We have all been there, that moment when you feel as though you just can’t take another step, or do another push-up, or even make dinner. Unfortunately, fatigue is a common condition, and it can strike at any time. Even the most ambitious, focused, and optimistic individuals fall victim to fatigue from time to time. So, what can be done? What is the best course of action to take when we feel burned out, worn out, and depleted?
Fatigue is more complicated than just feeling tired, and it can result from many diverse reasons. First, fatigue may be fleeting, short-lived and this is often referred to as transient fatigue. This type of fatigue usually only lasts for a few days and typically results from too many hours awake and too few hours asleep. A second type of fatigue is brought on by several days of diminished sleep and is known as cumulative fatigue.
When we are well and truly exhausted, our reaction time is diminished, we don’t pay attention as well as we should, our memory is impaired, and our mood suffers. As a result, making a sound, balanced and informed decision becomes more challenging. Further, we lose our awareness of our situation, and we may become more forgetful. This increases our risk of an injury or accident, as well as negatively impacts our overall health. Therefore, getting enough sleep and reducing our risk of becoming fatigued are integral parts of a healthy lifestyle.
Where we sleep must be conducive to getting a great night’s sleep. Create a pleasant, relaxing, and zen space in your bedroom. Find your ideal sleep temperature and humidity, and ensure you have the ability to darken your sleep space fully. Invest in bedding that allows you to sleep without wild swings of being too hot and then too cold. You may find that a weighted blanket reduces nighttime anxiety and racing thoughts, allowing you to fall asleep. Remove all the barriers to a great night’s sleep, including laptops, cell phones, and televisions.
You don’t need to give up your morning coffee, but know that too much caffeine can result in an increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and jitters. Too much caffeine, whether from coffee, cola, or other sources, may actually increase your fatigue. Don’t quit your caffeine habit suddenly, though, because you want to avoid withdrawal symptoms and increased fatigue. Avoid any caffeine before bedtime.
Your fatigue may not be the result of your busy lifestyle. Instead, many health issues may be causing your fatigue. You may want to have a conversation with your doctor about your fatigue and any other signs and symptoms you are experiencing. Based on your doctor’s assessment, they may wish to run some simple medical tests. Some common illnesses that are linked to fatigue include anemia, heart disease, depression, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and urinary tract infections. In addition, there are many other medical causes, which your doctor can determine.
Fatigue can be a sign of dehydration; we risk becoming dehydrated when we fail to drink enough water. Your urine should always be a light color; if it is bright or dark yellow, it is a clear sign that you are dehydrated. Be sure to drink a few glasses of water a few hours before your workout or sports. Sip water throughout your day, and try flavoring it with cucumbers, mint, or fruit slices.
A poor diet may be causing your fatigue. This includes not eating enough of the right foods and eating too much of the wrong foods. Each meal should consist of some lean protein and a portion of complex carbohydrates. Consider adding high fiber and whole grains to your day. Oats, bananas, greek yogurt, pistachios, and dark leafy greens are all solid, healthy choices that will help you combat fatigue and benefit you in many other ways.