Causes and Suggestions for Fatigue

female yawning

Fatigue – Sleep – Eat 

As wild as the idea may sounds, medical evidence links sleep and weight gain. Researchers say that how much you sleep and possibly the quality of your sleep may affect hormonal activity tied to your appetite.   Research on the hormones leptin and ghrelin showed that both these hormones can influence the appetite, and now studies showed that production of both hormones are influenced by how much or how little we sleep.

Let’s have a look at the most common causes of fatigue and what to do about it.

Not Enough Sleep

It may seem obvious, but you could be getting too little sleep that can negatively affect your concentration and health. Adults need seven to eight hours sleep every night – so even though you might think 5 – 6 hours are enough for you, ask yourself, is it?

What to do: Make sleep a priority and keep a regular schedule. Ban laptops, cell phones and televisions from the bedroom. 

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 and because you are not aware of it, you are sleep-deprived despite spending eight hours in bed. 

What to do: Lose weight if needed, quit smoking, and you may need a device to help keep your airway passages open during sleep.

Iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is one of the leading causes of fatigue in women due to menstrual blood loss. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues and organs and without enough iron, the body can’t cope.

What to do: Take iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods, such as lean red meat, to normalise iron levels.


Even though depression is considered an emotional disorder, it causes many physical symptoms as well. Fatigue, headaches, and an influence on the appetite are quite common.

What to do: See your doctor – depression responds well to therapy and/or medication.


The thyroid is a small gland that controls your metabolism. If underactive and the metabolism functions too slowly, you may feel sluggish and put on weight.

What to do: Ask your doctor for a blood test.  Treatment is non-evasive and effective.

Too much Caffeine

Caffeine is known to improve alertness and concentration, but too much can increase heart rate and blood pressure and can actually causes fatigue in some people.

What to do: Stopping suddenly can cause withdrawal and more fatigue.  Gradually cut back on your caffeine intake. 3 cups of caffeinated drinks per day is considered moderate. 


If you suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI), the symptoms may not always be that obvious.  In some cases, fatigue may be the only sign. A urine test can quickly confirm an UTI.

What to do: Antibiotics.


During diabetes, high levels of sugar remain in the bloodstream instead of entering the body’s cells to be converted into energy. The result is tiredness despite having enough to eat.

What to do: If you have unexplained fatigue ask your doctor to be for diabetes.

Not drinking enough

Fatigue can be a sign of dehydration. If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!

What to do: You know you have enough to drink water if your urine is light in colour – throughout the day. 

Heart Disease

Fatigue during everyday activities or difficulty to finish tasks that were once easy, such as cleaning the house may be linked to heart disease.

What to do: Speak to your doctor about it. 

Food Allergies

Undiagnosed food allergies may contribute to fatigue. If your fatigue is more severe after meals, you could have a mild intolerance to something you ate. 

What to do: Try eliminating foods one at a time to see if your fatigue improves or ask your doctor about a food allergy test.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

Long-term, chronic fatigue (more than six months) that prevents you from managing your daily activities may be an indication of chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. 

What to do: Speak to your doctor about it.

What to do for Mild Fatigue

If you have mild fatigue that is not linked to any medical condition, the solution may be exercise. Research suggests healthy but tired adults can get a significant energy boost from a modest workout program. In one study, participants rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes at a mild pace. Doing this just three times a week was enough to fight fatigue.

Is your job making you overweight?

Working night shifts disrupt the body’s internal clock. You feel tired when you need to be awake and you may have trouble sleeping during the day.  That is because the internal body clock — circadian rhythms — may be out of synch. Shift work disrupts this cycle, and many people have trouble adapting.

Let’s see which jobs are known for disrupting sleep….

Air Traffic Controller

It’s a challenge for some people to stay alert throughout the night. 

Senior Manager

If you have (or are) a cranky boss, too little sleep could be part of the problem. 

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts specialize in foreign markets, can be required to work odd hours because of the time difference. 

New Parent

The one job that is sure to disturb your sleep: parenting to a newborn! 

Network Administrator

The Internet created a demand for shift workers. Network administrators must make sure that Web-based services are available to users 24/7.

Factory Worker

The manufacturing industry relies on shift work to avoid factory downtime and to maximize productivity. 

Cable News Reporter

The advent of 24-hour cable news created a new field of shift workers. 


To provide continuous care to patients, many nurses also end up working long hours. 

Airplane Pilot

Pilots face irregular hours, long shifts, and jet lag as they travel through multiple time zones.


Police Officer

To protect and serve the public all night and day, many police departments use rotating shifts. 

Medical Intern

Medical interns often have to work for up to 24 hours in a row. 

Truck Driver

Truck drivers often take to the road at night, both to avoid daytime traffic and to manage tight delivery schedules. 


Many bars and clubs are open the early hours of the morning and a bartender may end up working almost through the night. 

Tips for Working at Night

The best way to adapt to shift work is to stick to the same schedule, even on weekends. 

Some are strategies that can help you stay alert. 

  • Try to work with others rather than alone.
  • Drink a beverage with caffeine at the start of your shift.
  • Walk around or get some exercise on your break.
  • If napping is an option, give it a try.

When to Seek Help

If you’ve had work-related sleep problems for at least one month — and they have affected your family or work life — a sleep specialist may help. 

Tips for Daytime Sleep

Most people find it tough to sleep during the day – here are some advice that may help. 

  • Create a bedtime ritual, like reading or a taking a bath, to signal to the brain that it’s time to sleep.
  • On the way home from work, wear dark glasses and stay out of the sun.
  • Make the bedroom as dark as possible or wear an eye mask.
  • Use earplugs to block out daytime noise.



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