Lifestyle causes of fatigue

Facts about fatigue

  • Finding the right balance in life isn’t always easy.
  • Sometimes just a small change in your health or your daily routine can be enough to tip the balance in the wrong direction.

Modern life can place many demands on a person, and finding the right balance isn’t always easy.1

Sometimes just a small change in your health or your daily routine can be enough to tip the balance in the wrong direction, leaving you feeling increasingly tired or weak, and unable to return to your normal level of activity and alertness.1,5,9

Possible lifestyle causes of fatigue

Inapproriate diet

A diet low in kilojoules, or high in energy but without adequate nutrition, will prevent your body from being able to perform regular daily activities.


When you’re out of shape, any physical exertion can leave you feeling fatigued. It might sound surprising, but fatigue can also indicate that you might be exercising too much, and not giving your body time to recover.6,8,13

Sleep deprivation

While it may seem obvious, not enough sleep can negatively affect your concentration and health.3,14 Although individuals vary in their needs, as a general guide adults should get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. How well you sleep (known as sleep quality) is another important factor that should be explored if you are feeling fatigue despite having ‘enough’ sleep. Reasons for sleep deprivation can include noisy neighbours, a snoring partner or a new baby, as well as having caffeine or nicotine or eating certain types of food too close to bedtime.15

Overwork (also known as burnout)

Burnout can occur when work demands leave someone feeling overwhelmed and unable to be productive both on and off the job.16

Shift work

Working nights or rotating shifts can disrupt your internal clock. You may feel tired when you need to be awake, and you may have trouble sleeping during the day.

Recreational/illicit drug use and alcohol

These substances can affect your nervous system and disrupt sleep patterns so your quantity and quality of sleep are affected.6 Body organs such as the heart and liver are also affected and over time can become damaged and diseased, which can also contribute to fatigue.17

What you can do about fatigue

If you have feelings of fatigue that are significantly impacting on your health, your work and on the people around you, consider talking with a health professional.

Find out more

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