Many people are tired throughout the day and can’t seem to pinpoint why. Tiredness is a big problem affecting close to 20% of adults every day and leading to car accidents, poor work performance and relationship strife. Here are 5 reasons to explain why you may feel daytime fatigue:

1. Not Enough Sleep – We need at least 7 hours of sleep a night to be well rested. Many people do not get enough sleep because they stay up too late or have poor sleep hygiene habits like watching TV in bed. If you have a serious problem falling asleep or staying asleep then you should check with your doctor to make sure you don’t have a medical problem like insomnia or interrupted sleep from sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. One in three Americans do not get 7 hours of sleep a night.

2. A Poor Diet – Eating a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein will increase your energy levels. Staying away from processed, sugary foods will eliminate the sugar highs and lows. It’s also important to eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day so your body has fuel to function properly. And don’t forget to hydrate – your heart works harder to pump blood when you’re dehydrated.
3. Excessive Stress – Prolonged and excessive stress causes physical and emotional exhaustion. It also causes conditions like migraine headaches, bowel upset and back pain. Do your best to identify chronic stressors that you can fix. Stay away from people that stress you out. Get up from your desk and walk around during the work day. Try to look at the bigger picture, accept what can’t be changed and learn to communicate your concerns to others.

4. A Sedentary Lifestyle – Getting off the sofa and being active will energize you. Regular exercise has been proven to improve energy levels and people who do something active every day feel better. In the time you spend watching one movie (2 ½ hours), you can instead use that time spread throughout the week in 30-minute intervals to do some muscle strengthening and cardio exercises. Spring is coming, so turn off your computer and TV – go for a walk, a run or enjoy a yoga class.
5. Medical Problems – There are so many medical conditions that can cause fatigue when not properly treated – diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disorders, a low blood count (anemia), depression, anxiety, vitamin deficiencies and infections – these are just some problems that can cause daytime fatigue if they are not controlled. If you have any of these conditions then make sure you are following your doctor’s advice so you feel good and not excessively tired which may be a sign your medical problem needs some extra care.

Investigate your daytime fatigue so you can make the most of your days whether you’re at work, home or on vacation. Chronic tiredness is not normal and impairs your daily life so if you’re feeling like you always need a nap, call your doctor to discuss. In my MDVIP practice, we have extended appointment times so my patients and I can investigate what’s going on in their lives and develop strategies to improve daytime fatigue. We also have an intensive program to identify those at risk for heart disease so patients can make appropriate lifestyle changes to reduce their risk for heart attacks. So spring forward this year without daytime fatigue.