HomeHealthWellbeing

Why do I feel tired all the time? 6 Hidden causes of fatigue

Why do I feel tired all the time? 6 Hidden causes of fatigue

Feeling tired all the time could be a sign of an underlying health condition. If you still feel fatigued after sleeping well, these causes may surprise you

Iron deficiency

A lack of this important mineral can leave you devoid of energy. You might get other symptoms too, such as shortness of breath and palpitations.

Iron deficiency can be the result of bleeding in the stomach or intestines due to taking anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or aspirin, from piles or stomach ulcers. A blood test can reveal if iron deficiency anaemia is behind your fatigue.

Not treating it can put you more at risk of heart problems and infections.

Hypothyroidism

Exhaustion is the main symptom of an underactive thyroid gland. If a thyroid function test shows this to be your problem, you’ll need to take daily levothyroxine tablets to replace the hormone thyroxine that you’re missing.

Heart disease is a possible complication of untreated hypothyroidism.

 

Sleep apnoea

Man suffering from sleep apnoea in bedSleep apnoea can cause you to stop breathing temporarily in your sleep

If you’re getting lots of sleep but still feel wiped out next day, you could have sleep apnoea, a condition which causes you to stop breathing momentarily.

It can make you snore and gasp for breath, but you might be unaware you have it. A partner should be able to tell you and sometimes a sore throat in the morning is a tell-tale clue.

Sleep apnoea puts you at higher risk of heart attack, stroke and dementia, so it’s important to see your doctor if you suspect it.

Sleeping too much

It’s counterintuitive, but spending too long in bed can make you tired. In fact, any deviation from your usual sleep routine can affect you.

More than nine hours’ kip is too much, while fewer than six can also be harmful to health.

Find out what works best for you and stick to it. Also try to go to bed and get up at the same times every day.

Mental health

Stress, anxiety, depression and traumatic events like bereavement or a broken relationship can make people feel physically drained.

See your GP if the problem persists; medication and talking therapies can help.

Being over- or underweight

Your body has to work harder to carry out normal tasks if you’re overweight or obese. On the other hand, when you’re underweight, you might have poor muscle strength, which means you’ll tire much faster.

Long COVID

Woman suffering fatigue and chest paints from long covidAround two million people in the UK are thought to be suffering from long Covid, which can cause fatigue

If you’ve felt run down for a while after having a run-in with coronavirus, you might have long Covid. Speak to your GP about a possible referral to a post-Covid clinic.

Diabetes

Feeling very tired all the time is a symptom of diabetes. Being thirsty and peeing more frequently are other clues. Ask your GP to be tested.

Clocks going forward

That transition when the clocks go back in autumn and then leap forward in spring can throw our body clock out, making us feel jetlagged. Research has even shown an association between the change to summer time and heart attacks and increases in road accidents.

If you’re badly affected, consider building up to the change by going to bed an hour earlier for a few days before.

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter

*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...