Written by Aisling Moran BSc (Hons)
8th Mar 2023 • 4 minute read

Fatigue can occur due to a lack of iron in the blood, recovering from an infection, having either a low or high metabolic rate along with not getting sufficient levels of sleep.

What are the causes of fatigue?

Today's lifestyle, nutritional choices, and overall stressful environment are all factors that contribute to increased fatigue levels.

Some other causes of fatigue can be:

Medical issues

Fatigue can be caused by thyroid dysfunction and lack of essential nutrients, like low vitamin D and iron levels.

Fatigue is a symptom of many illnesses, like:

You can check your energy levels at home by using an energy blood test.

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle also plays a very large role in your energy levels. An honest look at your life might help you pinpoint the causes of fatigue and help you fight them efficiently.

Fatigue can relate to:

  • excess or complete lack of physical activity
  • lack of sleep
  • excessive stress
  • use of alcohol or drugs
  • nutrition
  • medication — like antihistamines and cough medication
  • jet lag
Unmade bed, blue and white pillows

How to fight fatigue

There are many ways to fight fatigue effectively. Some of these have the added benefit of slowing down the ageing process as well. Many cases of unexplained tiredness are in fact due to lifestyle factors like stress, not enough sleep, and poor diet.

Exercise more

When you're exhausted, the last thing you might feel like doing is exercising. If you're not exercising at all, exercising regularly can be a great way to boost your energy levels.

Many studies have shown that exercise combats fatigue by boosting energy levels but it also improves overall life quality as it improves the efficiency of your heart lungs and muscles. Yoga, in particular, has been shown to be particularly beneficial in lessening tiredness symptoms and making a positive difference in energy levels, life purpose and satisfaction.

Yoga also effectively treats chronic fatigue symptoms relating to depression and anxiety.

Furthermore, the beneficial effects of yoga seem to be long term; even one class a week for 2 or 3 years has a significant affect on general wellness and health.

Drink enough water

Many of us are dehydrated without even realising it, and dehydration drains energy and impairs physical performance.

Dehydration causes fatigue for athletes but also for people who are simply doing chores and also decreases alertness and concentration.

Aim to drink 8 large glasses of water a day; if you're drinking enough, your urine should be pale yellow or straw coloured. Darker urine is a sign you need to drink more water to avoid dehydration.

Establish a regular sleep routine

Sleep problems affect millions of people worldwide. Many people don't get the sleep they need to stay alert throughout the day. Furthermore, aside from causing fatigue, lack of sleep is bad for health and can lead to serious issues.

Establishing a regular sleep routine is important to allow your body to adjust to a regular internal clock — also called a circadian rhythm. Creating a new sleep habit will help you wake up consistently at the same time every morning.

Turn your electronics off at least one hour before going to bed to avoid electronic stimuli and take time to relax, perhaps by reading, drawing or journaling. Aromatherapy can also help you relax and destress; look for essential oils like lavender and frankincense, which have calming and anti-stress properties.

Improve your diet

Food intolerances like gluten or dairy will leave you feeling tired and drained; verify whether there are any foods you should avoid for medical reasons.

In any case, aim to reduce processed foods, sugary foods, alcohol and caffeine.

Don't skip breakfast, a fundamental meal to get a good start on the day; a combination of protein and carbohydrate, like a whole-grain bagel with cheese, is an excellent choice.

Also increase your intake of fish, which is rich in omega-3 oils, and can help you boost alertness. Contacting your doctor before making substantial lifestyle changes is recommended.

Remember that if you find yourself still sluggish even after the lifestyle changes, more in-depth medical exams may be in order.


This article was originally written by Lucy Wyndham from Caregiver Connection