When you notice that you are yawning midmorning or craving a nap around midday, you might just assume that you need to get more sleep the next night. However, those who routinely feel tired, drowsy, or mentally foggy might need to pay more attention to this symptom. If you are constantly feeling tired no matter how much you sleep, it may actually be a sign that something is interfering with your sleep quality or your health. Here are nine unexpected reasons that you might be feeling abnormally fatigued.
A commonly overlooked cause of exhaustion is anemia. This health condition is characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells. People with anemia do not have enough blood cells to carry oxygen throughout their body, and without enough oxygen, every part of the body struggles to function correctly. Anemia can be caused by many things, including abnormal blood cell shapes, iron deficiencies, or menstrual abnormalities. The tiredness associated with anemia makes you feel mentally foggy, out of breath after short walks, or incapable of moving your muscles properly.
Related: Anemia – Overview
Most pregnant women are not surprised if they are feeling tired, but their partners are often confused by why they suddenly feel very tired. It is important to remember that sympathetic pregnancy symptoms are very real. Partners of women who are pregnant often experience morning sickness, cravings, back pain, and extreme fatigue right alongside their spouse. Researchers find that men’s hormone levels shift along with their partner’s, causing things like extreme fatigue to develop even if the pregnant person is not complaining about feeling tired.
The human sleep schedule is controlled by the circadian rhythm, a complex cycle of hormones and bodily rhythms that rise and fall based on light exposure. Unfortunately, all the electronics we use are having a very negative effect on the circadian rhythm. The human body responds to blue light, like the light of the sun at high noon, by feeling more awake. The lights from televisions, phones, and computers mimic this light, tricking the body into thinking it is still noon even in the middle of the night. This ultimately ends up making us feel alert and struggle to fall asleep at night. Those who keep televisions running or have other exposure to artificial light while they sleep will have even more heavily reduced sleep quality due to the constant disruption.
If you have recently been diagnosed and treated for a parasite, then parasite die off might be the likeliest cause of your symptoms. Treating parasites is a little tricky because you do not start feeling better right away. As the parasites inside of you are weakened, you might begin to feel ill or fatigued. Parasite die-off symptoms can range from mild fatigue and digestive discomfort to more severe flu-like symptoms. Managing them requires plenty of rest and fluids.
Malfunctioning Thyroid Gland
The thyroid glands are tiny clusters of tissue, but they are responsible for maintaining levels of important hormones throughout the body. The thyroid hormones primarily regulate metabolism and energy usage throughout the body. If you do not have enough thyroid hormone, you might experience constant and debilitating fatigue. An underactive thyroid also tends to result in weight gain, dry skin, brittle nails, sensitivity to cold, and a slower heart rate. Fortunately, there are many ways to address this issue. Some people can increase thyroid production through lifestyle changes while others may need to take hormone replacements.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
It might surprise you to learn that one unexpected cause of fatigue is a syndrome called chronic fatigue syndrome. This is a very rare disorder that is simply characterized by extreme fatigue without any underlying medical cause. People who have chronic fatigue syndrome end up with extreme exhaustion that can last up to 24 hours following anything mentally or physically challenging. They tend to struggle with concentration and get unexplained headaches and sore throats. Doctors know that it is related to immune problems and hormonal imbalances, but the actual cause is not understood.
Related: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are a frequently overlooked cause of fatigue because most people think that this health problem just makes it uncomfortable to urinate. However, infections in the urinary tract actually have a huge effect on your energy levels. When you have a UTI, your body is busy fighting off harmful bacteria, and it also struggles to properly expel waste material through urination. This ends up causing symptoms of fatigue to develop. The exhaustion can be bad enough that you may need to take a few sick days and get plenty of sleep until you are healed.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome
This complicated-sounding syndrome is essentially a condition where blood pools in the lower body whenever a person is standing upright. The body tries to compensate for this by pumping the heart faster and faster, but it may still struggle to get enough blood to the brain. POTS causes fatigue because it keeps the brain from getting enough oxygen to function and makes the body work a lot harder than it should. People with this condition tend to get periodic attacks of fatigue that can last for days.
If you frequently pour a nightcap before bed, you might need to rethink your nightly routine. Many people drink alcohol before bed because they feel like it helps them to sleep. It might be true that you fall asleep faster with alcohol, but it actually impairs your sleep greatly. Instead of getting into the deep cycles of sleep where your brain is restored and refreshed, alcohol makes you stay in the lighter levels of sleep all night. You end up feeling groggy and tired the next day no matter how long you sleep. This might also be time to make a decision to cut back on your addiction to alcohol. There are plenty of therapists and resources out there to help get started on a track to a healthier lifestyle.
Related: Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
Any one of these issues might be the reason you are constantly feeling fatigued. Fortunately, most of them are fairly easy to address once you diagnose the problem. It can take a little time and effort to manage the issue, but you can work to overcome it and regain your energy.
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