Sleep and tiredness

Before visiting a GP, it can be helpful to reflect on the possible causes of your tiredness. Consider aspects of your life, such as work and family, that may be particularly draining. Additionally, think about any recent events, such as a loss or a relationship breakup, which may have triggered your fatigue. Evaluating your lifestyle can also provide insight into potential factors contributing to tiredness.

Causes of fatigue

When assessing the causes of fatigue, GPs typically examine three main categories:

  1. Psychological Causes: Psychological causes of tiredness are more common than physical causes. These often lead to poor sleep quality or insomnia, resulting in daytime fatigue. Psychological causes may include stress, emotional shock, depression, or anxiety.
  2. Physical Causes: Various health conditions can contribute to fatigue and exhaustion. These include iron deficiency anaemia, underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), sleep apnea, pregnancy (especially in the first 12 weeks), being overweight or underweight, cancer treatments, carbon monoxide poisoning, and side effects of certain medications and herbal remedies.
  3. Lifestyle Causes: In today's fast-paced world, our busy lifestyles can leave us feeling overwhelmed and perpetually tired. Factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, inadequate exercise, high caffeine intake, irregular sleep patterns due to night shifts, reliance on daytime naps, and poor dietary choices can contribute to fatigue.

Self-help tips for combating fatigue

In many cases, fatigue can be attributed to lifestyle factors, stress, poor sleep, and dietary choices. Making positive changes in these areas can help restore energy levels. Consider the following self-help tips:

Maintain a healthy diet

Eat regular, balanced meals and healthy snacks every 3 to 4 hours instead of relying on infrequent large meals. Ensure your diet includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods.

Engage in regular exercise

Despite feeling tired, regular exercise can boost your energy levels in the long run. Even a short 15-minute walk can provide an immediate energy boost. Gradually increase physical activity over time, aiming for the recommended goal of 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week.

Achieve a healthy weight

Carrying excess weight can be physically exhausting and strain your heart, leading to fatigue. Focus on adopting a healthy, balanced diet and increasing physical activity to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Establish healthy sleep habits

Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining alertness during the day. Set a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Avoid daytime napping and create a relaxing bedtime routine.

Reduce stress

Chronic stress consumes a significant amount of energy. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as exercise, yoga, tai chi, listening to music, reading, or spending time with friends. Seeking professional help through talking therapies like counselling or cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) can also be beneficial.

Cut back on caffeine

Gradually reduce your caffeine intake, found in coffee, tea, colas, energy drinks, painkillers, and herbal remedies. The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends gradually stopping caffeine consumption over a three-week period.

Limit alcohol consumption

While a couple of glasses of wine may help you fall asleep, alcohol disrupts the quality of your sleep. As a result, you may wake up feeling tired, even after a full night's rest.

Stay hydrated

Mild dehydration can cause fatigue. Ensure you drink enough water throughout the day, particularly after exercise.

By implementing these self-help tips, you may improve your energy levels and combat fatigue. However, if you suspect an underlying medical condition or your fatigue persists despite lifestyle changes, it is important to consult a GP for a proper evaluation and guidance.

Remember, taking care of your overall well-being is essential for managing fatigue and enjoying a fulfilling life.

References

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General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.

Dermatologist

At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.