We all feel a little tired sometimes. Whether we ate a big meal that has us feeling sluggish out or we didn’t get enough sleep the night before, we often know the reason for our energy slump. But when feeling tired sometimes turns into feeling tired often, it’s time to start looking for other causes—and solutions. If you think you might have one of the nine issues below, consult with your healthcare professional about the best way to put some pep back in your step.
1. Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue happens when our adrenal glands aren’t producing enough hormones. This can be caused by either chronic stress or one high-stress situation. You may have adrenal fatigue if you:
- Get lots of sleep and still feel tired
- Have trouble getting out of bed no matter what time you go to sleep
- Feel overwhelmed or exhausted by life in general
- Crave sugary or salty food
- Have more energy in the evening than during the day
- Find it hard to recover from illness
2. B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells, nerve tissue function, and absorption of folic acid. We can develop B12 deficiency over several years without noticing any symptoms. Some causes for B12 deficiency are Crohn’s disease, short bowel syndrome, atrophic gastritis, weight loss surgery, intestinal parasites, lupus, Graves’ disease, pernicious anemia, a vegan diet, and chronic alcoholism. We are also more susceptible as we get older.
B12 is available in supplements and as a shot, and a simple blood test can identify a deficiency.
Eating too much sugar can take a toll on our health. While the amount varies by person, you might have a “sugar hangover” if you experience the following after eating sugar-filled foods (even naturally occurring sugar):
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Foggy brain
- Gas or bloating
- Digestive issues
- Joint pain
- Allergy symptoms
- Mood swings
- Skin problems
It’s normal to feel sad or low on occasion or in response to specific situations. If the feelings persist or become overwhelming, it could be a sign of depression. If you have any of the following, seek out a mental health professional:
- Extreme fatigue and low energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling helpless or worthless
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Lack of interest in activities or hobbies
- Low to no sex drive
- Lowered appetite or overeating
- Feeling hopeless
- Chronic sadness or anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts
5. Food Sensitivities
If you feel any of the following after eating specific eating foods, such as gluten or dairy, it’s possible you have a sensitivity or intolerance for that type of food. Try keeping a food journal and tracking your reactions to certain food groups, or an elimination diet to discover which foods affect you.
- Bloating or gas
- Headaches, especially migraines
- Persistent cough
- Runny nose
- Irritable bowel or digestive issues
- Stomach pain
Try keeping a food journal and tracking your reactions to certain food groups, or an elimination diet to discover which foods affect you.
6. Iron deficiency
Like B12 deficiency, iron deficiency also affects our red blood cells. Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world and can come from blood loss (even from menstruation), not enough iron in our diets, and poor absorption. If you have any of the following, you could have low iron:
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Pale skin
- Cold hands or feet
- Frequent infections
- Inflamed or sore tongue
- Fast heartbeat
- Poor appetite
- Brittle nails
- Unusual tingling or crawling feeling in your legs
A blood test can detect iron deficiency.
7. Not Enough Exercise
Often not getting enough exercise can cause us to feel even more tired. The more inactive we are, the more sluggish we feel. A good exercise program is a great way to combat chronic fatigue, so find an activity you enjoy and lace up your sneakers!