Myth: Only Old People Fall Asleep At The Wheel
More than half of fatigue-related crashes are caused by drivers younger than 25. Others who are at the highest risk: men, people with sleeping disorders, adults with children, commercial drivers, drivers with jet lag, and shift workers. Working the night shift increases your risk by nearly six times. Rotating shifts that disrupt your sleep cycle and working more than 60 hours a week can also set you up for fatigued driving.
Fact: A Short Nap Is The Best Solution
According to the National Sleep Foundation, pulling over for a short nap is the most effective way to restore alertness on the road. Park in a safe, well-lit area. Set your watch or phone to wake you up in 15. Then let yourself really wake up before you get back on the road. Longer naps can increase grogginess and disorientation. If you plan to nap longer than half an hour, it may be best to stop for the night.
Myth: Better Drowsy Than Drunk
Most people are aware of the dangers of driving drunk, but they may not take sleepiness seriously. Thatâs a mistake. Researchers have found that going 18 to 24 hours without sleep is a risk similar to being legally drunk, when it comes to driver impairment. Like alcohol, sleepiness and fatigue lead to poor judgment and reaction time, not to mention the risk of dozing off.
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Fatigue Cause No : Anemia
Anemia is one of the leading causes of fatigue in women. Menstrual blood loss can cause an iron deficiency, putting women at risk. Red blood cells are needed because they carry oxygen to your tissues and organs.
Fix: For anemia caused by an iron deficiency, taking iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods, such as lean meat, liver, shellfish, beans, and enriched cereal, can help.
Sleep Apnea And Snoring
âSnoring, the most common sign of obstructive sleep apnea , is reported in up to 94% of patients with OSA,â Aniko Dunn, PsyD, a psychologist at EZCare Clinic in San Francisco, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Snoring is when you make hoarse or sharp breathing sounds while sleeping. It happens when the air youâre inhaling causes the tissues in the back of your throat to vibrate. Almost everyone snores occasionally, and in some cases, it can be related to OSA.
âSnoring and obstructive sleep apnea are related in that they both occur when the airway at the back of the throat collapses during sleep,â Adam Sorscher, MD, sleep health director at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in Lebanon, N.H., tells WebMD Connect to Care.
âIf the airway collapses a little but a person is still able to breathe effectively, then we call it snoring. If the airway collapses entirely or almost entirely such that a person could not draw sufficient oxygen and blow off carbon dioxide, we call that an apneic event,â Sorscher explains.
According to Mayo Clinic, although snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea, some snoring is unrelated to sleep apnea. However, if you snore and you also have any of the following symptoms, it may indicate sleep apnea:
- Noticeable breathing pauses during sleep
- Gasping or choking sounds at night
- Daytime drowsiness or lethargy
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Is It Possible That I Have Pots And Was Incorrectly Diagnosed
This is entirely possible. Given how common POTS symptoms are and how unfamiliar many doctors are with this condition, diagnostic mishaps happen. POTS is frequently misidentified as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, anxiety disorder, ADHD, irritable bowel syndrome, myositis, etc. It is also possible that you have both POTS and one of these conditions, which may complicate the diagnosis. Sometimes people with POTS are told that its all in your head, implying that the cause of their symptoms is psychological. If you feel like something is physically wrong, dont hesitate to seek a second, and even a third or fourth opinion.
COVID-19 and POTS: Is There a Link?
Although many people recover quickly from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, others who recover may continue to experience symptoms for months. Researchers are still determining the cause of these extended symptoms, but some COVID-19 “long-haulers” may actually be dealing with POTS.
There Will Be No Real Return To Normal
It isnt as if all of our daily pandemic stressors will suddenly be gone just because restrictions are lifted. Some of us will continue to work from home or in a hybrid model, by choice or per company policy. We may continue to struggle with our daily structure and getting ourselves up and dressed for the workday. Its also hard to feel connected to people over a screen, so working remotely can feel lonely. Im still mostly using telehealth to connect with my patients, and theres something extra challenging about trying to empathize with people remotely.
Others of us may be returning to an in-person workplace thats changed. We may have new environments and protocols to adjust to, putting stress on our already taxed brains. Interacting with other people, including coworkers, requires more energy too. We arent used to small talk or regular dinners with friends, so it takes a lot out of us to be social again. This is true even for an extrovert like me, who can typically do multiple social things in a week without feeling drained. Truthfully, I can barely handle one now. Simply put, for most of us, going to work wont be the same as it was pre-2020. And the anticipation of what it may or may not be like can create anxiety, which in turn, yep, causes more fatigue.
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Watching Too Much Tv Before Bed
Rebecca Small, assistant medical director at Bupa says, Television, laptop and computer games can all stimulate the mind and therefore can prevent a good nights sleep. Reading, meditation and exercise such as yoga can have a relaxing affect, helping prepare your body for sleep.
