Are You Tired All the Time?
Having low levels of iron or vitamin D or B12 can make you feel tired, anxious, and weak, says Irene Park, a nurse practitioner in New York City. Many experts believe that a significant percentage of the U.S. population is deficient in vitamin D. “And lower levels of vitamin D can cause muscle weakness and pain,” says Keenan. Also, if you’re a woman of reproductive age, you’re statistically at greater risk for iron-deficiency anemia.
The only way to tell if you’re low in any vitamin or mineral is to see your doctor for a blood test. Meanwhile, to bolster your body’s stores, consider taking a multivitamin with at least 100 percent of your daily requirement of vitamins and minerals. (Experts generally advise that healthy adults also supplement with 1,000 to 2,000 international units of vitamin D daily.)
Culprit: The Blues
Research has indicated that people with depression may be four times more likely than the nondepressed to experience unexplained fatigue. Aerobic exercise—specifically, 30 minutes or more three to five days a week—is effective at treating mild to moderate depression, and may minimize the sleepiness associated with it. If that doesn’t help, however, speak to your doctor, who may recommend talk therapy or a mood-boosting medication, like a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI). If your depression and related fatigue seem to strike more frequently in winter, you could have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Treatment for SAD may include using a special light box, says Marla Wald, a psychiatrist at Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina. But venturing outside for about 20 minutes a day can provide similar benefits, she says.