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Whether you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning or you’re often reaching for that afternoon caffeine rush, having low energy can have a significant impact on your everyday life. Here are 11 common causes of low energy levels and some things you can do to improve them naturally.
Staying up late might seem like the only way to get some time for yourself, but if you’re doing it all the time, it could be a serious problem. The number one cause for low energy is lack of sleep, so make sure you’re getting between seven and nine hours each night.
As men get older, their bodies naturally produce less testosterone. Too little testosterone, and you’ll feel tired around the clock. Interestingly, the same goes for women, though their levels are normally much lower. Consider taking a hormone imbalance test at your doctor’s office to find out if low testosterone, or another imbalance is causing fatigue.
You already know it’s important to drink enough water, but did you know that even mild dehydration can cause significant fatigue? The National Hydration Council found that one in five patients see their doctors for symptoms related to mild dehydration, including things like headaches, pain, and low energy.
Although maintaining a healthy weight is important to your health, consuming too few calories can have the opposite effect. Your body needs calories for energy, so if you aren’t getting enough, it can have a serious impact on your daily life. You can combat low energy from too few calories by eating a balanced diet. What’s more, make sure you’re eating several small meals throughout the day rather than just one or two large meals.
Anemia is far more common in women, but it can also occur in men. There are several causes of anemia, including a vegetarian or vegan diet or even too frequent blood donation. Fortunately, anemia is treatable with iron supplements. If you’ve been dealing with low energy for a while, then some simple lab tests can rule out or confirm a diagnosis of anemia.
Stress causes mental exhaustion, which leaves you feeling foggy and tired. While there’s no real way to live a completely stress-free life (and some stress is actually good for you), there are things you can do to reduce it. A walk in the forest, meditation, listening to music, or reading are just a few activities that can help you manage your stress levels.
According to a Harvard report, chronic infection is becoming increasingly problematic, and it’s one of the biggest contributors to low energy levels. Some chronic infections, such as Lyme disease, may not display any real symptoms for quite some time.
Hypothyroidism is also a growing problem. About 10 million people across the US have an underactive thyroid gland, which can cause your metabolism to slow to a crawl. When your body can’t properly metabolize the foods you eat, you’ll feel lethargic and sleepy. Fortunately, there are medications that can reverse these effects and help boost those low energy levels.
Certain types of kidney problems can affect your kidneys’ ability to produce a hormone called erythropoietin, which is what tells your bone marrow to make more red blood cells. Over time, this can cause anemia mentioned above as well as other issues.
Even if you aren’t diabetic, it’s possible that your low energy may be the result of low blood sugar. While a sweet snack might boost your energy now, it’s best to consume foods high in complex carbohydrates, too. Your body can convert these to energy throughout the day, which can prevent those midday slumps.
Certain vitamins that are in your daily diet – including iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12, and even folic acid – play important roles in keeping your energy high. If you aren’t getting enough, you’re certain to feel run down throughout the day. The good news is that a multivitamin may be all you need to boost your energy levels over time – especially if you’re deficient in one mineral or another.
As you can see, there are many things that can cause your energy levels to plummet. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising frequently, and if you still feel fatigued, see your doctor for some tests that may confirm or rule out an underlying condition.