“When I was your age I could stay up all night and go to work tomorrow as if nothing happened” – have you ever said this sentence or a similar one to someone younger than you?
As we get older, our energy levels are lower than they used to be, but we often take that as something natural that doesn’t need to be fixed – we learn to live with it.
A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in 2010 showed that more than 30% of people aged 51 and higher experience fatigue. However, that doesn’t mean that it is normal to feel tired at all times, even after you get a healthy dose of sleep.
Here are some causes of fatigue you need to know about and tips on how to fight them.
Low blood pressure
High blood pressure is more common among the older population, but it is not impossible for people aged 50 and higher to have low blood pressure. Hypotension doesn’t have such a bad reputation as hypertension, but it does come with its fair share of problems. Some of the signs of low blood pressure are poor concentration, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue.
Lifestyle changes are the best way to address this problem. You need to be properly hydrated, sleep enough, and eat food that can elevate the blood pressure. Some of the medications you are taking might influence the changes in the blood pressure, so make sure you go through everything with your physician.
Sleeping with your mouth open
We guess you didn’t think that this could be much of a problem, but it is. By breathing through your mouth, you are breathing in cold and dry air, instead of warm and moist as it would be if you were breathing through the nose. This also prevents you from getting enough oxygen, which makes you wake up during the night and end up feeling exhausted the next day.
A humidifier in the bedroom can help with the dry air inhaling, but if you have a nose deviation or a similar problem, surgery is a solution too. There is an option of taping your mouth shut as well which may promote breathing through the nose.
There are, of course, more serious sleep disorders than sleeping with your mouth open:
- Narcolepsy is when your brain cannot control the sleep-wake cycles with the common symptom of excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) is characterized by an uncontainable impulse to move one’s legs which often manifests during the period of sleep.
- Obstructive sleep apnea manifests when a person stops breathing periodically during the night.
All of these disorders need to be diagnosed first and the treatment recommended by a doctor.
Some illnesses, such as infections and rheumatoid arthritis, can make you exhausted. Anemia, also, leads to a significant drop in energy. If you have a heart condition, you are probably experiencing shortness of breath, which causes exhaustion. Anti-depressives and other medications you might be taking could have side-effects, such as light-headedness and fatigue. All of these are things you need to discuss with your doctor in order to find a solution together.
We face different types of stress in different period of life. As we grow older, some of the causes of this unpleasant emotion are loneliness, health issues, and fear of losing control over one’s life. Common signs and symptoms of stress include insomnia, loss of appetite, muscle pain, and tiredness, poor concentration, anxiety, and fatigue. It is important to note that more than two million Americans age 65 and higher experience some form of depression, which also manifests through chronic fatigue.
There is no universal solution to emotional issues. But talking to psychologists and getting support from your friends and family can be helpful.
Spending too much time indoors
Seniors often spend most of their time indoors. To make things worse, they are often not physically active enough. Are you the same? If you are, you should know that such a lifestyle can lead to isolation, lack of social interaction, and, consequently, loneliness, boredom, apathy, and depression.
You need the sun exposure to get the benefits of vitamin D which is imperative for feeling energized and having a healthy immune system. It is also proven that spending time outside, especially in nature, can help improve your mental health and boost your energy. Along with that goes physical activity, appropriate for your health condition, and socializing with your peers and family.
As you see, feeling tired all the time doesn’t have to be a necessary side dish that comes as you age. There are specific reasons why you are experiencing exhaustion. First, you need to identify the root of the problem. Then you need to address it, whether it requires a change in lifestyle or prescribed medications. All that is important is that you will feel restful again.
This guest post was graciously provided by Caitlin Evans. Caitlin is a bookworm, photographer and dancer. She is also a graphic designer, but that one is on hold at the moment. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Cate is researching and writing about various lifestyle related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu and caffeine.