Fatigue can be defined as a lack of mental or physical energy. It is closely related to sleep, but the symptoms of fatigue range from subtle to severe. Fatigue is a common symptom of various illnesses, but it can also indicate more severe health issues. Feeling tired is often the first indication that your body requires rest.
Unfortunately, many people take their bodies for granted and fail to listen to them when they crave sleep or relaxation. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t push yourself to the edge. Let’s talk about the different signs that your body needs rest and how you can address it:
• Lack of energy: If you find yourself unable to concentrate or get started at work on time, it can be an indication that your energy levels are off. Generally speaking, fatigue caused by injury or illness usually goes away within a few days. However, if it lasts more than a few days, see your doctor as fatigue can be a symptom of a more severe problem.
• Irritability: Have you ever felt irritable without knowing the reason why? You may not have had enough time to sleep or had a long exhausting day. Apparent reasons don’t always cause fatigue. If the rest is not enough to cure irritability, you may need to reassess your diet and lifestyle.
• Loss of mental clarity: People who experience chronic fatigue may experience dizziness and decreased mental clarity. If left untreated, the person may also suffer from hypoglycemia and hypotension. Lightheadedness may put an individual at risk for accidents and concussions.
• Muscle weakness: Fatigue also manifests as muscle weakness or a decrease in muscle strength. While it’s normal to feel tired at times, prolonged weakness and lethargy should never be ignored.
• Weight gain: A person can gain excess weight due to fatigue because of the lack of physical activity and changes in appetite.
Certain lifestyle factors also can contribute to the effects of fatigue. These factors include not getting enough sleep, being overweight, and living a sedentary lifestyle.
If any of these lifestyle factors exist in your life, you should immediately begin to make changes. Your body needs proper rest to function normally, so if you aren’t getting the amount of sleep and exercise you need, you’ll run into problems sooner or later.
Managing Fatigue: Treatments and Prevention
If you’re always tired, you’re less productive. Managing fatigue effectively benefits you physically and mentally. Never ignore chronic fatigue—it’s not normal, and it can have serious consequences. Here are the ways fatigue can be treated and prevented:
1. Learn to Take Breaks
Today’s busy lifestyles make it challenging to stop and relax. Taking a break now and then is not a mortal sin. Short breaks during the day can help you recover from fatigue by boosting productivity and increasing alertness. Long breaks, on the other hand, have a positive impact on overall physical health.
2. Sleep Well
A good night’s sleep is essential because your body repairs itself during this time. It’s vital to sleep for at least 7–9 hours daily. Lack of sleep impacts your health negatively, which can result in serious medical problems in the future.
Aside from ample sleeping hours, make sure that you’re getting quality sleep by regulating the lighting and temperature in the bedroom, as well as purchasing the right mattress and pillow for your body type and preference.
3. Modify Your Diet
Many people aren’t aware that the food they eat can help them recover from fatigue. If you want to prevent fatigue from controlling your life, reassess your diet:
• No to alcohol and caffeine: The excessive use of caffeine, alcohol, and energy-producing foods may backfire and eventually result in extreme tiredness or exhaustion.
• Cut back on carbohydrates: A low-carb diet can help relieve tiredness. By keeping your blood sugar levels stable, carbohydrates provide fuel for your muscles. When using carbohydrates as fuel, try limiting your daily calorie intake. Also, try to eat carbohydrates in complex carbs, like those found in whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereals. Another option is taking a high-quality multi-grain carbohydrate supplement. A well-rounded multi-grain carbohydrate supplement will help you feel fuller longer and keep your blood sugar levels constant.
• Yes to nutrient-rich foods: Fill your diet with fresh, whole foods and stay away from overly-processed food items. Instead of eating fast food, whip up something from your kitchen using simple but nutritious foods like eggs, kale, oats, and spinach. For snacks, try eating almonds, bananas, watermelon. Fighting fatigue with the help of a nutritious diet shouldn’t be challenging—always choose rich in fiber, healthy fats, and iron.
• Stay hydrated: Fatigue can also manifest as dehydration, which is not suitable for the body. You can fight or prevent fatigue by drinking enough fluids throughout the day. Avoid drinking sugary drinks and juices, and drink clean, purified water instead.
Feel free to consult your primary care physician or a nutritionist for other tips on how to create an energy-rich diet.
4. Prioritize Your Wellness
Aside from taking regular breaks and enrolling in stress management programs, you should commit to and make an effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
• Exercise regularly: It’s not enough to eat well and have adequate rest—you should ensure you’re getting ample exercise, too. Regular exercise helps improve your physical health and strengthens your mind, too. A healthy body is typically more energetic than an unhealthy one.
• Boost your immune system: Chronic fatigue is linked to having a weak immune system, and both can result in deteriorating health. To prevent fatigue, work on improving your immune system by eating right, exercising regularly, and getting ample rest.
• Visit your doctor: If you’re not sure why you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s best to visit a doctor to have yourself checked to ensure it’s not caused by severe illnesses like thyroid problems, diabetes, or cardiovascular diseases. Fatigue accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, feelings of social disintegration, decreased enjoyment of hobbies and activities, and social isolation should never be disregarded, and may be symptomatic of mental illnesses like depression.
Fatigue doesn’t necessarily have to signal a more serious health condition, but it can indicate that changes are needed. Consult your doctor if you notice fatigue lasting more than a few days. They will be able to tell you whether your lifestyle factors, such as sleep quality and quantity, are contributing to your fatigue or if you have to give your body a little time to rest and recover.