Tired all the time: Why do I have no energy?
September 23, 2022
What’s your gut reaction when your friends want to go out after work? Or when you realize it’s time to take your daughter to her soccer game? Or when you remember that spin class you signed up for?
If the words “I’m too tired” are the first things that pop into your head regardless of how much sleep you got the night before, it may be time to take a hard look at why you’re feeling tired all the time.
There are a variety of reasons why you may feel like you have no energy to do anything. Some of them may require a conversation with your doctor, but others can be tackled with some lifestyle changes. Let’s take a look at what causes low energy and see if any sound familiar to you.
An inconsistent sleep schedule may be one reason you feel tired all the time. Sleep is essential to your well-being, just like water, food, air and shelter. In their zeal to live life to its fullest, many people deprioritize getting enough rest, tossing out phrases like, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!”
But when you put off sleep on a regular basis, staying up super late several nights a week while still getting up and putting in a full day of work and/or child wrangling, your body is going to start letting you know that you need to slow down.
We all know we are tired after a long workout. But did you know that if you never workout, you’re also going to be tired? Research shows that leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to feeling tired during the day.
And for those who do exercise, if you’re not preparing your body for strenuous exercise through a nutritious diet, the right fuel before and after your workout, plenty of hydration and regular rests, you’re also going to be asking yourself: Why do I have no energy?
Your body needs fuel, and by fuel we mean healthy food filled with vitamins, minerals and nutrients, not fast food burgers, doughnuts from a coworker or can after can of your favorite soda. Junk food and processed foods that deliver large amounts of refined carbs, like the things in a typical workplace vending machine, can affect your blood glucose levels, causing spikes and crashes that leave you fighting to keep your eyes open in the middle of the day with no energy to do anything.
Alcohol is also not the best fuel for your body. It has little nutritional value. And while it may make you sleepy initially, it also can leave you wide awake in the middle of the night resulting in low energy the next day.
Of course that morning cup of coffee at home or triple pumpkin spice latte you grab on the way to work can give you a needed jolt of energy to kickstart your day, but the power of caffeine can have more than one effect.
If you have developed a caffeine habit and find yourself without your daily fix, you might start experiencing caffeine withdrawal, including headaches, decreased alertness and – you guessed it – feeling tired.
And if you have caffeine too late in the day, it can have an impact on your sleep later. Caffeine has a half-life of up to six hours, meaning that six hours after you’ve consumed it, half of the caffeine is still in your system, potentially disrupting your sleep and setting you up for a groggy morning. (Caffeine-free energy drinks are a great alternative for that afternoon pick-me-up!)
Any major changes in your life? New job? New baby? Sick family member? Global pandemic? All of the above? All those things can add major stress to your day leaving you mentally and physically exhausted. If that occasional stress builds up over time, it might lead to emotional exhaustion.
Have you read all of the above scenarios and still don’t have an answer to the question, “Why am I always tired and have no energy?” It may be time to talk to your doctor.
Fatigue or excessive tiredness can be a symptom in any number of medical conditions, including diabetes, thyroid issues, anemia, depression and sleep apnea. Being tired all the time is a common side effect of many medications, too.
Many of the causes of low energy can be addressed with some lifestyle changes. Are you one of those people who skimp on your nightly Z’s? Learn how to create a bedtime routine to set yourself up for healthy sleep.
Are you a couch potato? Time to get moving. And it’s OK to start small. Research shows that even low-intensity exercise reduces fatigue symptoms.
Addicted to junk food? Time to make some better nutrition choices and grab an apple instead of a candy bar or bag of chips. And make sure your meals are well rounded with plenty of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.
You can also consider upping your intake of vitamin B, which fights occasional fatigue by helping the body unlock energy from the food you eat. You can do that through a vitamin B supplement or through foods that are high in vitamin B.
Check out How to combat fatigue and get your energy back for additional tips. For a deeper examination of your overall lifestyle and habits, visit the Wellness Recommender to take an assessment and get personalized tips and recommendations tailored to your goals.
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