7 Common Triggers for Fatigue

Fatigue can hit anyone. The usual culprits can be too much caffeine, hormonal imbalance and or low levels of vitamin b12.

By URLife Team
29 Jun 2024

Feeling exhausted all the time? In our  "always on the go," "must hustle," and "girl boss" culture, we often wear fatigue like a badge of honour.

Sure, it seems obvious that lack of sleep is the most common reason for fatigue. But if you're consistently logging 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night and still feeling exhausted, everything from an untreated infection to a poor diet could be to blame. In many cases, people just aren’t getting enough sleep—6 hours or less on most days. But several other things may be at play, including nutrient deficiencies, undiagnosed infections, and even your smartphone.

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While pushing ourselves to meet deadlines and goals is normal, constant physical and mental fatigue can do more harm than good. When we're exhausted, our performance plummets. We lose focus, forget things, fall behind on projects, and our bodies break down, making us more susceptible to illness.


Related story: Ways to banish Morning Fatigue


7 Common Triggers For Fatigue

A 2021 study published in the journal Rehabilitation Nurse shows that as many as 74 percent of older adults with a chronic illness experience fatigue. 

The good news? You can reclaim your vitality with a few simple lifestyle changes. Let's explore the 7 possible causes of fatigue and how to resolve them.


Cause 1: Overeating or lack of nutrition

Sometimes overeating by ordering takeout and buying processed food is convenient, but it can lead to fatigue due to a lack of nutrients. One major cause of diet-related tiredness is high sugar intake. Besides, consuming food items with little or no nutritional benefits such as candy and junk food can cause blood sugar spikes, leading to a quick rise in insulin levels, making us feel tired. Essential vitamins and minerals from a nutritious diet, like salads or fruit smoothies, help keep our energy levels up.

What can help

  • Use a nutrition tracker app on your phone to identify gaps in your diet.
  • Gradually improve your diet without drastic changes.
  • Choose brands that include nutritious ingredients in their products to boost your nutrient intake while still enjoying your snacks.


Related story: 8 Tips To Manage Chronic Fatigue


Cause 2: Caffeine Overload

Excessive caffeine intake can result in fatigue. Coffee acts as a diuretic, leading to increased urination, which may cause dehydration if you are not consuming enough water. Dehydration can contribute to feelings of tiredness. Furthermore, consuming too much caffeine can lead to palpitations and an accelerated heart rate, which can also contribute to feelings of exhaustion.

What can help

  • Drink coffee in moderation.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Be mindful of your water intake, especially when consuming coffee or other caffeinated beverages.


Related story: 5 Reasons to Take Coffee Breaks

Cause 3: Rotational or Night Shifts

Working nights or rotating shifts can disrupt your internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm. This disruption can lead to feelings of fatigue when you need to be alert and difficulty sleeping during the daytime. These challenges are a result of your body's natural tendency to be awake during the day and asleep at night, which can be thrown off balance by irregular work schedules. 

What can help

  • Limit your exposure to daylight when you need to rest.
  • Make your room dark, quiet, and cool.
  • If you're still having sleep issues, talk with your doctor. Supplements and medications may help.


Cause 4: Depression

Fatigue can be overwhelming and debilitating, making it difficult to carry out daily tasks and responsibilities. It's important for anyone experiencing persistent fatigue to seek help and support from healthcare professionals to address underlying issues and find effective treatment. With the right guidance and support, it's possible to manage and overcome the challenges associated with fatigue.

What can help

  • Physical activity can boost your mood and energy levels.
  • Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can improve your overall well-being.
  • Talking to a therapist or counsellor can provide valuable support and coping strategies. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is particularly effective for treating depression.


Related story: Overwhelmed by Decision Making: Reduce Decision Fatigue With These Tips


Cause 5: Over Exercising

Working out too much can lead to fatigue due to excessive strain on the muscles and the central nervous system. When the body is pushed beyond its limits without adequate rest, it can deplete energy stores and lead to physical and mental exhaustion. This can also result in decreased performance, motivation, and increased risk of injury.

What can help

  • It's important to properly warm up and regularly change the muscle groups you focus on.
  • Plan your rest days to give your body time to recover.
  • Schedule a 5- to 10-minute warm-up and cool-down for each workout. This helps your muscles and cardiovascular system perform at their best.


Related story: 10 Reasons Why You Might be Tired All The Time


Cause 6: Urinary Tract Infection

If you've ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you're probably familiar with the burning pain and sense of urgency. However, the infection doesn't always announce itself with such obvious symptoms. Sometimes, fatigue may be the only sign of a UTI. A urine test can quickly confirm the infection.
While pain and burning during urination are the most common symptoms of a UTI, some people may feel fatigued too. Fighting any infection can drain your energy.

What can help

  • Reporting your fatigue to your doctor.
  • A urine sample or blood test can help uncover a hidden infection.


Related story: UTI Vs Yeast Infection: Know The Difference


Cause 7: High Levels of Stress

When your body experiences higher stress, it produces more cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone. Excess cortisol can lead to conditions like adrenal fatigue and Cushing's syndrome. This syndrome can contribute to increased depression and anxiety, rapid weight gain, and higher levels of fatigue.

What can help

  • While you can't control many external circumstances, managing internal stressors can help reduce cortisol levels.
  • Incorporate mental health days into your calendar.
  • Practice meditation to create a sense of calmness.

Mindfulness 101:Bring calm into your day with these daily tips. Sign up here.

Fatigue can stem from a variety of sources, ranging from dietary choices and medical conditions to stress and lifestyle habits. By understanding the common triggers and implementing practical solutions, you can reclaim your energy and improve your overall well-being. Remember to listen to your body, prioritise your health, and make small, sustainable changes to your daily routine. If you're struggling with persistent fatigue and have trouble fixing your sleep schedule, consider consulting a psychologist at UR.Life for professional guidance and support.



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