Happy New Year from all the team at London Doctors Clinic!
We’re determined to start 2017 with a bang – focussed, enthusiastic and full of energy! After a long year, 2016 may have left you exhausted, but tiredness is not something that you should simply accept as normal: fatigue not only feels awful but can have a negative impact on our work life, family life, and social relationships. Feeling excessively tired is also often a tell-tale symptom of another condition, for which treatment is available.
Why Am I So Tired?
Often, fatigue is due to poor sleep or lifestyle factors but in a minority of cases fatigue can be caused by psychological and physical conditions.
Lifestyle & Social Causes of Fatigue
Any cause of disrupted sleep will cause tiredness during the day. So people who work night shifts, sleep during the day or look after young children often suffer from fatigue.
Stress is also a major cause of fatigue. Daily sources of stress include our work and family lives but sometimes big life events, such as bad news, bereavement or the breakdown of a relationship can make things worse. Even positive life events can cause stress and fatigue for example moving house or getting married.
Our lifestyle can also contribute to our tiredness. Inactivity can make us unfit and make daily activities more tiring. Conversely, overactivity can also cause fatigue.
A poor diet is also a cause of fatigue and this includes our intake of caffeine and alcohol. Six cups of coffee a day or ten cups of tea (or six mugs) are enough to upset sleep and make us tired. Alcohol tends to wake us up in the middle of the night and disrupt sleep. Drinking a lot of alcohol can also lower our mood and affect sleep.
Psychological Causes of Tiredness
Psychological causes of tiredness are very common, much more common than tiredness caused by a physical problem. Low mood can affect sleep and depression often makes you wake up early which can add to feelings of fatigue. Anxiety often causes cause difficulty sleeping (insomnia) which causes tiredness during the day.
Physical Causes of Tiredness
In a minority of cases, fatigue is due to a physical problem, often accompanied by other symptoms.
Physical causes of fatigue include:
- Iron deficiency anaemia
- An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
- Heart failure
- Illnesses that affecting breathing (e.g asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Bowel problems (e.g. coeliac disease)
- Sleep disorders (e.g. obstructive sleep apnoea)
- Being overweight (your body has to work harder just to do everyday things)
- Being underweight (your muscles may not be strong enough to do everyday things without becoming tired)
- Pregnancy (especially in the first 12 weeks)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Tiredness can be caused by a variety of factors
How Can I Increase My Energy Levels? 5 Simple Steps!
- Improve your sleep by waking up and going to bed at the same time every day. Avoiding naps during the day, having your last meal or drink early in the evening and finding ways to relax before going to bed can all improve the quality of your sleep.
- Regular exercise and healthy eating not only reduces stress but will make you feel tired and more energetic. Avoid skipping meals and try to drink more water.
- Reducing your caffeine intake (particularly coffee) will reduce fatigue. Similarly, cutting down on alcohol and avoiding binge drinking will help combat tiredness.
- Managing weight helps to reduce fatigue. If you would like help with your weight, our doctors can provide support and guide you through physical, physiological and psychological aspects of weight. management.
- Finally, it is important to find ways to cope with stress. In addition to the tips above, taking breaks, stopping smoking and finding hobbies helps to reduce stress. If you find the stress in your life is too much for you to manage on your own, speak to one of our doctors who can discuss self-help resources and treatments such as counselling.
How Can I Become Less Tired?
If there is no obvious cause for your tiredness and it is worrying you, you can see one of our affordable private doctors for advice and reassurance. Your doctor will explore the cause(s) of your tiredness by asking you questions.
They may arrange a blood test and other investigations to look for physical causes and a short questionnaire may be used to help identify psychological causes. Once a cause for your tiredness is found, your doctor can support you in managing your symptoms.
So if you are at all worried about your fatigue, why not book a same day doctor appointment today at any London clinic of our 7 central London locations? Let 2017 be the year you tackle tiredness once and for all.
By Samara Linton