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10 Surprising Causes of Fatigue and Lethargy

Updated on June 1, 2020
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Fredda Branyon has dedicated her life to the advancement of complementary medicine.

Do you always find yourself feeling exhausted and sleepy throughout the day, even after getting adequate sleep every night? Constant fatigue and lethargy could signal an undiagnosed physical or mental health problem. Therefore, the goal of this writing is to help you uncover the surprising reasons why your energy is low.

Why am I so tired all the time?

Here are the unexpected causes of unexplained fatigue:

1. An undetected thyroid issue

If you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), then your body’s processes are functioning slower than they should. As a result, you may constantly feel sluggish and weak. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people who have this disease do not know about it.

2. A urinary tract infection (UTI)

A painful and burning sensation while urinating are the most common symptoms of a urinary tract infection. However, some people experience fatigue as well. Adding insult to injury, fighting a UTI or any infection can also deplete your energy levels.

3. Stress

According to statistics from, about 45 percent of people experience lack of energy as a result of high stress. Medical News Today also shared that emotional exhaustion can occur following a period of excessive stress, which could lead to feeling overwhelmed and fatigued.

4. An unhealthy diet

This information isn't new or surprising, but it should be reiterated that food fuels the body, and a diet high in sugar, sodium, bad carbohydrates, grease, and calories can drain energy levels—or worse—cause a mineral deficiency that can trigger a variety of health problems, including fragile bones and a weak immune system.

5. Addiction to electronic devices

Electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and even television screens give off "blue light" that can intervene with your body’s internal clock, otherwise known as "circadian rhythm" or your sleep-wake cycle. What's more, excessive exposure to devices overwhelms your brain with stimulation, which can prevent you from falling asleep faster, and therefore causing the most common cause of fatigue: sleep deprivation.

6. Dehydration

Are you drinking a minimum of eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day? Because if your body is lacking fluids, then you will feel tired since your organs are working harder to pump blood and nutrients throughout your body.

7. Lack of physical movement

Yet another well-known and unsurprising fact necessary to reiterate, several studies show that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, which is another cause of increased sleepiness and fatigue.

8. Too much caffeine

Drinking a cup of coffee to get you through the morning, afternoon, and sometimes night may give you the boost of energy you need in your 20s and 30s, but with age, the human body's ability to digest and eliminate caffeine drops significantly.

9. Daily (or nightly) consumption of alcohol

Too much red wine, white wine, or beer can inhibit your sleep cycle. Sipping on (or chugging) an alcoholic beverage might help you fall asleep faster at night, but you will experience less REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the deep slumber you need to feel refreshed and energized the following day.

10. Presence of a sleep disorder

Do you always wake up feeling drained? Or perhaps you often feel sluggish throughout the day? If you experience either one or both, then you could be suffering from a sleep disorder. Sleep apnea, for instance, is a serious condition that interrupts breathing during sleep. 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, and 80 percent of moderate to severe cases remain undiagnosed, reported the American Sleep Apnea Association.

If you find yourself feeling exhausted too frequently, especially after changing your habits, then consult your doctor to determine if you have an undiagnosed problem.

© 2020 Fredda Branyon


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