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Chronic Fatigue and Tiredness – Causes and Problems

Why am I so tired?

Who doesn’t know it: chronic fatigue and the feeling of tiredness? Sometimes there are phases when I could go straight back to bed in the morning right after waking up. Since I don’t feel rested and fully recovered. Even if I actually should be recuperated according to the duration of sleep. That sounds suspicious, especially when you exercise enough, get enough fresh air, eat healthily, and get enough sleep. Sleep is essential to our bodies and sleep deprivation is a torture method that is still practiced. I have already told you here how important sleep is, especially in times of stress and also for our mood. Tiredness and the feeling of exhaustion can be the symptom of many causes, which I will show you here.

Tiredness can have many causes

The physical causes can include thyroid problems, anemia, diabetes, or sleep apnea syndrome. With the latter, breathing pauses during sleep, which reduces its quality. It is similar to snoring, which is strictly speaking a breathing disorder.

The psychological stress that makes us tired is even more common. According to studies, an average of 2/3 of all respondents usually cites emotional distress as the cause. These include, in particular, stress, anxiety disorders, the associated alcohol consumption, and depression. Above all, these have an influence on our ability to fall asleep, but also on our sleep quality. We roll over in bed, cannot fall asleep, and are also annoyed about this condition. This creates a vicious circle that it is difficult for us to break out of. Going to bed in the evening becomes a burden.

A visit to the doctor is advisable

If you feel tired, although you are actually getting enough sleep, I advise you to have your blood values ​​checked. If you can exclude psychological stress for yourself, the trigger for your tiredness can be of physical origin. In this case, your body is often busy with energy-consuming processes that simply exhaust you and make you tired. These can be inflammations in the body, cardiovascular diseases, thyroid malfunctions, an overloaded immune system due to infections, multiple sclerosis, nutrient deficiencies, liver dysfunction or even anemia.

Not drinking enough can also make us tired, as it makes our blood thicker and our heart has to pump harder. As a result, this exertion makes us tired again. There is also a recognized chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This is a neurological form of fatigue disease that is related to our nervous system – there is even an online test that you can participate in. You see: tiredness and exhaustion can have various physical causes. In addition, some medications can also make you tired as a side effect.

What can you do to fight tiredness?

In order to eliminate the physical reasons, you should seek medical advice. An extensive check of your blood and inflammation values ​​as well as your nutrients and minerals can often provide conclusions about possible causes. An honest look at your diet can also help. Food difficult to digest, heavily processed, high-sugar foods are a general burden on the body and our digestion. Combined with too little exercise and no valve to relieve stress can only backfire. Sport can work wonders and has numerous beneficial effects on our organism – I speak from my own experience! Personally, I can do sports right before bed and really power down after a cold shower. Others are pushed by exercises too hard before bed. Here you have to have your own individual experience. Also make sure you have a balanced, wholesome diet and adequate water intake.

It is also very helpful to avoid stress, which you can also avoid. It often has a liberating effect, giving things away and, above all, creating space for yourself, so-called “me-time”. Time in which you consciously do something good for yourself and which is only about you. Especially in our hectic everyday life and with the “fear of missing out”, we often forget the conscious time. It is precisely the most important balm for our soul.

The best way to fight fatigue and tiredness is to sleep ;)
The best way to fight fatigue and tiredness is to sleep 😉

Make sure to improve your sleep

Do you get enough sleep, i.e. between at least 6-8 hours? Do you wake up often at night? You struggle before you fall asleep? Personally, it helps a lot not to work on the laptop or to be on the smartphone before going to bed. Blue light as well as news and messages are too upsetting to me. They are likely to start a carousel of thoughts in which I get from the hundredth to the thousandth and cannot fall asleep. That is why I like to read a book or try to practice relaxation exercises as rituals before going to bed. For sudden trains of thought that arise, I have a small book easy to reach so that I can write them down and do not have to think about them further. In addition, I try not to drink too much late in the evening not to be woken up at night because of it. Also, having a watermelon before bed is certainly not the best idea. 😉

In addition, you should generally try to eliminate both noise and light pollution. Personally, I have trouble falling asleep with an alarm clock ticking. Even if I think that light doesn’t really bother me and that I “get along” with it, it is still counterproductive for a really restful sleep. More on this in my blog post on the subject of “sleep”.

The feeling of security and comfort helps when sleeping

For a really restful sleep, it is important to create a place where you feel comfortable and secure. Only then is your body able to really switch off. Personally, I especially notice this when traveling in a van. It feels very seldom that I fall into a really restful deep sleep and rather describe my sleep as a kind of “cat sleep” – I always sleep with one eye open in case something happens, someone unknown is at the car, etc. I can’t sleep “properly ”and I notice that especially when I have a “normal bed” again. Especially with my parents and close friends, I can sleep like a baby and wake up well rested in the morning.

Not only the feeling of security but also of comfort can make it easier for you to both fall asleep and sleep better. If we cuddle with our pet or partner before going to bed, our body releases the bonding hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin has an opiate effect and makes us feel safe and secure. Both make us fall asleep better and at the same time sleep is also more restful. In addition, sleeping next to a partner can act like a “therapy blanket” – more on this here. In one of the following blog posts, I will introduce you to foods that have been shown to improve sleep and thus also prevent tiredness. I will also introduce a few sleep methods that can make falling asleep and general sleeping easier and better.

What are your individual tips and tricks for falling asleep? Do you have rituals before going to bed? Do you belong more to the larks or night owls (like me)? I would be happy if you subscribe to my Facebook fan page. This is the easiest way to stay up to date. Of course, you are also welcome to share this post or other blog posts – sharing is caring! <3


Sources for this blogpost

Online-Test for CFS: https://solvecfs.org/do-i-have-mecfs-quiz/

Laethem, M. V. et al. 2017: Stress, fatigue, and sleep quality leading up to and following a stressful life event, in: Stress and Health, Vol. 33, 2017, No. 4, pp. 459-469.

Pichard, L. E. et al. 2019: Precision Medicine for Sleep Loss and Fatigue Management, in: Sleep Medicine Clinics, Vol. 14, 2019, No. 3, pp.399-406.

Sathyapalan, T. et al. 2010: High cocoa polyphenol rich chocolate may reduce the burden of the symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome, in: Nutrition Journal, Vol. 9, 2010, No. 55. 
http://www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/55

White, P. D. 2007: How common is chronic fatigue syndrome; how long is a piece of string?, in: Population Health Metrics, Vol. 5, 2007, No. 6.
https://pophealthmetrics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1478-7954-5-6

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