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How to Overcome Fatigue
It's a simple fact of life: from time to time, almost everyone has to perform when they're feeling tired or unmotivated. Fatigue can have many causes, but the good news is that, with a few simple lifestyle changes, most people can reverse the effects of fatigue in a matter of days or weeks.
To overcome fatigue, drink water throughout the day, especially after exercising or exerting yourself, since dehydration can cause fatigue. Also, try to get in a little bit of physical exercise every day, even if you're just going for a walk, since exercise can help reduce the level of fatigue you're feeling. Even though it might sound counterintuitive, limit your consumption of caffeine and stimulants, since they can actually make you more fatigued in the long run when their effects wear off.To learn how to adopt a high-energy diet to overcome fatigue, scroll down!
Beating Day-to-Day Fatigue
Get plenty of sleep.For the average preoccupied member of today's workforce, proper rest and relaxation often takes a backseat to the many duties and stresses of everyday life. If your routine keeps you from getting a good night's sleep, you're in good company: today, lack of proper sleep is recognized as a problem affecting many millions of people in the developed world.When it comes to curing fatigue, there's no substitute for consistently getting a good night's sleep, so if you don't know the cause of your fatigue, start here.
- Though everyone's sleep needs are different, most reputable sources agree that the majority of adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep each night.Children usually need several more hours of sleep than adults.
Exercise.The health benefits of a regular exercise routine are many: not only can exercise make you better-looking, better-feeling, and healthier, but also improve your overall energy levels and make it easier to sleep at night. Research has shown that even minor increases in the amount of exercise a person participates in can have a major effect on the level of fatigue she feels.The benefits of exercise are especially great for people with no established exercise routine, so if you're not physically active, try working out regularly to fight your feelings of fatigue.
- As with sleep, the amount of exercise that different people need can vary based on their age, sex, size, and fitness level.Most reputable sources will recommend about two to two and a half hours of moderate aerobic exercise in addition to strength-training exercise on two days of the week for adults.However, if you're starting from a base level of no exercise, it may be necessary to gradually work up to this goal.
- You can also take walks.
Eat right.The way a person eats can have a serious effect on the amount of energy he has throughout the day. In general, eating a moderate diet rich in healthy carbohydrates and lean proteins will give a person lasting energy throughout the day. On the other hand, eating improperly (for instance, by indulging in rich, fatty foods, overloading on a single giant meal each day, or neglecting important nutrients) can leave you feeling bloated or sapped of energy. Remember, you are what you eat, so eat a healthy, balanced diet to feel healthy, balanced, and free from fatigue.
- For more information on starting a healthy high-energy diet, see the corresponding section below.
Maintain a healthy weight.In general, people who have healthy weights for their frame and body size have more energy throughout the day than people who do not. In developed countries, obesity is a widespread health disorder that can seriously decrease an otherwise healthy person's level of energy throughout the day.However, the fatiguing effects of beingunderweight can be equally serious.Though everyone's "ideal' weight will be different, most adults should aim for a body mass index (BMI) of roughly 18.5-25.Try using an online BMI calculator to find your BMI score.
- Note that BMI scores aren't a perfect way to judge whether you have a healthy weight. For instance, if you're an athlete with a lot of muscle or were born with dwarfism, your BMI may be outside of the recommended range but you may not be at risk for any health problems.
- If you're overweight, aim to lose weight at a healthy pace by gradually reducing the number of calories you eat each day and increasing your level of exercise.Don'tattempt rapid weight loss with a crash diet. Depending on your size, eating less than 1,200 calories a day can be very stressful, energetically inefficient, and even unsafe. On top of this, it will leave you with almost no energy throughout your day, making your fatigue even worse!
- For more information, see How to Lose Weight.
Keep your stress levels low.A looming deadline at work, an argument at home, a check that unexpectedly bounces — these sources of short-term stress can lead to a variety of long-term problems, including fatigue, if they're allowed to build up. Serious stress can be quite taxing for the body, leading to physical and emotional exhaustion that can deplete your daily energy and leave you feeling completely overwhelmed.In addition, stress is a frequent contributor to many other problems, including headache, anxiety, eating disorders, and more.
