Tired woman at her work desk

What’s Causing Your Daytime Fatigue?

Do you often find it difficult to stay awake and concentrate during the day?

If so, you could be suffering from daytime fatigue, which is often linked to another medical problem.

Here are nine different causes of daytime fatigue, as well as tips on what you can do about them.

Hypersomnia

Hypersomnia is a condition that refers to either:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • An excessive amount of time spent sleeping

If you have hypersomnia, you will likely find yourself falling asleep at random points during the day, even while you are talking or driving.

Hypersomnia is extremely common, affecting around 40% of people at some point in their lives. 

What causes hypersomnia?

Here are a few of the most common causes of the condition: 

  • Sleep disorders, which will be explained in more detail below
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • A head injury
  • Being overweight
  • Genetics
  • Depression and anxiety

So, if you have hypersomnia, what can you do about it?

You should first have this confirmed by your doctor, who will also be able to prescribe different drugs to help treat the condition.

You can also try to identify the cause of your hypersomnia, and then work to reverse this. For example, if it is caused by being overweight, losing weight can help, while changing your sleeping habits so that you get more sleep will prevent sleep deprivation from causing your hypersomnia.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is extremely common, and simply refers to a person not getting enough sleep

How much sleep is enough?

Experts recommend between seven to nine hours of sleep each night, although this does vary between individuals, and also changes with age.

While missing out on a couple of hours once in a while will not cause any harm, experiencing frequent bouts of sleep deprivation can definitely lead to daytime fatigue.

How can you overcome this?

The obvious answer would be…

Get more sleep!

Here are a few tips to help you to get more quality sleep:

  • Set a regular schedule – a regular sleep schedule will help to train your body clock into feeling tired at the same time each evening, while waking itself up at the same time each morning. Make sure that you stick to this schedule, even on the weekends
  • Stay away from caffeine or alcohol from late afternoon onwardsboth of these can hugely impact your sleep, as well as its quality
  • Don’t keep blue light-emitting electronics in your bedroomthe blue light that comes from the screens of these devices keeps your body awake for longer
  • Avoid daytime nappingeven if you feel tired during the day, avoid the temptation to nap, as this will only prevent you from falling asleep at the optimum time that night
  • Work out in the morningsyou may think that exercising would help you to fall asleep, but this actually raises the heart rate and triggers the release of adrenaline into your body, both of which will keep you awake. However, exercise done in the mornings, or even the afternoons, can actually help you to sleep better at night
  • Avoid eating two hours before bedthis sets your digestive system in motion, which can keep you awake

Infographic on how to get better sleep

Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders cause you to frequently wake up during the night, which then interferes with the quality of your sleep, leading to you feeling chronically fatigued each day.

These are some of the most common sleep disorders:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea – the most common sleep disorder, affecting more than 20 million adults in the USA alone. This disorder consists of a blockage in the airways, meaning that the brain wakes itself up to send a signal to the respiratory system to continue functioning normally. This usually causes a person to stop breathing for about 10 to 20 seconds, and can occur hundreds of times throughout the night, without a person even realizing it
  • Narcolepsythis is an autoimmune disorder in which the brain is not able to properly control its sleep and wake cycles. This means that you experience the REM stage of sleep, which is when you are sleeping the deepest, at random points during the day
  • Restless Leg Syndromethis neurological disorder causes a person to feel an uncomfortable sensation in their legs, which leads to them moving their legs around to relieve this. Since this makes it difficult for a person to fall asleep, as well as stay asleep, the result is daytime fatigue

Treatments vary for each sleep disorder, and in some cases, especially for restless leg syndrome, these disorders can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. This makes it important to see a doctor if you think that you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. 

Depression

Depression is much more common than you would think…

Around 300 million people around the world, including 16.2 million adults in the USA, have depression. It is also believed that around 15% of the adult population will experience depression at some point in their lives. 

What does this have to do with daytime fatigue?

Research shows that people with depression are much more likely to experience daytime fatigue. Not only that, but people who already have daytime fatigue are much more likely to end up depressed.

