Do you feel always tired? Do you look around and wonder how other people seem to have lots of energy, and all you think about is how tired you are feeling and your lack of energy? Here's useful advice and simple tips for excessive sleepiness.
The most obvious reason for feeling always tired is a lack of sleep. Most adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep. Are you absolutely sure you are getting enough? And are you sleeping through the night, or are you waking up at odd hours, perhaps to go to the toilet or because your partner is snoring, or you have work on your mind, or for whatever reason?
Even if you have a lot of work to do, and endless list of chores around the house, you must make it a priority to get enough sleep. Try to make sleep a routine ~ go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Aim to be in bed by 11pm and set your alarm clock for around 7am. Don't sacrifice sleep during the weekday thinking you can make it up on the weekends with a long lie-in either. This will affect your sleep routine and you're likely to feel even more tired once the week rolls around again.
Do not watch TV in bed, or work on your laptop. Your bedroom should be a quiet, restful place ~ see it as your own luxurious sanctuary. There's proof that the strong light emitted from electronic devices such as TVs, smartphones and laptops affect our natural melatonin levels which help keep our internal body clock in order. Once you get into a regular sleep habit, you may find yourself waking up naturally at 7am or whenever, without the need for an alarm clock.
If you need to: have a power nap during the day. An ideal nap lasts around 10-15 minutes. Even a five minute shut-eye will do you wonders. Try to take your daily power nap at the same time each day ~ once again, we're trying to build up a sleep routine. A power nap is also a good idea if you're feeling tired on a long drive ~ just pull into a nearby garage or cafe stop. If you power nap for more than 30 minutes at one time, you might end up over-doing it and not being able to sleep properly at night. Don't nap too late in the day e.g. in front of the TV straight after work or, again, your night's sleep might be affected.
Always eat breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Our bodies, like cars, need fuel. Breakfast gives our body nutrition so it can produce the energy needed for the day. Porridge sprinkled with fruit and seeds makes for a powerful, energy-boosting breakfast.
Spend at least 15 minutes a day outside in the fresh air. Fresh air does you the world of good. It is mentally and spiritually uplifting. Try taking a walk at lunchtime to buy a sandwich which you can eat at your desk later.
Cut down on stress. Are you feeling stressed out all of the time? Stress can definitely contribute to excessive sleepiness. Look at the causes of your stress and see if they can be dealt with ~ perhaps you are biting off more than you can chew? Is there someone who can help with our workload or perhaps you don't have to do everything you want to? I mean, does a house really have to be absolutely spotless all of the time? Look for stress-relieving activities such as meditation, deep-breathing exercises, yoga or perhaps therapy or life coaching.
Have you just recovered from a viral illness such as flu or glandular fever? It often takes a few weeks for your body to fully recover from viral illnesses like glandular fever or flu. Take time off, don't rush back into your hectic life and get lots of rest and water.
Are you suffering from depression? The difference between depression and just a 'case of the blues' is that if you are depressed your low mood is persistent. You might feel tearful and down, especially when you wake up in the morning, you might have no energy or confidence or motivation to do anything. You might even suffer a lack of concentration or ability to make decisions or remember small things. Perhaps you are having trouble sleeping, or you are sleeping too much but still feeling tired. And maybe you have no sexual appetite or appetite for food. These could be signs of depression.
Exercise regularly. You might be thinking - how can I possibly exercise if I'm feeling very sluggish and sleepy all the time, but when you workout, your body uses sleep to repair your muscles and allow your body to recover from exercise. So the more you exercise, the more your body tells you that you need deeper sleep. It might be tough at first as you are feeling fatigued, but it should be easier over time and with regular effort.
If your constant fatigue and persistent tiredness continues for a few weeks, and you cannot think of a specific reason for it, then you should go see your doctor for a check-up and consultation. There are possible medical explanations for being tired all the time:
Thryoid imbalance. Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid does not produce enough hormones. Your body functions slow down, leaving you feeling constantly tired and sluggish. New mums often complain of being tired. Of course, it might be the demands of motherhood. But there is a condition called postpartum thyrioditis which 5 to 10 percent of women may develop within a year of having a baby.
Hormone imbalance. The British pop singer, Robbie Williams, has recently announced that he spent several years with a hormone imbalance that left him feeling extremely tired and lethargic. There are many types of hormone imbalance from estrogen deficiency (common in menopausal women) to excess androgens (male hormones) and cortisol deficiency (often caused by tired kidney function). Doctors have various hormone tests, many of which come in the form of a saliva hormone test. If your fatigue has lasted several months and you have other symptoms (which can range from excessive body hair to acne to breast tenderness to many others), it might be worth requested a hormone test.
One of the most common hormone imbalances and causes for excessive tiredness is adrenal fatigue. It's often triggered by stress. Adrenal fatigue has been called the 21st Century Stress Phenomenon. There is a well-known book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome all about cortisol deficiency, adrenal fatigue and poor kidney function and how it causes extreme tiredness.
Are you are loud snorer - maybe you have sleep apnea? Sleep apnea (or sleep apnoea in UK spelling) is a sleep disorder in which you stop breathing every now and again for a few seconds or up to a few minutes. Snoring is common with sleep apnea. If you are suffering from sleep apnea, you are probably not getting enough deep sleep and it's hardly surprising if you feel sleepy during the day.
If you're looking for more help with excessive sleepiness, fatigue and overall lack of energy, there's a useful, best-selling book called From Fatigued to Fantasticwhich looks at chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and other fatigue-related illnesses. "From Fatigue to Fantastic" is written by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum who is national director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers who conducted a landmark study into chronic fatigue and related illnesses including the best strategies and treatment.