Fatigue Cause No. 1: Not Enough Sleep
It may seem obvious but you could be getting too little sleep. That can negatively affect your concentration and health. Adults should get seven to eight hours every night.
Fix: Make sleep a priority and keep a regular schedule. Ban laptops, cell phones, and PDAs from your bedroom. Still having trouble? Seek help from a doctor. You may have a sleep disorder.
Fatigue Cause No. 2: Sleep Apnea
Some people think they’re sleeping enough, but sleep apnea gets in the way. It briefly stops your breathing throughout the night. Each interruption wakes you for a moment, but you may not be aware of it. The result: you’re sleep-deprived despite spending eight hours in bed.
Fix: Lose weight if you’re overweight, quit smoking, and sleep with a CPAP device to help keep airway passages open at night.
Fatigue Cause No. 3: Not Enough Fuel
Eating too little causes fatigue, but eating the wrong foods can also be a problem. Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.
Fix: Always eat breakfast and try to include protein and complex carbs in every meal. For example, eat eggs with whole-grain toast. Also eat meals and snacks throughout the day for sustained energy.
Fatigue Cause No. 4: Anemia
Anemia is a leading cause of fatigue in women. Menstrual blood loss can cause an iron deficiency, putting women at risk. Red blood cells (shown here) are needed because they carry oxygen to your tissues and organs.
Fix: For anemia caused by an iron deficiency, taking iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods, such as lean meat, liver, shellfish, beans, and enriched cereal, can help.
Fatigue Cause No. 5: Depression
You may think of depression as an emotional disorder, but it contributes to many physical symptoms as well. Fatigue, headaches, and loss of appetite are among the most common symptoms. If you feel tired and “down” for more than a couple of weeks, see your doctor.
Fix: Depression responds well to psychotherapy and/or medication.
Fatigue Cause No. 6: Hypothyroidism
The thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck. It controls your metabolism, the speed at which your body converts fuel into energy. When the gland is underactive and the metabolism functions too slowly, you may feel sluggish and put on weight.
Fix: If a blood test confirms your thyroid hormones are low, synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed.