|Why am I always so tired?|
Certain medical conditions like anaemia, hypothyroidism, diabetes and high biood pressure can cause tiredness. Poor nutrition can contribute.
I wonder if I'm eating the right food?
It's easy to reach for a chocolate bar when you need a boost, but sugary foods burn fast and leave you in a slump. Better to refuel on slower-burning foods like fruit or wholegrain bread - your energy levels will be steadier and last longer.
Have a balanced diet and drink plenty of plain water - mild dehydration can sap you too. Avoid caffeine and alcohol - they interfere with sleep.
Could I be anaemic?
Will exercise make me better or worse?
|Will exercise make me better or worse?|
Could it be hormonal?
It could be. Hypothyroidism - when your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones - is often undiagnosed because the only symptom may be tiredness. Diabetes is another hormonal cause. One of the early signs of diabetes is fatigue. It is also common for women to feel tired before or during a period - and pregnant women are often tired due to changes in their hormone levels.
I'm taking medication - could that be the cause?
Yes. Certain heart medications such as beta-blockers may cause fatigue. Antihistamines for allergic conditions make you feel drowsy. Cold and flu remedies contain drug combinations that make you sleepy, or contain caffeine, which interferes with sleep. Drugs used to treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease or epilepsy often cause drowsiness. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressive medicines may do the same.
I notice I've been more easily upset recently - could it be linked?
You tire more easily as a result. More serious psychological upset, such as depression, often causes sleep disturbance such as waking too early. People who are anxious may find it difficult to fall asleep instead. Either way you don't get enough sleep and begin the next day even less able to cope - and so on.
Actualiy I sleep for eight hours a night but still wake up tired - why?
Do you snore? Some people snore so badly that they stop breathing for significant periods in their sleep and deprive themselves of oxygen. This condition, known as 'sleep apnoea' (say 'apnia') is linked to high blood pressure.
Other people fidget so much in their sleep that they wake up often during the night, and are short of sleep even if they don't know it. Also, as we get older we tend not to sleep as well or for as long - and this is not helped by common ageing problems such as urinary freguency both day and night.
How can I get help?
Tell your doctor about your problem. Blood and urine tests can easily rule out common causes like anaemia, diabetes and hypothyroidism. A blood pressure and prostate check should also be included. If your tiredness occurs pre-menstrually, you may consider going on the oral contraceptive pill to regulate your cycles.
If you are on medication, review them with your doctor and see if any changes can be made. If you are under emotional stress your doctor may provide support, refer you for counselling or for psychiatric help in more serious cases. Sleep disturbances are now dealt with at special sleep clinics.
Maybe I just need a holiday?
|Maybe I just need a holiday?|
And if you are looking for a quick fix, bear in mind that an expensive holiday simply does what an exercise routine provides on a daily basis - a chance to recover, relax and recharge.