Fatigue is something that many of us grapple with on a daily basis. It can stem from many different underlying causes. For example, staying up too late, being too reliant on electronic devices instead of sleeping, and stress are all things that can cause fatigue.
It’s possible you’re feeling especially fatigued right now, because of the likely mental and physical effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on most of us both directly and indirectly.
While dealing with your fatigue can seem easier said than done, it’s still something so important to recognize and work to address the best you can. Otherwise, you may face serious quality of life issues and other potential adverse effects.
Fatigue goes a little beyond being occasionally tired.
Instead, it’s a feeling of ongoing tiredness and also weakness. Fatigue can be physical, mental, or a combination of both.
Reasons for fatigue can include underlying medical conditions, lifestyle causes such as a lack of exercise or alcohol use, or mental health problems.
Your job can also be a contributor to fatigue, either because of the physical or mental stress it puts on you or because of something like shift work that can disrupt typical sleep patterns.
The following are some of the ways fatigue is affecting our quality of life as a society.
If you’ve ever asked a car crash lawyer one of the main reasons contributing factors for accidents, they’re likely going to tell you driver fatigue.
Driver fatigue has the same effects as drinking and driving in some instances.
For example, research shows that staying awake for 17 hours has the same negative effects on driving ability as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05.
If you’re awake for 24 hours straight, it has the same effect as a 0.1 BAC, which is twice the legal limit.
Driving while you’re fatigued can make it hard to focus. You may miss traffic lights or signs.
You might accidentally drift into another lane, or you could struggle with maintaining a consistent speed.
There are so many unknowns and possible risks that come with driving even under the best circumstances, and those can just be exacerbated if you’re driving while drowsy or fatigued.
Fatigue can be a symptom of other issues of your physical health, but it can also worsen aspects of your health, becoming a difficult cycle.
For example, when you’re dealing with fatigue, you may be less likely to exercise. It’s difficult to get the energy that you need to do any kind of physical activity beyond what’s necessary. That can, in turn, have effects on your mental health and your weight.
If you’re grappling with debilitating fatigue, it’s more challenging to eat healthy foods as well.
You may not have a lot of energy to shop for groceries or prepare meals.
That may lead you to make poor food choices. Again, as was mentioned, these things become a difficult cycle that’s hard to break.
Most of us want to advance our careers, but that’s tough if you aren’t feeling your best and if you aren’t experiencing optimal health.
You may not have the energy to complete tasks within the expected time frame, or you may do the bare minimum and nothing else.
When you’re fatigued, it can create brain fog and make it tough to concentrate, which can affect your quality of work.
Whether with friends and family or in intimate relationships, fatigue can have an impact and usually not a good one. When you’re fatigued, you may be less interested in engaging with your loved ones, and you may seem like you’re withdrawing from important relationships.
Along with one-on-one relationships that might suffer, your social life, in general, can suffer when you’re struggling with fatigue. It takes a lot of energy to socialize yet when you aren’t able to do that it can cause mental health problems.
What Can You Do About Fatigue?
First and foremost, if you’re experiencing fatigue and it’s becoming problematic in your life, you should speak with a doctor. You need to rule out underlying causes of the fatigue that may need to be medically treated.
Once you’ve done that, you can start thinking about possible lifestyle changes that might help you along the way.
One that’s obvious is getting more sleep, but sometimes that’s a big challenge.
There are things you can do to make sleep both a priority and a routine.
First, set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it, whether it’s a work night or not.
Set your bedroom temperature at something you find comfortable. For most people, that means sleeping when it’s cooler or colder in their room, perhaps than what they would normally prefer when not sleeping.
The room should be completely quiet and dark as well unless you use something like a white noise machine.
Avoid screen time for at least an hour before bed, and consider wearing blue-blocking goggles. The light from phones, computers, and TVs can impair your sleep quality and stimulate brain activity. This is particularly true of blue light.
Throughout the day, try to eat small, nutritious, and frequent meals rather than a few big ones which can make you feel more sleepy. Opt for low sugar snacks, and have plenty of fruits and vegetables.
If you’re physically able to, try to get exercise every day. Even if it’s just a walk around the block, exercise can help you beat fatigue and also sleep better at night.
You might want to incorporate yoga, meditation, and mindfulness into your daily routine too as a way to quiet the mind and relax the body.
Fatigue is a growing problem for people in the U.S. and around the world. Fatigue can seriously affect nearly every aspect of your life and diminish your quality of life.
If you are dealing with fatigue regularly, first speak with your health care provider.
Then, try to come up with small, manageable steps you can take to get more sleep and feel less tired such as changing your diet and moving your body more.