Are you hitting the snooze button more often than usual? Find yourself craving a nap mid-afternoon? Or maybe the only thing that mid-morning Starbucks run is increasing is your waistline? You’re not alone. Around 2.5 million Americans are estimated to suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

So why are we so tired all of the time?

It seems like nearly all of us struggle with tiredness, exhaustion, and burnout, at least at some point. However, there might be a simple solution to fix your sleep problem:

1. Stay hydrated.

The Mayo Clinic reminds us that our bodies need water to maintain and perform essential functions. They suggest consuming eight-8 oz. glasses per day. You may need more depending on your body type and activity level. Eight cups per day is a good rule of thumb to start with and keep building up from there!

Not drinking enough water puts stress on your organs because they need to work harder in order to function properly. Being dehydrated can cause you to tire easily because your energy is being diverted elsewhere. 

Also keep in mind that drinks that are diuretics (encourage your body to get fluids out) can actually dehydrate you if you don’t have health problems that cause water retention. For every cup of diuretic liquids and foods you take in, try to consume an extra cup of water.

2. Sleep more:

According to The NSF (National Sleep Foundation) a leading cause of tiredness is simply not getting enough sleep. Young adults often need 9+ hours of sleep per night for optimum functioning. Your exact number of sleeping hours may vary, though. Try testing different lengths to find your optimum level. Remember, sleep cycles happen in about 1.5 hour increments. Keep that in mind when planning your bedtimes and wake-up-calls.

Try making sleep a priority by practicing time management. Plan social engagements, time for your academic work, your workouts and free time around a set sleep schedule. Sleep is incredibly important and should be a high priority!

Having a set bedtime routine and have a huge impact as well. Your quality of sleep will improve under the right conditions!

3. Drink less coffee:

As a stimulant, caffeine has the ability to give you bursts of energy. This energy may wear off quickly, however, leaving you reaching for cup after cup to power through your day. Too much caffeine may cause you to have anxiety, headaches and trouble sleeping. If you consistently feel a “crash” after drinking your coffee, you may be having too much. Try swapping your cup o’joe for water.


Medical Conditions

While these problems are simple enough to address, there is an array of medical conditions that name fatigue as a symptom. If adjusting your diet and schedule doesn’t help, it’s time to talk to your doctor and see if there is an underlying condition causing your fatigue.

The top three most common are:

1. Thyroid disease:

Your thyroid is a gland located in your throat that regulates how your body uses energy. An imbalance in hormones secreted or maintained by your thyroid can leave you feeling tired, irritable and anxious according to WebMd. Left untreated, an over or under-active thyroid can lead to serious health complications.

2. Depression:

Depression is a mental illness that comes in many forms. Some symptoms of depression include:

  • lethargy
  • lack of interest in normal activities
  • insomnia
  • difficulty concentrating

There are physical and psychological causes for depression that can only be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255 immediately.

3. Iron Deficiency:

According to the CDC our bodies use iron for a multitude of functions including moving oxygen throughout our bodies. Not enough iron due to lack of consumption or the inability to absorb the mineral, results in anemia, a condition characterized by a low count of hemoglobin.  An iron deficiency typically presents with a lowered immune system, difficulty concentrating and decreased performance. It can be prevented by eating more iron-rich foods or by taking an iron supplement as prescribed by your doctor.

If you are feeling overly sleepy, try drinking more water, getting more sleep at night and cutting out sources of caffeine. If you are still feeling lethargic after making these changes, it could be a sign of a serious illness. Visit your doctor to get tested for an underlying condition if your tired feeling is persistent and unexplained.