Even having the light from street lamps come through your windows can disrupt your sleep, as the high-intensity LED light emits the same blue light as a screen, although its a smaller quantity. The American Medical Association have even issued a warning about street lights.
The blue light emitted from phones, laptops and TVs can delay the release of sleep-inducing melatonin by up to three hours, says Dr Vishal Shah, medical director at Thriva.
To avoid this blue light from screens, try limiting your TV watching and texting to an hour a night, and dont let it be the last thing you do before you go to bed and dont use your bed for anything other than sleeping. Its not a good idea to watch TV in bed, or anything else like sorting out bills, make shopping lists or arguing. Let your body recognise that when you get into bed its time for sleep.
As for the street lights, make sure to use black-out curtains to ensure that no light creeps through!
Top 6 Most Common Causes Of Nausea And Fatigue
Nausea and fatigue are common problems, and they affect many women worldwide. These symptoms are typically harmless, and so are many of their causes. However, as nausea and fatigue are common symptoms of many ailments, they can also be indicative of serious underlying conditions, and they can also interrupt daily routine. Read on to discover some of the most common causes of nausea and fatigue.
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Fatigue Cause No 1: Shift Work Sleep Disorder
Working nights or rotating shifts can disrupt your internal clock. You may feel tired when you need to be awake. And you may have trouble sleeping during the day.
Fix: Limit your exposure to daylight when you need to rest. Make your room dark, quiet, and cool. Still having sleep issues? Talk with your doctor. Supplements and medications may help.
Smoking Or Drinking Alcohol Before Bed
We often feel sleepy after drinking a lot of alcohol, so youre fooled into thinking it aids sleep. But actually, our quality of sleep is affected after having a few drinks and youll feel tired the next day. Similarly, smoking last thing at night can mean your quality of sleep suffers even though you think youve had enough sleep. This is because like alcohol, nicotine is a stimulant.
Tom Hemelryk explains, Stimulants like alcohol, tobacco and heavy foods in the run up to bed will disrupt the chemical balance in your brain needed for restful sleep.
If you do smoke, try to have your last cigarette at least four hours before bedtime. Nicotine patches or chewing gum can also affect your sleep. Its also best to avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol close to bedtime if you are feeling tired or having sleep problems.
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What Is The Treatment For Tiredness
There is no specific treatment for tiredness. The days of doctors prescribing a “tonic” are over, as there is nothing which really works. The secret is to try to narrow down the cause and then do something about that.
If the cause is a medical condition then often treatment of the condition will resolve the tiredness. For example, if you have anaemia then iron supplements can treat this and the tiredness resolves as your blood count improves. It is thought that even supplementing low-range-of-normal iron levels helps with tiredness. If you are found to have an underactive thyroid gland then a pill which replaces the thyroid hormone you are missing is usually very effective and you will find you have more energy.
It may seem bizarre, but physical exercise can actually be remarkably effective for treating tiredness. Any moderate exercise, such as walking, swimming or cycling, can help you feel less tired. Regular exercise is also an excellent way to stay healthy.
Too Much Exercise During The Day
Its normal to feel tired after working out, but fatigue is something different. This escalated feeling of tiredness, that effects the mind and body, happens when you dont fully recover from the exercise. It normally leads to people feeling drained and exhausted, especially during or immediately after exercise.
Doing too much exercise is a natural contributor to this feeling. Try to cut back on the hours spent in the gym or in the swimming pool, make sure youre fully hydrating after working out and restoring essential electrolytes, and be sure to get a good nights sleep after intense physical exercise.
Additionally, fatigue and exhaustion can occur when you dont fuel up before exercise. Without carbohydrates to feed off of during exercise, your body has to use its reserves of protein, fat and carbohydrates for energy which can lead to you feeling tired.
However, exercise is still important for your general wellbeing. Fresh air and brisk walks are effective ways to boost your energy, as they get the heart pumping and increase your blood flow, says GP Dr Roger Henderson. So instead, opt for work outs three to five times a week and be sure to schedule in proper rest days.
Get Moving Early In The Day
Regular exercise and moving your body are essential for healthy energy levels and overall well-being. Movement increases blood flow and circulation. It reduces your stress levels, lowers mental fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Regular exercise also helps your sleep cycle allowing you to feel energized during the day and get rest at night.
Make sure to exercise four to five days a week 20 to 30 minutes a day. Try to stay active and move your body regularly every day. If you have morning fatigue, I recommend that you get moving early in the day. If you dont have time for a full workout, make sure to stretch, do some rebounding on a trampoline, or go for a short morning walk.
