We all get tired, that feeling is nothing new. Tiredness can come from a host of different areas, such as pushing yourself beyond your limit physically, being on your feet all day, or trying a new workout. It can also come from mental and emotional strain, like trying to meet a deadline at work or being more anxious than usual. Whatever the case may be, usually the body can get back on track by getting a good night’s sleep. But what if those extra hours of sleep aren’t cutting it for you? Maybe instead of feeling refreshed and energized, you actually still feel sluggish, run-down, and maybe find it difficult to focus on tasks at hand throughout the day. It’s general tiredness that you can’t seem to kick. But perhaps you’re not tired, and you are actually just fatigued. If this is the case, and you have ruled out any other possible explanations, we can most likely blame inflammation in the body for that.
It’s important to distinguish between good and bad fatigue. In general, it acts as a protective mechanism after we’ve exerted ourselves without getting needed sleep afterward. This fatigue is called physiological fatigue, which forces our bodies to take a rest, helping to prevent illness and injury that could come from not getting enough sleep. The other kind of fatigue is called pathological. This happens in response to an inflammatory immune response to some sort of irritant. This will cause cytokines to be released, which are inflammatory compounds that help to fight off the infection. But sometimes with existing inflammation that comes from disease in the body or lifestyle choices, it will cause the immune response to act continuously, and cytokines will continue to be released. So the more inflammation there is in the body, the more fatigue you will have.
Luckily, there are ways to decrease inflammation-related fatigue. The first thing is to add good-quality fats into your diet. Polyunsaturated fats and oils, specifically the ones that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids should be prioritized. Rich sources include flaxseeds and walnuts, and could also be found in fish like salmon. Also eating anti-inflammatory foods like fruits and vegetables and fermented foods are a great way to help fight inflammation. In addition to dietary changes, always be mindful to move every day. Intense exercise can trigger inflammation, while a sedentary lifestyle can have the same effect. To find a balance, you can go for a walk or lift light weights. Whatever gets you out and gets your heart rate up is the goal. And lastly, getting an adequate amount of sleep is imperative. You’ll want to avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon and make an evening routine for yourself to prepare the body for sleep.