Check Up: Feeling tired all the time

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December 24, 2018
Persons who make a habit of sleeping for less than six hours faced a 12 per cent higher risk of premature death. Persons who consistently slept for more than nine hours, faced a 30 per cent higher risk - Journal Sleep

Tanya is a 32-year-old who says she always feels exhausted. She always feels tired even though she takes vitamin supplements. She is always sleepy at work. Tanya says her job is boring, but doesn't think that this alone could be the cause of her problem. She asks Check Up for some advice on what could be causing her problem.

There are some really obvious reasons for tired feelings so let's mention those first. Some of the reasons are: burning both ends of the candle; going to bed late and getting up early; exhaustive work hours; taking care of a new baby at home, keeping you up nights; and depression.

Try to discover when the problem first started. Was there a relationship break-up? Any significant work events, like someone going on leave and now you're working two desks on your own? The psychological causes of tiredness occur much more frequently than the physical causes and include stress, emotional shock, anxiety and depression.

There are also physical causes of tiredness, including anaemia, early pregnancy, cancer treatments, overuse of alcohol and too much caffeine.

Lack of sleep occurs commonly and can cause many adverse effects apart from drowsiness, such as increased motor vehicle accidents, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and depression. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and avoid daytime naps. Make sure that your bedroom is comfortable and cool. Don't drink caffeine drinks beyond the early afternoon. Alcohol prevents deep sleep and should be avoided in the late-night hours most of the time.

Eat healthily and nutritiously. Cut down on sugar and always eat breakfast. Drink enough water to avoid fatigue!

And exercise. When you don't exercise, your body is out of condition and will feel tired with the slightest increase in workload. Slowly get involved in walking, yoga, aerobic exercise or increase this involvement if it isn't optimal.

If you try all these suggested methods to increase your energy levels for three weeks and are unsuccessful, please go and see your doctor for a check-up. Your cause for tiredness could be medical and require treatment.

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