Fatigue Causes: #5sedentary Lifestyle And Deconditioning
Being highly sedentary increases the risk of chronic fatigue. Not getting enough exercise and physical activity causes deconditioning of the bodys musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems and depresses mood, all of which lead to fatigue. Studies show that the more regular physical activity you get, the more likely you are to feel energetic.
Exercise has been shown to help reverse fatigue associated with all kinds of medical conditions, from cancer to autoimmune diseases to depression.
To overcome fatigue, break the cycle of a sedentary lifestyle and start a regular exercise program
So if youre feeling sleepy all the time, which of the above fatigue causes might apply to you? You may need to engage the services of a qualified integrative physician to help you sort through the various fatigue causes, run the necessary tests, and develop a strategy that deals with the root cause of your persistent tiredness. Understanding the root causes, as we hear so often, is the first step to recovery.
Originally published in 2012, this post is regularly updated.
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Wrong Foods At The Wrong Time
Now we are moving out of the health and nutrition causes for womens low energy, and were moving into some lifestyle elements. First up, food!
Women lead busy lives. Sometimes one of the first things a woman will let go of is eating a meal. When youre rushing to get out the door on time, breakfast may be the last thing on your mind. Or if youre trying to finish a deadline, you may forego the actual lunch part of lunch hour.
Thats all a big mistake for your energy levels.
What times are you feeling the most sluggish throughout the day? 2 or 3? Youre probably either skipping lunch or youre not choosing filling protein-rich or fiber-rich items. Does late morning force you to have a third cup of coffee ? Then youre probably not getting enough at breakfast.
The goal is to eat regularly and to choose foods that will sustain your energy instead of giving you a sugar crash.
That bowl of cereal may taste delicious at 7am, but how does it make you feel at 10:30am? Probably starving and mentally crashed.
How to Fix It: Eat! Take some extra time to plan out your breakfasts and lunches before the week begins, so busyness doesnt take over. Then choose foods with lots of protein, fiber, and healthy fat for breakfast and lunch. Here are some of my favorite breakfast ideas:
- Berry, spinach, and protein powder smoothie
- Avocado toast with a handful of nuts
- Veggie omelet
- Quinoa salad with a zesty chicken breast
- Black bean burger and side salad
- Dinner leftovers
How Does Chronic Fatigue Impact A Persons Life
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS is severe fatigue that lasts for six months or more. Even during resting periods, it may not treat a person diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Hence, this complex medical illness often relies on treating the symptoms rather than the disease itself. This disorder is also called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS, which may disable a person altogether. There are significant consequences of overlooking the symptoms of chronic fatigue. Mostly, there are times when fatigue may look like daytime tiredness or sleepiness. Yet, the first sign of continuous pain and lethargy needs a general physician for further examination and diagnosis.
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Not Eating Enough Calories
Consuming too few calories can cause feelings of exhaustion.
Calories are units of energy found in food. Your body uses them to move and fuel processes like breathing and maintaining a constant body temperature.
When you eat too few calories, your metabolism slows down in order to conserve energy, potentially causing fatigue.
Your body can function within a range of calories depending on your weight, height, age and other factors.
However, most people require a minimum of 1,200 calories per day to prevent a metabolic slowdown.
Experts on aging believe that although metabolism decreases with age, older people may need to eat at the top of their calorie range in order to perform normal functions without becoming fatigued .
In addition, its difficult to meet your vitamin and mineral needs when calorie intake is too low. Not getting enough vitamin D, iron and other important nutrients can also lead to fatigue.
Your body requires a minimum number of calories in order to perform daily functions. Consuming too few calories can lead to fatigue and make it difficult to meet nutrient needs.
Sleeping At The Wrong Time
In addition to inadequate sleep, sleeping at the wrong time can reduce your energy.
Sleeping during the day instead of at night disrupts your bodys circadian rhythm, which are the biological changes that occur in response to light and darkness during a 24-hour cycle.
Research has found that when your sleep pattern is out of sync with your circadian rhythm, chronic fatigue may develop .
This is a common problem among people who perform shift or night work.
Sleep experts estimate that 25% of all shift workers suffer from a sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness or disrupted sleep over a period of one month or more .
Whats more, even staying awake during the night for a day or two can cause fatigue.
In one study, healthy young men were allowed to sleep either seven hours or just under five hours before being kept awake for 2123 hours. Their fatigue ratings increased before and after sleep, regardless of the number of hours they slept .
Its best to sleep during the night whenever possible.
However, if your job involves shift work, there are strategies to retrain your body clock, which should improve your energy levels.
In one study, shift workers reported significantly less fatigue and better mood after being exposed to bright light pulses, wearing dark sunglasses outside and sleeping in total darkness (
Using glasses to block blue light may also help people who perform shift work.
Inadequate protein intake could be contributing to your fatigue.
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