As you can see, this results in a vicious circle that can be difficult to break out of.

When it comes to treating depression…

There are many treatment options out there, depending on the severity of your depression. This is something that only a professional can advise you on, so make sure that you speak to a doctor if you think that you may be depressed.

Too Much Caffeine

Coffee is commonly drunk to help people stay awake and alert, but, sometimes, it can have the opposite effect.

Woman holding a cup of espresso

While a cup or two won’t do any harm, drinking too much caffeine can lead to:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • A jittery feeling
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

What happens once the caffeine wears off?

You end up “crashing”, resulting in you feeling completely fatigued.

What can you do about this?

Well, let’s begin by what you shouldn’t do…

Drinking even more coffee in order to overcome this would be the worst way to deal with the problem.  

Instead, try to cut back on the amount of caffeine you drink.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to completely cut caffeine out of your life, because this will only leave you with withdrawal symptoms.

Try slowly weaning yourself off the coffee, as well as any other caffeinated drinks. Replace these with water or other drinks, so that you are consuming less caffeine each day.

A Poor Diet

The food that you eat fuels your body, so it only makes sense that your body will feel weak and tired if it is not being fed with the right nutrients.

Let’s begin with the most important meal of the day…

Breakfast!

So many people out there skip breakfast, not realizing just how crucial this meal is.

Why is it so important?

Because the food that you eat for breakfast helps to wake your body up, giving your metabolism a kick start for the day. Without breakfast, your energy levels will be lacking from the start of the day.

If you don’t have time for breakfast, or are simply too tired early in the mornings…

Try putting a small grab-and-go morning snack together the night before, and then slowly build up your new breakfast habit to encompass larger and more filling meals.

Now on to the rest of the food you eat…

Try to avoid large and heavy meals during the day, as these can often leave you feeling bloated and lethargic.

Make sure that your diet is a balanced one, featuring plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, nuts and seeds. 

Why is this important?

Because if you eat processed, high-sugar foods instead, this causes a spike in your blood sugar levels. Once this drops back down, it leaves you feeling fatigued and low.

Premenstrual Syndrome

PMS manifests differently in every single woman out there.

For many, daytime fatigue is one of the symptoms, and this is actually extremely common.

Your body produces a hormone called melatonin, which helps it to regulate its sleep cycles. During your premenstrual phase, as well as your menstrual phase, melatonin levels fluctuate, often decreasing. This then keeps you up at night, making you feel fatigued during the day.

Not only that, but the hormonal changes during your premenstrual phase can lead to an increase in the amount of deep sleep that you experience. However, this occurs during the day as well as the night, causing you to feel tired and sluggish.

Dehydration

Did you know that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated?

This is a condition that affects millions of people, even though it is so easily prevented.

How does this relate to daytime fatigue?

Because research shows that dehydration is the number one cause of midday fatigue.

How does dehydration cause this?

Due to the way in which a lack of water causes your blood pressure to drop. This then leads to headaches, fatigue and a loss of concentration. 

How much water should you be drinking each day?

This varies, not only depending on your weight but also your activity levels through the day. A good amount to aim for would be around two liters a day, but don’t forget that you will also be getting a small chunk of this from the food that you eat, especially if your diet is high in fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Infographic on daily water intake

Can’t seem to drink enough water during the day?

Here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Mix up a pitcher of fruit-infused water to give your water some extra flavor
  • Try to drink a full cup of water before every meal
  • Download an app to help you to track how much water you are drinking, as well as setting alarms to remind you to drink some water
  • If you are drinking a sugar-filled drink, try diluting this down with some water
  • Install a water filter, as this can help your water to taste better
  • Mae sure that you drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink you consume

Remember…

If you are feeling thirsty, then this means that you are already dehydrated.

A Sedentary Lifestyle

More and more people are experiencing a sedentary lifestyle these days, and this is actually a common cause behind daytime fatigue.

How are the two connected?

