5 Reasons Fatigue is Robbing Your Vitality

The difference between sleepiness and fatigue

We’ve all been there: yawning in a meeting, falling asleep in the middle of our favorite show, or wanting to get in pajamas before dinner and hit the pillow early. Sleepiness can strike anytime, anywhere, dulling your senses and calling out for comfort. Ignoring your body’s signals that it needs rest usually leads to a craving for sugar (energy) and caffeine dependence. Nurturing a habit of sleepiness becomes a slippery slope that, over time, becomes an unhealthy way to live.

But sleepiness has a simple cure: sleep! When you take a nap, go to bed early, or quit burning the midnight oil, sleepiness will resolve itself. On its own, drowsiness is a mild symptom –– everyone experiences it from time to time. On the other hand, Fatigue is a chronic status that thrums like a like baseline no matter what you do to relieve it on the surface.

Fatigue is more than just sleepiness. It’s exhaustion –– a bone-tiredness that sets in after extended sleeplessness, illness, or depression. Fatigue turns you into a zombie, so you’re merely existing through your days rather than living them from your soul’s vital source. This weakness comes from variations of ongoing stress, and it leaves no part of you untouched: fatigue will impact your mental acuity, emotional stability, and physical ability. Fatigue will feel like there’s no end in sight.

When should you worry about feeling tired all the time?

Feeling tired is so common that a 2015 poll found 38 percent of Americans habitually got inadequate rest. Can you imagine how much greater that would be in the years since? But if half of us are getting enough hours of sleep, and still feeling tired, what’s behind it? Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which approximately 2 million people suffer from, can last six months or more. This profound fatigue causes cognitive impairment and exhaustion, even after mild exertion, and increases the likelihood of other diseases, such as heart problems and autoimmune conditions.

Fatigue is a symptom of something, be it a lifestyle or underlying health issue. If you want to restore your health and vitality, getting enough quality, effectual rest is as important as what you eat and how you move your body. The good news is that just like food and exercise, sleep is a simple and basic way to improve your overall health. If the simple approach doesn’t fix the problem, its time to call your doctor.

Common reasons for severe fatigue include:

1. Irregular Sleep Habits Circadian rhythms are your body’s internal time clock. These rhythms run in your operating system’s background and tie your sleep-wake cycle to the planet’s day-night rotation. Your body will intuitively time your digestion, rest, and energy expenditure in a predictable pattern throughout the 24 hours. If your sleep habits are out of whack with your circadian rhythm, you’re more likely to have insomnia, restlessness, and ongoing fatigue.

2. Stress and Anxiety The American lifestyle is one of the most stressful in the world. Our pace can often be relentless –– and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you add “social media scroll” or the 24-hour news cycle to that pace, there’s a subconscious level of stress continually seeping into your mind. This anxiety subtly builds. You might not even realize you’re anxious about events and situations entirely out of your control, even while these worries manifest in nightmares and restless sleep. At night, our minds toil over what we didn’t deal with during the day, so be careful about what you store inside.

3. Hormonal Changes You’ve probably heard of menopausal women struggling with insomnia, but gonadal hormones can impact both men and women at any age. For women, fluctuation in the menstrual cycle can also mean changes in sleep quality and duration. Men with lower testosterone levels also report sleep deprivation patterns.

4. Bedroom Hygiene Although a soothing bath as part of a pre-bedtime routine can work wonders, bedroom hygiene isn’t about the cleanliness of your body: it’s about your bed and the room itself. Allergens get trapped in our sleep spaces, creating itchiness and breathing issues. Electronics emit light and signals that interrupt your circadian rhythm. Make sure your room is clean and dusted, that your sheets and pillows are cleaned regularly and that electronics are turned off and put away.

5. Underlying Health If you’ve addressed the previous four sleep-thieves and you’re still exhausted, its time to schedule a medical appointment. Routine lab work and wellness checks screen for the underlying cause of insufficient sleep. These might include obesity, apnea, anemia, depression, nutritional deficiencies –– or something more serious. Get it checked. You deserve to feel rested, healthy, and whole.

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