Hormones and Your Sleep Patterns
Exhaustion is something that I know a lot about. Struggling through years of hormone disorders, sugar issues, and just plain mommy-brain, it’s a miracle I haven’t gone out from sleep deprivation. Seriously. #ThankYouCoffee #ThankYouSpark – on a more serious note, extreme fatigue in women is something that happens to a lot of us and can be caused by a lot of factors, but other than day to day life, the most common cause seems to be hormones.
Whether you’re suffering from PCOS, Adrenal Fatigue, or another hormone disorder, below you can find out the most common causes of extreme fatigue in women, and what to do about them.
Natural Causes of Extreme Fatigue in Women:
What you’re going through COULD be a run of the mill vitamin deficiency. The good news is that you can test the theory by increasing your vitamin intake for the following deficiencies. #YayVitamins.
The bad news is that vitamins are extremely expensive. That’s why I typically look for a food-based source. Anyway, on to the natural causes of exhaustion and fatigue.
- Iron Deficiency: Chart your fatigue patterns with one of the hormone or period trackers on your phone to see if a lack of Iron is to blame. I use Cycle for iPhone. If you notice that it happens more around a certain day of your cycle – KABLAM. You found the problem. You can also try some over the counter iron pills or adding red meat to your diet for a few days to rule this one out.
- Vitamin D Deficiency: As more of us move to office work (myself included), we start to miss out on our daily sun-dose. I know. For YEARS the media has been warning us to avoid the sun so we don’t get skin cancer. Obviously, sun responsibly. A good 15-minute break in the sun a day can help boost vitamin D. You can also find some reasonably priced vitamin D supplements over the counter. Side note – PCOS is a leading cause of vitamin D deficiency in women…
- Dehydration: If the first words out of your mind when you see this are “but I drink 8 cups!” hold it right there missy. Most researchers agree that we need more than 8 measly cups a day of water (depending on your weight). The simple way to remember is to drink about half of your weight in ounces every day. If you’re like me, that’s a LOT of water. I did the water challenge and I have to say, everything (including my energy levels) were better afterwards.
- Lack of Sleep: Before you yell at me with an extremely loud “DUH”, check Yahoo! Answers. Most people ignore this, but you actually do need 7-8 hours of sleep. Seriously. Ask yourself how much sleep you’ve been getting lately. If it’s less than 7 hours, GIRL….Why are you asking why you’re tired?! Go to bed!
>> How to Solve Insomnia without Medication
Disordered Causes for Extreme Fatigue
Other than the above (more simple) solutions to extreme fatigue, there are several medical conditions that can make your days crave more snooze time.
- Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes you to (literally) stop breathing several times while you’re sleeping. I know, HOW do you not wake up?! Well, you do. Kind of. When this happens, your sleep cycle is interrupted. Most people will toss or turn, and voila!You can (usually) breath again, before your brain is fully awake. Unfortunately, your body gets extremely sleep deprived when this happens as you’re seriously lacking in what’s called “restorative” sleep. You could have sleep apnea if you find you snore a LOT, you constantly wake up tired no matter how much you sleep, and you’re especially at risk if you’re overweight or obese.
- Thyroid Disorders: Super common these days, Thyroid problems affect a little butterfly sized / shaped gland. The gland (in your neck) controls the hormones in your body that manage energy. It decides how your body processes and stores energy. When this little guy is on the fritz, you’ll experience LOTS of tiredness. You might also notice weight gain / loss, and a change in appetite.
- Adrenal Fatigue: Adrenal fatigue is a hormone-gland disorder that’s popping up way more frequently these days in response to the massive amounts of stress we’re all under. AND NO. Ben and Jerry’s is not the answer (lol). If you’ve been under tons of stress lately, check out my post, 5 Keys to Understanding Adrenal Fatigue.
- PCOS: PCOS was my formal diagnosis when I talked to my doctor about being tired all the time. Of course, I also had facial hair, acne, and moods that were unbearable. This reproductive disorder throws your body’s hormone balance out of whack and can lead to a long list of symptoms that make you sleepy. If you have been experiencing hair growth or loss, acne, missed / irregular periods, or changes in your mood, check out my post on Understanding PCOS.
- Diabetes: Diabetes is a really common culprit of having a huge loss of energy. If you notice that the loss of energy happens more after mealtimes, that’s a BIG red flag that you could be a candidate. Even though it doesn’t ONLY happen to overweight patients, you’re way more at risk if you’re overweight. ALSO. PCOS leads to pre-diabetes very often, so these two ARE related.
- Depression: If your fatigue is joined by nagging sadness, irritability, or if you CANT stand things you used to love, it could be depression. For me, depression manifests in irritability and what I like to call – bearsyndrome. I call it this because when I’m depressed, it seems like you literally cannot pay me to leave my hibernation-like couch nest fully equipped with a down comforter and copious amounts of ice cream.