- Unfortunately, stress is something that almost everyone has to deal with. On the other hand, because stress is such a common complaint, there are a wide variety of resources available for those attempting to deal with stress. For instance, many online guides (of varying quality) for managing stress can be found with a simple search engine query like "dealing with stress." For the best stress-fighting advice, however, talk to your doctor.
- Common stress-reduction techniques include meditation, breathing exercises, designated "down-time", physical exercise, and controlled "venting".
Practice inner-body meditation.Attention or awareness is energy and when you give attention to something, you are giving it energy. So if you focus your attention of tired cells with in your body you give them energy.
- Try this especially when you are tired or fatigued. Focus your attention in body where you feel fatigue. It could be face, legs, shoulders, eyes etc. Hold your attention there and you should witness that cells in your body regain energy and vibrate with joy. Subsequently feel the whole body as one, from the inside. You don't have to believe it. Just try it out.
Use stimulants sparingly.For these days when you just can't seem to get going, common stimulants like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sudafed can give you the quick "jolt" of energy you need in the short term. However, these quick fixes are bad ideas for increasing your energy in the long term, as they can eventually lead to low-energy periods (or "crashes") when their stimulating effect wears off. Worse, if you develop a habit to these substances, their effectiveness will decrease. In extreme cases, you may eventually need to take them just to achieve a "normal" level of energy. For these reasons, you'll want to avoid relying to heavily on these energy boosters. Instead, try to adopt the healthy lifestyle changes described above.
- Never turn to illegal drugs to give you the energy you need to get through your day. Besides the widely-publicized health risks of many of the most popular illegal stimulants (like cocaine, amphetamines, etc.), a stimulant addiction can be a serious drain on your wallet. For instance, country singer Waylon Jennings purportedly spent over ,000 per day on cocaine during the height of his addiction.
Method 1 Quiz
What’s the most important reason to avoid using stimulants daily?
Eating a High-Energy Diet
Eat a healthy mix of carbohydrates.In recent years, carbs have gotten a bad rap — in fact, they're one of the cornerstones of a healthy diet that gives you energy throughout the day. Being choosy about which types of carbs you eat and choosing reasonable, moderate portion sizes is important for getting the biggest nutritional (and energetic) benefit from your carbs possible. In general, you'll want to eat mostly complex carbohydrates, like those found in whole grains, as the body breaks these down slowly, providing long-lasting energy. However, eating some simple carbs, like those in fruit and honey, can give you instant post-meal energy.
- Healthy complex carbohydrates include whole grain products (whole grain bread, cereal, etc.), oatmeal, quinoa, buckwheat, brown or wild rice,
- Healthy simple carbohydrates include most fruits, honey, non whole-grain products (white bread, etc.) and white rice.
Eat lean protein for long-term satisfaction.Often, the distracting feeling of being unsatisfied or "not full" a few hours after a meal can go hand-in-hand with feeling fatigued. To help stay full throughout the day, try adding protein to your diet. Compared to other types of food, good protein sources leave you feeling fuller for longer, which, in addition to fighting fatigue, can also help with maintaining a healthy weight. However, since some sources of protein can be rich in unhealthy fats and calories, it's important to distinguish between lean, healthy proteins, which you should eat frequently, and unhealthier varieties, which are best enjoyed infrequently.
- Lean sources of protein include chicken breasts, egg whites, most varieties of fish, beans, soy products, and some leaner cuts of beef and pork.
Don't forget breakfast!We've all heard the old cliché before — breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In fact, when it comes to fighting fatigue, there's lots of truth to this advice. In addition to contributing to healthy growth and making it easier to maintain a normal weight level, breakfast is vital for giving us the energy we need to succeed throughout the day.People who skip breakfast have less energy in the morning (and, if they normally eat complex carbohydrates for their first meal, throughout the day). In addition, people who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat later in the day, which can lead to a bloated, lethargic feeling.
- Ideally, breakfast should include some simple carbohydrates for instant energy, some complex carbohydrates for day-long fuel, and a little protein for satisfying fullness. Here's a great sample breakfast idea to get you started: One cup Skim milk (10 g protein) Two ounces Canadian bacon (12 g protein) Whole-wheat bagel w/ light spread (52 g complex carbs) Banana (27 g simple carbs)
Space your meals throughout the day.When it comes to reducing your fatigue through diet, it's not all aboutwhatyou eat. It's also aboutwhenyou eat. Some studies have shown that splitting your daily food intake over five (or more) smaller meals per day makes it easier to maintain feelings of fullness and high levels of energy throughout the day (though some of the other supposed benefits of this style of diet have recently become the subject of debate).Conversely, eating just a few large meals per day can leave people feeling fatigued when it's been a long time since their last meal.
