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Fatigue: When Feeling Tired Isn't Just a Lack of Sleep


diseases conditions and symptoms

Feeling tired is a common experience that most of us have had at some point. Whether it's due to a late night, a busy schedule, or just not getting enough sleep, it's easy to assume that feeling tired is simply a matter of not getting enough rest. However, what happens when feeling tired persists even after getting adequate sleep? This is where fatigue comes into play.

What is fatigue?

Fatigue is a feeling of extreme tiredness that can't be explained by lack of sleep or rest. It can be physical or mental and can range from a mild feeling of weariness to a complete lack of energy. Acute fatigue is a normal response to physical or mental exertion and usually goes away with rest. Chronic fatigue, on the other hand, is persistent and can last for months or even years.

Causes of fatigue

Fatigue can be caused by a variety of factors, including medical conditions, lifestyle factors, and medications. Here are some of the most common causes of fatigue:

Medical condition:


Anemia is a condition in which the body doesn't have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to tissues throughout the body. This can lead to fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath.

Thyroid problems

The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism. If the thyroid gland isn't functioning properly, it can lead to fatigue, weight gain, and other symptoms.

Chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that doesn't improve with rest. Other symptoms may include muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, and memory problems.


 Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas.

Sleep disorders

Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome can all contribute to fatigue.

Lifestyle factors:

  • Poor diet: A diet lacking in essential nutrients, high in processed foods, or low in calories can lead to fatigue.
  • Lack of exercise: Regular exercise can help improve energy levels and reduce fatigue.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can lead to fatigue, as well as a host of other health problems.
Photo by Karolina Bobek on Unsplash

Photo by Karolina Bobek on Unsplash

Medications that can cause fatigue:

  1. Antihistamines - diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine
  2. Antidepressants - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine, sertraline; tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline
  3. Antipsychotics - risperidone, quetiapine
  4. Benzodiazepines - diazepam, alprazolam
  5. Opioids - morphine, oxycodone
  6. Antihypertensives - beta blockers such as propranolol, metoprolol; calcium channel blockers such as amlodipine, diltiazem
  7. Muscle relaxants - cyclobenzaprine, baclofen
  8. Anticonvulsants - gabapentin, pregabalin
  9. Statins - atorvastatin, simvastatin
  10. Chemotherapy drugs - doxorubicin, cisplatin

Allergies that can cause fatigue:

  1. Pollen allergy - allergic rhinitis, hay fever
  2. Dust mite allergy
  3. Pet allergies - cat or dog dander
  4. Mold allergy
  5. Insect sting allergies - bee or wasp stings
  6. Food allergies - can cause fatigue indirectly due to poor sleep, gastrointestinal symptoms, and inflammation

Foods that can cause fatigue:

  1. Foods high in sugar - candy, pastries, soft drinks
  2. Foods high in refined carbohydrates - white bread, pasta, rice
  3. Foods high in unhealthy fats - fried foods, fast food, processed snacks
  4. Caffeine - excessive intake can lead to energy crashes and
  5. dependenceAlcohol
  6. - disrupts sleep and can lead to dehydration
  7. Large, heavy meals - the body requires more energy for digestion, leading to temporary fatigue

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and individual reactions to medications, allergies, and foods may vary. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

How to address fatigue

If you're experiencing fatigue, there are steps you can take to address it. Getting enough sleep is crucial, so make sure you're getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Improving your diet and exercise habits can also help. Eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise can help boost energy levels and improve overall health.

Stress management is also important. Finding healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, can help reduce fatigue. Additionally, it's important to seek medical attention if fatigue persists. Your doctor can help identify potential underlying medical conditions and recommend appropriate treatment.

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Herbal and natural remedies

While there are some herbal and natural remedies that may help alleviate fatigue, it's important to note that these should be used in conjunction with addressing any underlying medical conditions and following a healthy lifestyle. Some remedies that may help include:


This herb has been used for centuries to improve energy levels and reduce fatigue.


This adaptogenic herb is known for its ability to help the body cope with stress and improve energy levels.

Magnesium supplements

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps regulate energy metabolism and reduce fatigue.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new supplements or remedies.

  1. What is fatigue?

    • Causes of fatigue

      • Medical condition:
        • Anemia
        • Thyroid problems
        • Chronic fatigue syndrome
        • Fibromyalgia
        • Sleep disorders

      • Lifestyle factors:

        • Medications that can cause fatigue:

          • Allergies that can cause fatigue:

            • Foods that can cause fatigue:

              • How to address fatigue

                • Herbal and natural remedies
                  • Ginseng
                  • Ashwagandha
                  • Magnesium supplements


                Feeling tired is a normal part of life, but if you're experiencing persistent fatigue, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. By taking steps to address fatigue, such as getting enough sleep, improving diet and exercise habits, and managing stress, you can help improve your energy levels and overall health. Remember to seek medical attention if fatigue persists and consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new supplements or remedies.


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