Feeling tired is a normal occurrence considering our busy and stressful life-styles. We all feel tired occasionally. Taking some time to rest, relax as well as a good night sleep should resolve the problem in most people and get them back on track.
However, for some, tiredness can be a more serious problem. At any given time, 1 in every 5 people feel unusually tired, and 1 in 10 have prolonged fatigue. The problems can get so serious that it could actually prevent them from enjoying and getting on with their lives.
The first step in overcoming the feeling of tiredness and fatigue should be figuring out how you became tired in the first place. It is useful to think about:
- The things in your life that make you more likely to get tired
- The things in your life that triggered your tiredness
- The things in your life that are keeping you tired.
It is very likely that your tiredness could be attributed to an over-busy lifestyle, but it could also be the symptom of a serious medical condition.
To figure this out, you should realize if you are suffering from lack of sleep (feeling drowsy), or from physical or muscular tiredness (feeling fatigue or weakness). Occasionally, these two categories may overlap or cause each other, so make sure you report any symptoms of excessive tiredness to your doctor.
Feelings that often go hand in hand with fatigue and tiredness are:
- Feeling Tired
- Lacking Energy
- Wiped Out
- Loss of motivation
- Poor concentration
- Difficulty making decisions
- Feeling depressed
Tiredness often occurs due to a combination of causes. These can be physical and/or psychological. Nine in 100 people will have a physical disease making them tired while 75 in 100 people will have emotional issues.
Worrying and stressing over things, especially for prolonged periods of time, is likely to make you feel tired - especially if you cannot see a way out of your problems.
Depression tends to make you feel tired all the time.
Everyday difficulties including positive events, like moving home or getting married, can be exhausting. Emotional shock like bad news, or the break up of a relationship can all make you feel drained. Expecting too much of yourself and setting high standards would often lead to frustration and fatigue.
Sleeping too little as well as too much could cause fatigue if it becomes a habit. Combination of too much activity followed by too much rest. If you do too much on a good day, you may overdo things and feel even more tired the next day.
Drinking too much coffee and tea as well as alcohol late at night can easily upset the average person's sleep and make them wound-up and tired.
Family and work
Taking care of your family, especially small children, doing too much or having do work night shifts makes it hard to keep going with your daily routine.
Physical causes include:
Being overweight or too thin
If you are overweight, your body would have to work harder to perform everyday tasks and being too thin may leave you without strength in your muscles.
Being tired may mean you avoid physical activity. Just one week of resting in bed reduces your muscle strength by 10%. This way you become more unfit and even more tired when trying to do something. When you are chronically tired this can become a vicious cycle.
Troubles with sleeping would leave you tired in the morning and affect your concentration, motivation and energy levels. The causes of disturbed sleep are insomnia or even sleep apnea (abnormal breathing while asleep), which is common in overweight people
Pregnancy and breast feeding
Both of these conditions would cut your energy levels.
Conditions such as anemia, an under-active or overactive thyroid and asthma can leave you feeling tired.
Any serious illness can make you tired, especially painful ones.
Some of the possible illnesses and conditions that are likely to wear you out are:
- Addison's Disease
- Cat Scratch Disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- Jet Lag
- Kidney Failure
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Myasthenia Gravis
- EBV infection
- Over- strenuous Exercise
- Hormone Imbalance (Menopause, Thyroid Disease, etc.)
- Infections (Bacteria, Fungus, Parasites, Viruses)
- Inflammatory Arthritis (Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, etc.) Liver Disease
- Muscle Disease
- Nausea or Vomiting
- Pain (Headache, Injury, etc.)
- Sleep Deficiency
- Trauma Injury
Treatments that can tire you out are:
- Serious operations on the abdomen or chest
- Medications such as beta blockers and strong pain-killers
- Treatments for cancer, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy
Feeling tired in the office
Some biochemists link excessive tiredness to the relative failure of the complex system that controls cell metabolism to adapt to, and cope with, the work pattern of today's office worker while some sociologists relate office tiredness to a desire for escapism induced by boredom on the job and anxieties about mortgages and debt or to a job insecurity.
Good lifestyle habits should help you get rid of tiredness. However, if the problem persists it is important you visited your GP to try to figure out an underlying condition and get it treated and controlled.
Overcoming tiredness can start with some simple measures.
It is very important to improve your sleep routine
- go to bed and get up at the same time every day
- your daily naps should not be longer than 45 minutes. A ten minute nap would refresh you more than an hour of sleep
- develop pre-sleep rituals which will eventually become a sign for your body that it's time to sleep
- your bedroom should be quiet, dark and comfortable, neither too hot nor too cold and your bed should only be used for sleeping or making love.
- having caffeinated drinks or smoking should be avoided before bedtime as well as late night heavy meals
- find time to relax before bed - relaxing music or a warm bath could be useful
- get your problems and worries out of your head
Food and drink
What you eat and drink can have a big impact on how you feel.
- eating a balanced diet and having regular meals should help your body recover
- cut down gradually on caffeine and alcohol
- if underweight, gradually increase your portion sizes and your overall calorie intake
- eat less if you are overweight and control your weight by increasing the amount of exercise
READ Constant tiredness: causes & treatment
Being tired often means you don't exercise enough. Think about introducing regular physical activity into your daily schedule.
- Having moderate-intensity physical activity on at least three days a week would do you good.
- Avoid exercising before bedtime, as exercise can invigorate you.
It is important to find some time for ourselves in our hectic schedules. Relaxing with friends, having a massage, going to a course, dancing - anything that feels good and gets your mind off your worries would do. Otherwise, you will lose a point of your life by being overwhelmed by constant worry and tiredness.