- Note, however, that if you plan to split your daily food intake into a greater number of meals, it's important not to increase your overall calorie intake (unless you're trying to gain weight). Your weight is ultimately determined by the absolute number of calories you eat per day, not the number of meals you eat.
Don't overload on food.While healthy, nutritious food can be the fuel that gives you the energy that you need to get through the day, too much food can be a bad thing. Over-eating (even if your food is very nutritious) can lead to feelings of uncomfortable fullness, bloating, and fatigue. In addition, consistently over-eating can cause weight gain, which can lead to long-term feeling of fatigue and sluggishness. No matter what's in your diet, it's important to keep your daily intake under control to maintain optimal health and energy.
- You'll especially want to avoid frequently indulging in foods that are rich in fat and/or sugar. These foods can be satisfying to eat, but they're usually sources of "empty calories" — in other words, they're calorie-rich but have no other nutritious benefit. Additionally, consuming these types of foods too heavily can lead to serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease.
Hydrate!Dehydration has long been cited as a cause of a variety of health problems, including fatigue.Though the seriousness of mild dehydration and the exact amount of water a person needs throughout the day are the subjects of continuing debate, moderate to serious dehydration is known for sure to sap a person's energy and cause fatigue. If you've been active throughout the day or have been exercising and are beginning to feel fatigued, try drinking a glass of water for a refreshing boost.
- Pure water is best for curing dehydration (though certain sports drinks containing electrolytes can also be great for prolonged, intense exercise). Don't consume drinks containing alcohol or caffeine — these chemicals can contribute to dehydration (though not as much as is sometimes reported),decreasing the drink's benefit.
Try a dietary supplement.Today, a huge assortment of dietary supplements are available both online and through traditional retailers that allege to help fight fatigue. Though some supporters of these supplements testify to these supplements' benefits, most have not been proven to be effective in a clinical setting. In addition, these sorts of supplements aren't subject to the same sorts of oversight and regulation that ordinary foods and drugs are, which means that, for many dietary supplements, there is little in terms of quality control. If you'd like to take a dietary supplement for your fatigue, talk to your doctor first — he may be able to recommend an alternative or help you judge the possible risks and rewards of your chosen supplement. Just a few supplements that can (allegedly) lower fatigue are:
- Black currant
- Fish oil
- Evening primrose oil
- Folic acid
Method 2 Quiz
Why should you mainly eat complex carbohydrates to overcome fatigue?
Diagnosing Fatigue-Causing Disorders
Know the signs of sleep apnea.Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder which can usually be cured but can cause serious health problems if left untreated. In a person suffering from sleep apnea, the throat doesn't maintain its proper shape during sleep, leading to periods of sleep where breathing becomes difficult or even stops entirely. This keeps the body from getting as much oxygen as it needs, leading to interrupted sleep, stress, and extreme drowsiness during the day. If you think you have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor right away to start a treatment plan.
- Some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea are very loud snoring, difficulty breathing during sleep, morning headaches, insomnia, dry throat, and drowsiness during the day.
- One of the most common causes of sleep apnea is being overweight or obese, though even thin people can suffer from the disorder.If you are overweight and suffer from sleep apnea, your doctor will probably recommend beginning a weight-loss regimen.
Know the signs of diabetes.Diabetes, a disease which in recent years has become a serious health problem for millions of people in the developed world, can cause fatigue (especially after meals).In fact, some people first discover they are diabetic when they go to the doctor for unexplained fatigue. Diabetes affects a person's ability to regulate her blood sugar levels — fatigue results when a person's blood sugar levels become too low or too high. If you exhibit any of the symptoms of diabetes below, contact your doctor right away — left untreated, diabetes can develop into a very serious condition.
- Some of the most common symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination, frequent thirst, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, tingling in the hands or feet, and sweet-tasting urine.
