What causes low energy in men?

By | October 19, 2018
Many lifestyle and medical factors can cause low energy. Some of these are unique to men or are more common in men than women.

Many men feel tired and overwhelmed each day, especially with the busy lives that many people lead. Lifestyle factors can cause low energy levels, such as sleep patterns, exercise, and diet.

Medical conditions, such as low testosterone and sleep apnea, can also cause low energy levels in men.

In this article, we look at possible causes of low energy levels in men, and how they can increase their energy levels.

Symptoms of low energy

Man leaning back on desk chair holding neck
Difficulty concentrating can occur alongside low energy levels.

A person experiencing low energy may feel tired all the time and may be unable to complete basic tasks without feeling worn out or exhausted.

Other symptoms associated with low energy or fatigue include:

  • feeling sleepy during the day
  • brain fog, or difficulty concentrating
  • lack of motivation

Causes of low energy in men

There are several reasons why a man might have low energy or chronic fatigue.

Below, we discuss possible reasons why a man may be experiencing low energy levels.

1. Diet

A poor diet or nutritional deficiencies may cause people to have low energy levels.

A healthful diet containing plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and proteins can boost a man’s energy levels.

Eating a diet that is lacking in major nutrients, or one that does not contain enough calories can cause fatigue or low energy.

Having these shortages is especially common in younger men who may be exercising a lot or weight lifting, or in older men who are not eating enough or are having issues with malnutrition.

2. Exercise patterns

People may notice that their energy levels decrease after they spend a long time without exercising. Exercise increases adrenaline and energy levels.

Over time, a lack of exercise can cause the muscles to become weaker, which can cause fatigue after doing basic activities.

Too much exercise can also lead to fatigue. Finding the correct balance for optimal energy levels is important.

3. Low testosterone

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. It plays an essential role in mental and physical energy levels.

As men age, the amount of testosterone that their body produces naturally declines.

Low testosterone levels, also called male hypogonadism, can cause low energy levels, fatigue, and depression in men. Male hypogonadism becomes more common as a man gets older.

Other symptoms of low testosterone include

  • reduced energy and stamina
  • depression
  • irritability
  • difficulty concentrating
  • anemia
  • hot flushes
  • erectile dysfunction
  • infertility
  • decrease in beard and body hair growth
  • decrease in muscle mass
  • development of breast tissue called gynecomastia
  • loss of bone mass called osteoporosis

4. Sleep apnea

Young man sleeping on bed.
Sleep disorders can cause low energy levels.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. They may stop breathing for around 10 seconds at a time and multiple times each night.

Sleep apnea is more common in men than women and in people who are overweight.

The main symptom of sleep apnea is excessive sleepiness during the day. Other symptoms include:

  • restless sleep
  • loud snoring
  • morning headaches
  • trouble concentrating
  • irritability
  • anxiety or depression

These symptoms do not always signal sleep apnea. If a person suspects that they have sleep apnea, they should speak to a doctor, as left untreated, this condition can be life-threatening

5. Insomnia

Insomnia and other sleep problems can cause low energy in men. Though more common in older adults, insomnia can affect men of any age.

There are many different causes of insomnia, including physical, emotional, and psychological reasons.

6. Depression

Depression is a medical condition that affects a large number of men. The symptoms of depression may be different in men and women.

Men with depression may feel as though they have very low energy. They can lose interest in areas of their life, such as work, family, or hobbies.

Depression in men can cause the following symptoms:

  • sadness and irritability
  • anger or aggression
  • trouble sleeping
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty performing daily tasks
  • problems with sexual desire and performance
  • withdrawing from friends and family

Men are less likely than women to acknowledge, talk about, and seek treatment for depression. However, it is necessary to tackle these emotions by talking to a loved one or doctor and seeking treatment.

7. Anemia

Iron-deficiency anemia is a common nutritional deficiency caused by a lack of iron.

While it is also found in women, bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract in men, such as from an ulcer or gastritis, is the most common cause of this type of anemia.

8. Thyroid disorders

The thyroid gland produces hormones that control the body’s metabolism and other essential functions. When the thyroid gland is not producing enough of certain hormones, it causes a condition known as hypothyroidism.

Women are much more likely to have hypothyroidism, but men of all ages can also develop this condition.

Symptoms of thyroid disorders include:

  • fatigue
  • brain fog
  • changes in appetite
  • intolerance to the cold

9. Medical conditions

There are several medical conditions and associated factors that can also cause fatigue.

Among the most common are:

How men can increase energy levels

Man walking with dog in grassy field
Regular gentle exercise can help boost energy levels.

Low energy may arise when someone is under significant stress, is exercising too much or too little, or has a poor diet. When these are the causes, people should find that simple lifestyle changes cause a significant boost in their energy levels.

Any man who is consistently experiencing these symptoms should see their doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions.

In many cases, people can use the following methods to boost their daily energy levels:

Diet

Eating too many processed, high-fat, or high-sugar foods can cause nutritional deficiencies and fatigue. People should try always to make sure they are meeting their daily nutritional requirements.

Eating healthful, energy-rich foods can help boost energy levels. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains will provide plenty of healthy energy.

Exercise

Physical activity increases hormone levels, including testosterone and adrenalin, which will give a person a boost of energy.

It can be more challenging to find the motivation to exercise when energy levels are low, but the health benefits of exercise are great.

Try starting with gentle exercises, such as taking a walk, and building from there.

Over time, a regular exercise regimen can increase energy levels and decrease fatigue. Regular exercise can also improve sleep quality and help a person to get more rest.

Sleep

Many people do not get enough sleep or enough good quality sleep. Devoting more time and energy to getting enough sleep and good sleep hygiene, such as keeping a regular bedtime, can greatly improve a person’s energy levels.

People should aim to get 7–8 hours of good sleep each night.

Water

The body needs plenty of water to stay fueled. Dehydration can decrease energy levels and cause fatigue. It is easy for men to become dehydrated, particularly if they are older or very active adults.

Try carrying a water bottle and drinking frequently to stay hydrated, especially in warm weather or when doing exercise.

Summary

It is normal for men to feel tired or have low energy levels occasionally, though low energy can get in the way of a person’s daily life. Some causes of low energy are specific to men or are more likely to occur in men.

In many cases, men can improve their energy levels by making simple lifestyle changes, such as changing their exercise, sleep, or dietary habits. If these changes do not help, men should talk to a doctor to rule out more serious causes.

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