Why Am I So Tired?

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not uncommon for people to feel fatigued, and to chalk it up to simply working too many hours and sleeping too little. Women with PCOS may feel particularly more tired due to insulin resistance (resistant cells prevent glucose from supplying adequate energy). But what if you are not just tired but exhausted? All. The. Time. While minor lifestyle changes can boost your energy, sometimes there may be more serious underlying conditions that are draining you. Here are some surprising reasons you may be running on empty.

Lack of Sleep

Obviously, the first sign that you are zapped of energy could be that you aren’t getting enough sleep. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly.

Poor Diet

One of the most common causes of low energy can be from eating the wrong foods. Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and simple sugars will cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to skyrocket and then crash, leaving you ready for a nap. Start the day with a meal that contains at least 10 grams of protein (eggs or Greek yogurt are two good ones). Swap refined carbs for whole grain ones (try quinoa, faro, or oats) that won’t send your blood sugar into orbit.

Dehydration

Studies show that even mild dehydration can result in significant dips in energy levels. You need 6 to 8 cups of fluid each day for proper hydration (yes, this includes caffeinated coffee and tea) so drink up!

Lack of Exercise

Even if you are tired, exercising can give you more energy thanks to the secretion of feel good chemicals called endorphins. One study found that just 20 minutes of low-intensity aerobic activity three times per week decreased subjects’ feelings of fatigue by 65 percent.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Iron deficiency
If you experience heavy monthly bleeding, don’t eat animal products, or are an intense exerciser, you may be deficient in iron. Since iron’s main role is to transport oxygen, not having enough will make you feel exhausted and out of breath, even with minor exertion. Discuss getting your levels checked with your doctor before supplementing your diet with extra iron.

Hypothyroid
When the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones it can affect your energy levels. Ask your doctor for a full thyroid panel (TSH alone is not enough).

Gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease
A hallmark feature of someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is fatigue or “brain fog” after eating foods that contain gluten. It’s recommended to be checked for celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, before adopting a gluten-free diet, which can mask symptoms and prevent an accurate diagnosis.

Vitamin B12 deficiency
If you take birth control pills or metformin or eat a vegan diet, you may be deficient in Vitamin B12. A defiiency in B12 not only causes chronic fatigue, but permanent nerve damage. Ask your doctor to check your B12 levels.

Depression
Depression and fatigue are a vicious cycle with each fueling each other. Being depressed can be like living in a constant fog. Lack of motivation and sleep disturbances can contribute to depression. Engaging in regular exercise can help boost mood. If you feel you are depressed, we recommend seeking treatment from a mental health expert.

Sleep apnea
Several studies have shown that women with PCOS suffer from a much higher rate of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that causes your airway to be narrowed or blocked. Even if you do get a sufficient amount of sleep, if you’re not oxygenating well, you won’t feel rested.

Are you constantly tired and feel one of these situations applies to you? Did you recover from exhaustion and if so, how? Share with us by commenting below.

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Comments (4)
  • Ashley Howard

    May 31, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    I am headed back to the doc! I take the inositol provided by your website and I take 200mg VITEX daily but I’m so fatigued everyday and do not currently suffer from any depression! I think the iron deficiency thing could be very real for methough due to heavy periods! Back to the doc I go for an entire blood panel! Thanks for these articles daily!

  • Angela Grassi

    June 1, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Ashley,
    Heavy periods can definitely be a cause. Here’s an article about heavy periods and iron loss: http://www.pcosnutrition.com/pcos-periods-and-iron-loss/

  • Shannon

    July 18, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Don’t forget about the adrenals. Tired adrenals can create a vicious cycle of fatigue that just won’t go away unless it’s addressed.

  • Alina smith

    June 2, 2018 at 2:17 am

    Nice article its very helpfull thanks for sharing

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