Well, the lack of physical activity leads to your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems de-conditioning, while also depressing your mood. Both of these can then result in daytime fatigue.

There is so much research out there that backs up the way in which exercise is able to help reverse daytime fatigue, making this something well worth trying.

Hate the idea of exercise?

Physical activity doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours in the gym.

If you really think about it, you are guaranteed to be able to find some form of physical activity that appeals to you. Whether this may be a dance class, a group dog walk, a visit to the beach, a gardening session, or even blasting some music at home and dancing around the house, any activity that gets you up and moving regularly can help you to feel less fatigued during the day.

Daytime fatigue is extremely common, but so frustrating to deal with due to the way in which it impacts everyday life. In order to overcome your daytime fatigue, spend some time working out the cause of it, as treating the root issue will be the most effective way to deal with the problem.

Woman sleeping in low-lit room

Fight Fatigue With Power Naps

If you have ever seen the Seinfeld episode entitled “The Nap,” you may know that no one knows the power of a good nap quite like George Constanza. When a glass window in his office prevents him from daytime slumber, George asks Jerry’s contractor to trick out the area underneath his desk with all the creature comforts required for a stress-free, uninterrupted nap, including a shelf for his alarm clock and a cup holder. Although this set up predictably backfires on George, one cannot fault him for his dogged pursuit of a good nap. Napping is a great way to fight fatigue and stay on top of things and research finds that they can also effectively reduce stress and risk of heart disease.

Naps Combat Sleep Deprivation
Sara C. Mednick, author of “Take A Nap! Change Your Life” says, “You can get incredible benefits from 15 to 20 minutes of napping. You reset the system and get a burst of alertness and increased motor performance. That’s what most people really need to stave off sleepiness and get an energy boost.” You also want to consider the length of your nap and the role it plays in its effect on the brain. A 20 minute nap, also referred to as the stage 2 nap, is recommended for remaining alert and sharpening motor learning skills like playing an instrument or typing. Longer naps help aid memory and improve creativity. Thirty to sixty minute naps-slow-wave sleep- enhance skills dealing with decision making and memorization of vocabulary or directions. REM sleep, which usually comes after 60 to 90 minutes of napping, helps the brain to form connections and solve creative problems.

Naps or Coffee
Who needs naps when you’ve got caffeine, right? Well, maybe not. Though a cup of java may improve alertness, caffeine can decrease your memory’s performance making you more likely to make mistakes and leave you cranky and unfocused.

Napping Tips
You may not put George Costanza- like strategy in planning your daily nap, but there are some tips to make the experience a little more beneficial.

Consistency
Schedule your naps. The best time for most people is in the middle of the day, between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m.

Speed
If you are not lucky enough to have a built in space for your alarm clock in your napping area, you can set your cell phone alarm clock to wake you up in 30 minutes or less. This will ensure you don’t wake up groggy.

Darkness
If you can’t nap in a dark room, you may want to wear an eye mask. Blocking light out will help you fall asleep more quickly.

Warmth
Body temperature drops when you sleep, so make sure you have a blanket handy if a snooze is on the agenda.

If you are a proud napper, we would love to hear all about your experiences. What is your favorite place to nap and what are your suggestions for a great nap? Let us know!

Stressed woman

Understanding Adrenal Fatigue

You may have heard the term “adrenal fatigue,” but what does it actually mean? Adrenal fatigue occurs when your adrenal glands are not working as they should. These glands are meant to regulate your hormones, heart rate, energy, and immune system in order to control how stress affects your body.

