There are a large number of people that feel like something just isn't right. Not technically sick, but the feeling that something just isn't the way it should be. The primary manifestation? Fatigue that doesn't seem to leave.
Turns out, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is far more common than you would believe. It's just a matter of many people continuing to live their day-to-day lives, even though it may be challenging to cope with the fatigue.
So what can you do about this? First and foremost, you should do your best to fix lifestyle and dietary rifts that can contribute to this. Not sure where to start? That's ok- in this blog post, we explore some of the most effective ways to reduce the fatigue, and hopefully, rid yourself of this burden.
If there's one universal truth, it's that we all need sleep to function properly. This is doubly true for those dealing with CFS. Getting a full 8 hours of rest per night should be your top priority if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.
You may also want to look into napping during the day. Managing to get 1-2 naps of duration of about 20-30 minutes can actually do a lot for your overall energy levels.
Not only should you focus on quantity, but also the quality of your sleep. That's why sleep hygiene is also very important.
This refers to all the activities you do around your sleeping hours, such as avoiding caffeine and other stimulants, avoiding screens before bed, and trying to go to sleep at a consistent time.
Normalizing your circadian rhythm with a consistent pattern of sleep can make a huge difference down the road and possibly reduce the impact of fatigue you feel daily.
If you think you have tried to improve sleep but you still aren't getting enough, a safe, non-habit-forming sleep aide like DREAMZZZ can be the difference maker for you.
Eliminating Processed or Simple Sugars
There's a strongly held belief that when you feel run down, a bit of sugar will boost you right up. This is only a myth, as loading sugar won't help you to feel less fatigued in the long run, although a temporary boost does occur.
Simple sugars can have a major impact on energy levels, and in turn, fatigue. Complex carbohydrates are typically broken down more slowly by the body, providing a steadier source of energy as well as avoiding blood sugar spikes which can lead to crashes.
On the other hand, simple sugars provide an instant burst of energy but often result in a rapid drop in energy shortly afterward.
This is because simple sugars are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a spike in blood sugar followed by an eventual crash when it drops back down to normal levels. Too much consumption of this type of sugar can also make it harder for your body to produce and store its own energy reserves. Ultimately, by reducing our intake of these types of sugars, we can help maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day without putting ourselves at risk for any sudden dips or drops that can leave us feeling fatigued and sluggish.
Consuming more fiber in our diets can reduce the speed at which sugar is absorbed in the GI tract, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and their subsequent impact on our energy levels.
A scoop of Field Of Greens can help you achieve the same, and also help you meet your daily requirements for fruits and veggies.
We know what you're thinking- why would I want to exercise when I am feeling fatigued? But research has shown that even mild amounts of aerobic activity can actually work to reduce fatigue in the long run.
Aerobic exercises help to increase your circulation, which can in turn help to boost energy levels. Not only that, but it also boosts your mood and helps us to better manage stress- both of which are key factors in fighting fatigue.
It's important not to overdo it though- try incorporating mild exercises like walking into your routine, starting off with 10 minutes or so each day before gradually doing more.
Then, after you would have built up a modest tolerance for exercise, adding in resistance-based techniques like weightlifting can help with the longer-term improvement of fatigue symptoms and energy production.
Optimizing Micronutrient Status
Your micronutrient status refers to the state of minerals and vitamins in your body, and it can have a major impact on energy levels.
When our bodies are deficient in these essential micronutrients, fatigue can often creep up in the shadows. Micronutrients such as Iron, Vitamin B-12, and Magnesium are just a few of the basic vitamins and minerals we need to function at optimal levels.
For instance, an iron deficiency is associated with anemia, which can lead to fatigue and lethargy.
The B vitamins play important roles in the metabolism of the foods we eat, while others such as iodine are integral for thyroid hormone synthesis.
Magnesium, too, while frequently overlooked, is referred to as the activator of ATP, the body's energy currency.
It's important to ensure you're getting enough of these micronutrients in your diet, either through whole foods or by taking a quality supplement such as Fortify.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that aims to identify and change the negative thought patterns and behaviors that may contribute to your chronic fatigue.
When using CBT for fatigue, a therapist works with the individual to identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about their ability to cope with and manage fatigue.
The therapist may also help the individual develop better coping strategies and problem-solving skills to improve the management of their fatigue.
For example, an individual may believe that they are unable to do any physical activity due to fatigue, which may lead to a lack of physical activity and a further decline in energy levels.
A CBT therapist may help the individual challenge this negative belief and develop a plan for gradually increasing physical activity, as well as identifying and addressing any barriers to activity.
In addition to addressing negative thoughts and beliefs, CBT may also involve identifying and changing behaviors that may contribute to fatigue.