Know the signs of anemia.Anemia is a disorder of the red blood cells which can cause fatigue and other serious symptoms. In cases of anemia, the body doesn't have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body effectively (or the red blood cells is does have don't function properly), keeping the body from getting the energy it needs. If you exhibit some or all of the symptoms below, talk to your doctor immediately. Though anemia can usually be treated, drastic treatments may be needed if it is not dealt with in a timely fashion.
- Some of the most common symptoms of anemia are fatigue, dizziness, headaches, coldness in the hands and feet, pale skin, and chest pain. In addition, anemia is often accompanied by iron deficiency, which can cause swelling of the tongue, brittle nails, sores in the mouth, and frequent infections.
Know the signs of depression.Not all of the serious medical causes of fatigue are physical disorders. In fact, some mental and emotional disorders, including depression, can cause fatigue. It is also thought that depression canbe causedby fatigue, which can lead to a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle in people suffering from depression.If you suffer from constant fatigue and have frequent negative thoughts or any of the other symptoms listed below, visit your doctor and be sure to mention your depression symptoms. Depression is a serious medical condition (not a personal weakness) and itcanbe treated.
- The symptoms of depression include irritability, feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, eating disorders, fatigue, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, persistent sadness, and non-specific pains.
- If you're exhibiting symptoms of depression and are having serious thoughts of self-harm or suicide, don't wait for your doctor's appointment — call a crisis hotline (like 1-800-273-TALK (8255)) immediately. These lines are open 24/7 and offer counseling, guidance, and reassurance in times of intense personal pain.
Know the types of medications that can cause fatigue.Every medication, from the most benign cold pills to the most serious chemotherapy drugs, can have unintended side effects. Fatigue is a common side effect of many medications — so many, in fact, that it's impossible to list them all here individually. If you've recently been prescribed a new medicine and you've begun experiencing fatigue, talk to your doctor. She may be able to adjust your dosage or find you a new medication with less severe side effects.
- Some common medicines which can cause fatigue are anti-anxiety medications, high blood pressure medications, painkillers, antidepressants, and cholesterol medications containing the substance statin.
Consult a doctor immediately for more serious causes of fatigue.The vast majority of fatigue cases have causes that can be solved with simple lifestyle changes or basic medical treatments. However, in rare cases, fatigue can be a symptom of serious or life-threatening conditions which can require immediate medical attention. In cases where your fatigue has no apparent cause and is accompanied by other symptoms (especially fever or unexplained weight loss), you should contact your doctor immediately. If severe fatigue occurs suddenly and is accompanied by other serious symptoms (like confusion, blurred vision, or swelling and an inability to urinate), as this may be a time-sensitive condition like stroke or heart failure.Some (rare) disorders which can have fatigue as a symptom are:
- Heart failure
- Kidney/Liver disease
Method 3 Quiz
Which of the following is true of anemia?
QuestionMy dad works a high-stress job, has stomach issues, he often works until 3-5 am, and he is always tired. I want to help him. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMake sure he's comfortable at home (clean bed, quiet house, meals and snacks pre-made) and make sure he gets at least 7 hours of sleep.Thanks!
QuestionI don't drink much water but am constantly urinating and always feel tired. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSee a doctor for testing and advice.Thanks!
QuestionWhen drinking more water, I need to urinate more frequently. Any solution?Community AnswerThat's natural. You can hold it longer each day, and over time, be able to hold it for longer. Be careful while doing this, as it can cause health issues.Thanks!
QuestionI often suffer from fatigue, but I get plenty of sleep. What should I do?Community AnswerIn the short-term, try splashing your eyes with cold water whenever you feel fatigued. In the long-term, a diet change and exercise plan will abet you. Also, you might very well be getting plenty of sleep, but what is its quality? If you drink alcohol, for instance, the amount of REM-sleep you get is diminished and your overall sleep quality can be disrupted, even if you think you've slept like a log. Other factors can cause this, too. If the problem persists, speak to a doctor and request some blood tests for potential anemia, ensuring to highlight the problems it causes your day-to-day life (such as a lack of concentration).Thanks!
- If making lifestyle changes, such as sleeping and eating better, does not work, see a doctor and tell him or her that you have trouble with fatigue. Various medical conditions can cause fatigue and tiredness, too.
Sources and Citations
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