Definition - Nearly everyone is overtired or overworked from time to time. Such instances of temporary fatigue usually have an identifiable cause and a likely remedy.
Unrelenting exhaustion, on the other hand, lasts longer, is more profound and isn't relieved by rest. It's a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time and reduces your energy, motivation and concentration. Fatigue at this level impacts your emotional and psychological well-being, too.
Causes: Most of the time fatigue can be traced to one or more of your habits or routines, particularly lack of exercise. It's also commonly related to depression. On occasion, fatigue is a symptom of other underlying conditions that require medical treatment.
Taking an honest inventory of things that might be responsible for your fatigue is often the first step toward relief. Fatigue may be related to:
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Excess physical activity
- Jet lag
- Lack of physical activity
- Lack of sleep
- Medications, such as antihistamines, cough medicines
- Unhealthy eating habits
Reference: Mayo Clinic
- Walsh D, et al. Fatigue. In: Palliative Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 14, 2015.
- Ferri FF. Chronic fatigue syndrome. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Dec. 14, 2015.
- Ask Mayo Expert. Chronic fatigue. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
How to combat fatigue:
Here are some steps to combat this problem and get you back into the real world.
- Get moving- This means get the exercise bug in you. Although it may be difficult to get started but even if you walk for 15 to 20 minutes a day it is a good start. “Exercise has consistently been linked to improved vigor and overall quality of life,” says Kerry J. Stewart, professor of medicine and director of clinical and research exercise physiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “People who become active have a greater sense of self-confidence. But exercise also improves the working efficiency of yourheart, lungs, and muscles,” Stewart says. “That’s the equivalent of improving the fuel efficiency of a car. It gives you more energy for any kind of activity.”
Although almost any exercise is good, yoga may be especially effective for boosting energy. After six weeks of once-a-week yoga classes, volunteers in a British study reported improvements in clear-mindedness, energy, and confidence.
Drink plenty of water:
Dehydrationzaps energy and impairs physical performance. “Our research shows that dehydration makes it harder for athletes to complete a weight lifting workout,” says Dan Judelson, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University at Fullerton. "It’s reasonable to think that dehydration causes fatigue even for people who are just doing chores."
Dehydration has also been shown to decrease alertness and concentration.
How to know if you’re drinking enough water? “Urine should be pale yellow or straw colored,” Judelson says. “If it’s darker than that, you need to drink water.”
- Get to bed early.
When people enrolled in a 2004 Stanford University study were allowed to sleep as long as they wanted, they reported more vigor and less fatigue. Good sleep habits may also have important health benefits. Centenarians report better than average sleep.
If you do fall short on shut-eye, take a brief afternoon nap. Napping restores wakefulness and promotes performance and learning. A 10-minute nap is usually enough to boost energy. Don’t nap longer than 30 minutes, though, or you may have trouble sleeping that night. A nap followed by a cup of coffee may provide an even bigger energy boost, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
- Go fish.
Good for your heart, omega-3 oils may also boost alertness. According to a 2009 study by
Scientists at Italy’s University of Siena, volunteers who took a fish oil capsule for 21 days demonstrated faster mental reaction times. They also reported feeling more vigorous.
- Keep time with your body clock.
Some people get a burst of energy first thing in the morning. They're often called morning larks. Night owls are people who are at their best at the end of the day.
These individual differences in daily energy patterns are determined by brain structure and genetics, so they can be tough to change. Instead, become aware of your own circadian rhythms. Then schedule demanding activities when your energy levels are typically at their peak.
Markovit offers two products that can support in combating fatigue.