SYMPTOMS

  1. Not feeling rested (even when you get plenty of sleep). People who suffer from adrenal fatigue often never feel like they can get a good night’s sleep. Even if they go to bed early and wake up late, they can never seem to shake their hazy tiredness.
  2. Increased responses to stress. Because the body of some with adrenal fatigue body is having trouble regulated their hormones in stressful situations, they are more likely to feel increased levels of anxiety or depression. They can have trouble coping with situations that would not normally have as much of an effect on them, and they can’t seem to get out of their funk.
  3. Getting sick more often. Because adrenal fatigue can weaken the immune system, sufferers will get sick much more often than they used to, and it will take longer to recover each time.
  4. Weight gain. Adrenal fatigue can also cause the sufferers metabolism to drop considerably. Even though they may be experiencing a reduced appetite, the stress levels, and decreased metabolism can cause sudden weight gain.
  5. A sudden boost of energy in the evening. People without adrenal fatigue will experience a jump in cortisol in the morning, but sufferers will have the spike in the evening, which can make it even more difficult for them to get the rest they need.

COMBAT ADRENAL FATIGUE 

Change Your Diet

  • To help keep energy up, eat several small meals throughout the day.
  • Feeling tired can make it hard to cook every day and make healthy meals for yourself. It is more important than even to eat healthy, balanced meals so your body has the best chance of recalibrating.
  • Try to avoid sugar. Sugary foods can give you fast energy, but they will cause a crash later. This crash is even worse if you suffer from adrenal fatigue.
  • Cut down on caffeine. If you are relying on cup after cup of coffee to get you through the day, consider avoiding reaching for another cup when you start to feel fatigue.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. Because you are having trouble getting out of bed, you are likely skipping breakfast before rushing to work. Try to put bananas and granola bars by the door so you can quickly give your body good energy to start the day.

Try Supplements
Different kinds of supplements can help combat adrenal fatigue. B vitamins, vitamin C, and Omega-3 are among the supplements available to can help.

Hormone Replacement
Talk to your doctor about trying hormone replacement if adrenal fatigue worsens. Because your body is not producing enough hormones on its own, hormone replace can help correct some of the symptoms caused by adrenal fatigue.

Woman having a neck ache

Fighting Muscle Fatigue     

Summer is a great time to change up (or start) your workout routine. The weather is warmer and the days are longer, and people are getting out of the gym (and off the couch) and flocking to bike paths, fields, and tennis courts to get in their 60 active minutes. We all know how important it is to stay active. Working out a few times a week can help fight muscle fatigue, lose weight, and give you more energy. It’s important to fight lactic acid accumulation and avoid fatiguing your muscles so you can finish strong and stay fit. There are tons of supplements out there that are marketed for stopping muscle fatigue and building muscle faster, but there are a few simple and inexpensive ways you can defend your guns.

Stay Hydrated
This may seem too simple, but getting enough water is essentially for your muscles to function properly. In fact, muscle fatigue and cramping are actually a side effect of dehydration. Always be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Making a habit of drinking water throughout the day is going to prepare your body for you work out. Increasing your H2O intake can also give you more energy, help you skin, and help you stay focused!

Get Your Protein
Eating a protein rich meal after a workout is going to help you build muscle. Your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate after your workout ends, so it is important that you are ingesting enough calories at that point, otherwise you can actually lose muscle. Building strong muscles is going to help stop future muscle fatigue. Although protein is most commonly connected with eating meat, it is also high in fat. You can also get your protein boost with beans, nuts, and protein powders.

Add Resveratrol to Your Diet
Resveratrol is a substance found naturally in plants that can prevent muscle fatigue. You may have heard about exciting new studies that have added fighting muscle fatigue to resveratrol’s list of benefits. Muscle fatigue is most often caused by leading a sedentary lifestyle, and resveratrol can actually give you the benefits of exercise, even when eating a diet high in sugar and fat. Scientists have studied animals, and found out that those given resveratrol were able to counteract the muscle fatigue that can come with eating poorly and not exercising. This wonderful antioxidant is sold in supplement form, but it can be found in the skins of different types of berries. This is extra exciting because, as many of us know, resveratrol is found in red wine because it is fermented in grape skins, which have a high concentration of the substance.

Before you kick back with a glass of red and forget about working out, resveratrol is not a replacement for a balanced diet and regular exercise. That being said, drinking red wine can actually help you muscles- so raise a glass!