LifestyleHealth and Fitness


Why are you so tired? The answer is not so simple

Posted at 11:17 AM, Aug 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-12 18:13:08-04

OAKWOOD VILLAGE, Ohio — Are you just getting up for the day wondering why you're so tired all the time?

You can be sure you're not the only one asking that question, but finding the answer isn’t so simple.

Tiffany L. Hollinger is always on the go.

"I wear a lot of hats, and so my day is very full,” said Hollinger, of Oakwood Village.

She's a realtor, runs her own general contracting business, and is devoted to her family.

"I don't have any children, but I am the auntie of the most. So I'm there for my nephew's baseball games, my niece you know doing aerobics or what have you,” Hollinger said.

But every day is like clockwork:

"At 2:45 on the dot, it's like a massive like, someone just hit me with a brick.”

Hollinger, like many adults, suffers from fatigue.

According to Consumer Reports, it was once solely attributed to aging, but doctors are rethinking that, now measuring how tired people are in relation to the activities they do. Its called fatigability.

"There are many causes of fatigue and it really requires a comprehensive evaluation, thinking a lot about sleep patterns, and sleep disorders,” said Nancy Foldvary, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center.

Foldvary says about 40% of American adults simply don't get enough sleep, which can lead to fatigue.

Other people feel tired because of some common sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, insomnia or some less common conditions.

"We'll see people come to the sleep center, who have other disorders, like restless leg syndrome, where their legs are needing to move at night, and it takes them a long time to wind down,” Foldvary said.

People with heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy often suffer from fatigue.

Hollinger says some of her struggles can be blamed from medical conditions as well.

"Cleveland is cloudy. So I'm vitamin D deficient. I'm anemic. So I have low iron,” Hollinger said.

That doesn't mean you have to sit there and take the tiredness.

Hollinger is working with a fitness expert and nutritionist to help her tackle her fatigue, plus she takes power naps and eats smaller meals more throughout the day to give her body more fuel to work with.

"Sometimes, you know, we're going long stretches without eating or eating foods that can induce more sleepiness or fatigue, like high carb diets,” Foldvary said.

Foldvary suggests exercising to boost energy. You can drink some caffeine as long as you stop consuming it by noon or 2 p.m. at the latest, and make sure your bedroom is as cozy as possible.

And here's another key piece of advice you've probably heard before. Cut back on the blue light from your cell phone screen. That light is shown to suppress melatonin release in the brain, which is the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.

Experts say if your phone has a night mode, use it and do whatever you can to reduce how long you take in blue light each day.