feel worn down and depleted. When anxious, your body increases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, contributing to declining vitality. Harvard University breaks down how medications prescribed for anxiety slow down your nervous system to calm you down, which can initiate fatigue. On the other hand, restlessness from anxiety and stress can drain your energy, creating a sense of lethargy. "Flight-or-fight" responses siphon your body's natural fuel, resulting in sluggishness.
Energy Boosting Activities
At ChiroCare of Florida, we promote natural ways to boost energy and fight fatigue. Natural energy boosters are the best option for reducing weariness. It's tempting to reach for medication, but there is insufficient evidence that over-the-counter medications will increase your stamina. On the other hand, increasing physical activity and improving your sleep cycle can enhance your natural energy levels.
Boosting your daily physical activities will decrease fatigue. After stretching, doing yoga, or completing a short walk, your energy should increase. Yoga and meditation are great ways to ease your mind after a stressful day, limiting fatigue and gaining energy. Regular exercise for about 15 minutes a day makes a difference in how you feel. Workout intervals may be expanded over time to help improve quality of life. Working on physical fitness also helps reduce weight, causing less strain on your heart. When you have good heart health and properly functioning, it allows the body to produce energy. However, avoid exercising too much. It may lead to drowsiness, so make sure you have a good balance of energy expenditure.
Maintaining regular sleep habits also encourages energy production. Obtaining a minimum of eight hours of sleep a day on a regular schedule will help decrease fatigue symptoms. Set procedures in place to ensure your sleep cycle is not interrupted. Setting a morning alarm for the same time of day will help you get on a good sleep schedule. Scheduling an alarm in the afternoon will provide you with an opportunity to relax and prepare for bed. Turning off cell phones and tablets, or moving them entirely away from your bedroom, will prevent nighttime emails, scrolling, and texting. Screen time is notorious for causing nighttime sleep disruptions. Avoiding caffeine before bed will help your body fall into a deeper sleep cycle resulting in enough rest. Naps during the day should be avoided to prevent energy boosts before bed.
Treatments at ChiroCare That Can Help with Fatigue
According to Cleveland Clinic, fatigue often leads to muscle stiffness and aches in your body. Chiropractors can free up energy and reduce stress through chiropractic treatments, creating natural ways to boost energy and fight fatigue. Chiropractic adjustments help enhance sleep cycles and decrease tension in your body.
- Electric stimulation therapy (e-stim) is a natural energy booster. Patients tend to hold stress in their bodies, which creates tension. It's not uncommon for stress to be found in the upper shoulders, lower neck, and back. E-stim helps your muscles relax, reduces inflammation, and decreases pain.
- Stretching is a natural energy booster to fight fatigue. Ten minutes of stretching can provide the same energy burst as a cup of caffeinated coffee. Increasing blood flow to your brain produces energy for your body, leaving you feeling awake and refreshed. Stretching also reduces any pain you may have from carrying stress in your upper body. Stretching can be done anywhere during the day, from sitting in your chair at work to a session on a yoga mat.
- Neuromuscular re-education can help heal muscles after incorrect long-term use. When you're fatigued, it's not uncommon for you to slouch. When our muscles are strained from slouching, we lose motivation to do physical activities because of discomfort. Neuromuscular re-education is a specific therapeutic exercise and a natural way to boost energy.