Causes of Fatigue and How to Manage It

Introduction to Fatigue

Fatigue is the sensation of tiredness, weakness and lack of energy. It is different from drowsiness. Drowsiness is feeling of wanting to sleep, while fatigue is a lack of energy and motivation to do daily tasks. It can occur due to various factors such as any underlying health condition, poor sleep patterns, poor diet and lack of physical activities. 

Lack of sleep may be the major cause. However, it is not necessary that fewer sleeping hours are the only cause of fatigue. Furthermore, it has been observed that men and women differ in the way they describe fatigue. Men typically say they feel tired, whereas women say they feel depressed or anxious.

If you are taking proper nutrition, supplements, and sleep and are physically active but still experiencing fatigue, consult your doctor for the diagnosis. They can figure out the cause of fatigue and help you deal with it.

Types of Fatigue

Fatigue is of 3 main types:

  • Physiologic fatigue: It results from too much exercise, sleep issues, dietary choices, and sedentary lifestyle choices. 
  • Secondary fatigue: It occurs due to an underlying health condition and usually lasts between 1 and 6 months. It can be resolved by addressing the underlying condition.
  • Chronic fatigue: Chronic fatigue lasts for more than 6 months and doesn’t get better with rest or sleep. 

Causes of Fatigue 

Not getting enough sleep is one of the major reasons of fatigue. When you don’t get enough sleep, it becomes difficult for you to cope with the next day’s task. If sleeplessness is occurring in routine, it can negatively affect your concentration and health. You should try to achieve seven to nine hours of sleep every night. The other fatigue causes include:

  • Sleep disorders such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, or narcolepsy
  • Overexertion 
  • Unhealthy or poor diet
  • Deconditioning 
  • Viral illness
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lung disease 
  • Heart disease
  • Food allergies
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia
  • Chronic pain
  • Medications 
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Too much caffeine 
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Alcohol and drug abuse

Symptoms of Fatigue  

Lack of energy, tiredness all the time, muscle weakness, feeling nervous, anxious and irritable, fast heartbeats, thirsty, shortness of breath and pale skin are the common symptoms of fatigue. The other noticeable fatigue symptoms include:

  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Problems with thinking 
  • Impaired memory and concentration 
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Temperature sensitive
  • Unexplained fever 
  • Regular sweats
  • Constipation 
  • Dry skin
  • Frequent headaches
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Insomnia

Dietary suggestions for fighting fatigue

To fight fatigue, your diet should be rich in all essential nutrients and herbs that can keep you active all day. 

  • Whole Grains such as wheat, rice, millet, barley, quinoa, buckwheat or kuttu, and jowar.
  • Dal (Lentils)
  • Chickpeas (Chana)
  • Curd
  • Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and mustard greens
  • Nuts and Seeds such as almonds and walnuts
  • Bananas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Coconut
  • Turmeric

Managing Stress and Mental Fatigue

There are a couple of things you can do to help boost your energy levels and deal with fatigue:

  • Drink enough fluids to stay hydrated
  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise in routine
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid stress
  • Do not overthink
  • Avoid extra work or social commitments and give yourself plenty of rest
  • Relax yourself with yoga
  • Avoid alcohol

Making these changes in your routine can help you feel less tired. It’s also really important to do as your doctor suggests to manage the health problems diagnosed. If you do not address fatigue, it can make your physical and mental health worse.

Read: Effective yoga postures for mental health

Sleep Hygiene: A Key to Battling Fatigue

Sleep is an essential activity required for the healthy functioning of our body. We should take at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day. Here are some strategies that can help you sleep better to avoid fatigue:

  • Make sure you wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
  • Maintain the ambience of your bedroom for a comfortable sleep.
  • Use comfortable bedding and pillows for proper sleep.
  • Avoid afternoon naps
  • Avoid watching TV or using mobile phones before bed.
  • Do not consume caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, as these substances can interfere with sleep.
  • Exercise regularly to promote good sleep, but do not exercise too close to bedtime as it can stimulate the body and make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Practise deep breathing, and meditation, to relax and reduce stress.
  • Consult your doctor if you are experiencing insomnia due to pain, anxiety, depression, or other medical conditions.
  • You can also try melatonin and valerian root supplements to promote sleep.

Exercise and Physical Activity for Energy Boost

Exercise and physical activity increase blood and oxygen flow in the body, which boosts energy. It also helps release endorphins that reduce stress, improve mood, and lessen fatigue. Exercising regularly can enhance overall stamina and reduce fatigue. Here are some simple physical activities that can boost your energy:

  • Walking
  • Stretching
  • Dancing or zumba
  • Jumping jacks
  • Riding bicycle
  • Yoga
  • Sports
  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Squats

Treatment for Fatigue

There is no specific treatment for fatigue. The fatigue treatment depends on its cause. Here are a few fatigue treatment options:

  • Treatment for fatigue depends on its cause. The possible treatments include:
  • Psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Changing sleep routine
  • Taking medications for depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders on time.
  • Lifestyle alterations
  • Take Supplements including Iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Adaptogens, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Rhodiola Rosea.
  • You may also need to have blood tests to check for anaemia, diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Preventing Fatigue 

Fatigue can be prevented in the following ways:

  • Eat healthy breakfast
  • Do not skip meals
  • Lose weight to gain energy 
  • Sleep well
  • Reduce stress to boost energy 
  • Cut out caffeine, tea, fizzy and energy drinks
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep yourself physically active
  • Monitor your blood glucose and blood pressure levels in routine
  • Eat iron-rich foods
  • Avoid overeating and eat nutritious
  • Avoid sleeping pills

Impact of Fatigue on Daily Life

Fatigue can make things harder for you. You feel tired and sleepy, even after having enough sleep. It makes simple tasks like getting up in the morning or paying attention in class or at work tougher. You might not feel like hanging out with friends or doing fun stuff because you’re just too tired. It can make you feel grumpy and stressed out, and sometimes you just want to stay in bed all day. Fatigue can make life feel heavy and less enjoyable, affecting how you do things and feel.


Fatigue can lead to various complications, like trouble concentrating, memory problems, and slower reaction times. It can also affect mood, causing irritability and depression, and weaken the immune system, making you more prone to illness. It affects work life, school school life, and affects relationships. Addressing fatigue with lifestyle alterations, better sleep and supplementations can improve productivity and reduce the risk of accidents. It enhances mental and emotional health and allows to improve the quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does it mean to feel fatigued?

Being fatigued, you may experience extreme tiredness or exhaustion, lack of energy and demotivated to engage in activities. It can affect physical, mental, and emotional well-being, making simple tasks challenging and overwhelming.

What is the best medicine for fatigue?

There isn’t a specific medicine for fatigue. It is treated depending on the underlying cause. Treatments may include addressing sleep disorders, anaemia, diabetes, managing stress, improving nutrition, and treating other medical conditions contributing to fatigue.

Can fatigue be treated?

Yes, fatigue can be treated by addressing underlying causes such as sleep disorders, nutritional deficiencies, anaemia, diabetes, thyroid, and depression.

What are 3 warning signs of fatigue?

Three warning signs of fatigue include persistent tiredness or sleepiness, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and irritability or mood changes, which can impact daily functioning.

Who is at risk of fatigue?

Anyone can experience fatigue, but individuals at higher risk include those with chronic medical conditions like anaemia, thyroid, depression, or sleep disorders, as well as people who are consistently sleep-deprived or under prolonged stress.