Being a student makes it easy to think of fatigue as something that we can’t do much about (outside of a frequent coffee intake). With the hectic schedule that often comes with college life, fatigue is usually seen as a given, just another challenge that we have to do our best to work through. But upon closer examination, we may be able to do more about our fatigue than we think. On the surface, the causes seem obvious, with loads of obligations keeping us active and awake longer than a healthy amount of sleep would entail. However, there may be less apparent sources of our fatigue. Below are a few hidden culprits that might be affecting your energy more than you know.
General guidelines for water consumption should be taken very loosely, with people’s activities and schedules making a big difference to each individual’s needs. Ideally, experts say that you should need to urinate at least once every three hours, so take from that what you will. Dehydration can be a big cause of feeling lethargic, with studies suggesting that neurons send mood-altering messages through the brain as a warning to drink more water.
Our bodies need an ample amount of vitamin B12 in order to create red blood cells and maintain proper neuron function. If we don’t have enough, the amount of oxygen our blood carries through our body decreases, as does our energy. Fatigue that is accompanied by forgetfulness, restless legs, or numbness can likely be traced to a lack of B12. You can get your blood tested if this sounds like you, and if you’re low you can work on adding more B12 to your diet, perhaps through the aid of a vitamin supplement.
You Aren’t Getting Enough Exercise
I know I feel terrible if I’m sitting for most of the day, my body sinking into inertia, a lack of movement lowering itself upon me like a plate of fast-food hamburgers. Our bodies (and our minds, I think) feel more prepared to take on the world when they’ve thrown themselves into it, interacting with it at the fullest level. The drive to move is a tension that exists within us all day if we don’t, and this can lead to further sleep deprivation, a double shot of tired.
You’re Getting Too Much Exercise
There is another extreme to this problem, and if you’re pushing yourself too hard during the day, fatigue and sleeping trouble can be a sign that your body is overworked. Exercise, especially that which involves endurance activities like running and cycling, can cause a spike in cortisol, a stress hormone that can keep you awake at night if your physical exertion isn’t balanced with enough rest.
How do you counteract fatigue? Assume that coffee/tea doesn’t exist.