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Women's Health

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Why Am I So Tired?

By Rachel Reiff Ellis
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by William Blahd, MD

It's the middle of the day and you just can't seem to get out of first gear. Is it lack of sleep, or could there be something else that makes you feel so wiped out? Check out these culprits for fatigue and get some pep back in your step.

Does Your Lifestyle Need a Tweak?

First off, ask yourself this: Do you treat your body right?

"With my patients, I talk about the three pillars of health: sleep, diet, and exercise," says Theodore Friedman, MD, PhD.

"If you aren't getting good sleep, it's hard to eat well, and it's hard to exercise. And the same is true the other way around. They're all related."

So try not to short-change yourself on shut-eye. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Eat a balanced diet of fruits, veggies, and lean protein, and get a regular dose of physical activity.

If you've checked all those boxes and you still drag through your days, it might be time to check possible medical causes of fatigue.


It's a disorder that makes it hard for your blood to move oxygen around your body. A common type is called "iron-deficiency" anemia.

Iron acts like a train car that transports oxygen in your blood. "People with low iron don't have enough cars on their train," Friedman says. "They're tired, they get dizzy when they stand up, they get brain fog, they get heart palpitations."

Your doctor can check you for anemia with a simple blood test.


Doctors don't know exactly why it makes people so tired. One likely reason is that your body uses lots of energy to deal with your frequent changes in blood sugar levels.

What doctors do know is that fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes. It has other signs, too. You may feel thirsty and need to go to the bathroom often.

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