For example, an individual may be engaging in unhealthy coping strategies such as relying on caffeine or alcohol to manage fatigue, or they may be overdoing it on days when they have more energy and then crashing afterward.
A CBT therapist can help the individual identify and change these behaviors in order to better manage their fatigue.
CBT may also involve developing strategies for managing daily activities and prioritizing tasks in order to conserve energy. This can include setting achievable goals and breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable steps, or prioritizing the most energy-intensive tasks earlier in the day when energy levels are highest.
Have you ever taken the time to really look at stress, and understand that most of it is mental in nature? And yet, even though this may be a fact, it doesn't change the real negative effects it can have on your physical well-being.
The major contributors to this mental stress include things like overwork, worrying, and even negative thought patterns.
Financial insecurity, relationship issues, work-related stress, and even the fear of disease can all be detrimental to your mental health.
These compounded with any sort of mental illness can make it very difficult for people to manage their fatigue.
Fortunately, there are ways to effectively counteract it.
Stress management techniques like relaxation breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help you manage your stress levels in a variety of situations.
Then, there's the sample and effective practice of just taking a step back sometimes.
A break might be all you need to keep yourself from reaching that breaking point. Pair that with a good night's rest and you should wake up feeling much better.
Cope With Climate Conditions
Did you know that climate can have a significant impact on fatigue and energy levels?
Turns out that both extremes of the temperature spectrum are bad when it comes to causing fatigue.
Under high temperatures, the body has a difficult task trying to maintain body homeostasis, when coupled with the rapid rate of water loss (perspiration) and overheating.
Then, on the other hand, low light conditions associated with winter weather pose their own challenges.
Melatonin levels tend to peak during shorter days, causing us to feel more sluggish and lethargic.
The shorter daylight hours also mean less vitamin D is produced by our skin, contributing to the development of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Therefore, it is important to try and keep your environment at a comfortable temperature, while also taking steps to regulate light exposure in order to manage fatigue.
This can be done through the use of blackout curtains or limiting access to screens that emit blue light late at night.
The consumption of a Vit D supplement might also be extremely useful to combat SAD.
Practicing mindfulness is a great way to reduce stress and battle physical fatigue caused by chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Although this is considered a stress management technique, it is a bit more specific as it involves focusing on the present moment.
Mindfulness encourages us to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment, but with acceptance and kindness. By
Through activities like meditation, yoga, tai chi, and self-reflection an individual can become more aware of their body’s signals and make better decisions on how to manage them.
Eating More Calories
Eating more calories may help reduce feelings of fatigue by decreasing cortisol, a hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland in response to stress. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to fatigue, as well as other health issues such as weight gain, impaired immune function, and poor sleep.
When the body is under stress, it may perceive a lack of calories as a form of stress, leading to an increase in cortisol production. This is a survival mechanism that early man used for survival that is deeply embedded in our DNA.
Therefore, increasing calorie intake may help reduce cortisol levels by providing the body with the energy it needs to function properly, and under homeostatic conditions.
This lethargy and fatigue is a common problem when people are following a reduced-calorie diet, and may indicate that you need to increase your calories a bit.
It's important to note that simply eating more calories is not a guarantee of reduced fatigue. It's also important to focus on getting enough nutrients from a varied, healthy diet. In addition, it's important to address any underlying causes of stress, such as unhealthy coping mechanisms or imbalanced work-life demands, as these can contribute to elevated cortisol levels and fatigue.
Other Ways To Reduce Fatigue
There are some seemingly innocuous triggers that could be worsening the chronic you feel over the long haul, including excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption.
Caffeine is an excellent stimulant that increases the expression of neurotransmitters involved in alertness, such as adrenaline and dopamine, but also cortisol via its actions on the adrenal glands.
However, if you consume too much caffeine regularly, it can become an unhealthy habit that leads to feelings of anxiety and fatigue over time, as the tolerance that develops rapidly might lead to the consumption of larger and larger doses.
Alcohol is another short-term way to reduce feelings of fatigue by virtue of its relaxant properties but has been linked to poor sleep quality, leading to increased fatigue in the long run.
Moreover, alcohol consumption can make you more prone to dehydration, which is another major contributor to fatigue. So it's important to be aware of your limit and avoid binge drinking as much as possible.
Dealing with chronic fatigue can be quite tiring in its own right. The good news is, however, that lifestyle and dietary interventions are often sufficient to turn the tide. If a fair amount of time has elapsed since you corrected any deficiencies you might have been experiencing and you still don't feel any different, it might be time to visit an endocrinologist to investigate the matter further.