By Ronayne Herbert, RNP

 

Do you fight to keep your eyes open? If so, you can’t always blame it on not getting enough sleep—even though lack of sleep is a very common reason why you may need an extra shot of expresso some mornings.

 

Sometimes the cause of your fatigue may not be so obvious. In fact, anything from a hidden health issue to your eating habits could be to blame. The good news is that the cause of your fatigue is a puzzle that you can solve, if you keep a few things in mind. Let’s run through this simple checklist and try to figure out what is causing your fatigue.

 

1. Do you get enough uninterrupted sleep each night?

2. Have you ever been told you snore?

3. Is your diet high in carbohydrates or caffeine?

4. Has your doctor ever told you have anemia, hypothyroidism, diabetes or heart disease?

 

For people who don’t get enough sleep, the recommendation is 7-8 hours per night. Otherwise you will certainly be fatigued during the day. It is important to develop good sleep habits such as going to bed around the same time each night and sleeping in a quiet and darkened room.

 

If you snore and find yourself falling asleep during the day or just sitting around, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition which robs you of restorative sleep. If you are overweight, or a back sleeper, you may be more at risk for this condition. Ask your doctor for more information, if you think it affects you.

 

Also, diets high in carbohydrates and caffeine affect blood sugar and the nervous system, causing fatigue when the blood sugar falls or insomnia if you have too much caffeine in your system.

 

Medical conditions such as iron deficiency anemia, hypothyroidism, depression, diabetes and heart disease can all cause fatigue for various reasons and should be followed up by a doctor or nurse practitioner.