If you’re struggling through the day, this might be why

Ten reasons why you might be struggling through the day.

If you’re struggling through the day, this might be why

I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink.

I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink.

I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink…

The Beatles released I’m So Tired in 1968 and, until now, I’ve never thought about being tired while, at the same time, not being able to sleep.

In John Lennon’s case, it was because he was having feelings, for, presumably, a woman.  He’d lie in bed and think of her when he wanted to sleep.

An overly active mind can certainly cause tiredness. Just think how badly you slept the night before you caught your last early morning flight. Your brain was working, worrying about the alarm, worrying about the taxi being late, worrying about your passport, worrying about the flight …

An overly active brain is just one reason you may suffer from tiredness. Here are 10 other conditions that might cause you to be tired and 10 possible solutions.

1. Sleep apnoea

When you snore, your body generally sends a wake-up signal to your brain to open your throat to breathe. If your body is constantly waking itself up, you are not allowing yourself to go through the entire four-stage sleep cycle and you are missing out on the critical deep sleep stages. What to do? Lose weight, stop smoking, see your doctor. There are ways to break the sleep apnoea cycle. 

2. Iron deficiency

This can result in anemia, which can cause fatigue. What to do? Visit your GP who will no doubt order a blood test. Once confirmed, your doctor will probably suggest more iron in your diet or iron tablets.

3. Too much coffee

A coffee might kick start your day, but too much caffeine can cause fatigue. Try cutting back, or cut it out completely for a week and see if anything changes.

4. Urinary tract infection

 While most symptoms are well known – burning pain and urgency – a lesser known one is fatigue. What to do? See your doctor for advice on treatment.

5. Diabetes

For anyone suffering from diabetes, sugar in the blood doesn’t convert into energy which can result in fatigue. Again, a doctor needs to diagnose this problem. Insulin and other medications can help you manage the condition.

6. Dehydration

If you’re not drinking about two litres of water a day, your body may not be functioning correctly. Dehydration can also cause headaches and leg cramps. What to do? Drink your daily quota of water.

7. Depression

There are numerous symptoms related to depression and fatigue can be one. What to do? The key is to recognise the problem. Fatigue will usually run in conjunction with other symptoms such as loss of appetite and headaches. If these things persist, see your doctor.

8. A poor diet

Food is a fuel. If you stuffed cream buns into your car, it would stop. Your body is no different. What to do? Eat a balanced diet. Plenty of fruit and vegetables is a good start.

9. Lack of exercise

Have you ever noticed how a burst of exercise – such as 20 minutes on an exercise bike or a brisk walk – can make you feel alive? No? Then you haven’t done it. Research shows that low-intensity exercise can help boost energy levels in people suffering from fatigue. Get that blood pumping. It feels great.

10. Medications

Yes there are many prescribed medications that can cause fatigue, such as blood pressure products, antihistamines, antidepressants and antibiotics. Your doctor probably warned you about such side effects, but you may not have been listening.

Do you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep? Are you tired even when you think you’ve had a good night’s sleep? Do you know why?


    Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    Andy Leucite
    28th Mar 2019
    When I was in my early sixties I noticed that I seemed to be drained of energy all day, and that even getting out of a chair seemed a huge drain. Yet, until about then I had been fit and healthy and with a sensible diet. I wondered if it was not declining testosterone as I aged but took myself off to the GP who ordered comprehensive blood tests. It turned out that I was severely deficient in Vitamin B!2, a nasty condition that among things affects the body's ability to produce red blood cells, and also causing the ones that are produced to be large and misshapen, affecting their ability to circulate through capillaries etc. I was given some emergency Vitamin B12 shots and then put onto three-monthly injections which I continue to have. The disappearance of listlessness was immediately apparent - within a week or two I had more energy and was back to my usual self. In many cases, a vitamin B12 deficiency is not due to a deficiency in diet - it is due to the body's inability to absorb Vitamin B12. Taking supplements by mouth is useless (despite a naturopath staff member in a shop of a big chemist shop chain telling me it would all go away if I bought and gobbled stacks of Vitamin B12 - I cheekily sort his advice just to test how informed and responsible such people might be!). There is more detail to the reasons for Vitamin B12 deficiency, but the underlying cause is usually that special cells in the stomach wall (therefore called parietal cells) do not secrete a particular factor that makes the vitamin B12 soluble in the next part of the gut. This is apparently reasonably common in the older years, or can be due to a particular conditions labelled pernicious anaemia. Whatever the underlying cause, the effect is that because of the deficiency in red blood cells and their misshapen nature, the blood becomes much less effective at shifting oxygen around the body - a vital aspect of supplying energy. So this is a kind of anaemia (whether or not it is the particular condition called pernicious anaemia) which is not related to iron deficiency or dietary deficiency. I am not a doctor (or at least not a doctor of medicine) so these are the words of a layman only, informed by talking to my GP and to reading respected medical literature. However, I thought my experience could add another possible explanation in addition to the ten mentioned, and it does seem to be quite common in the age group who read these pages. Eminently fixable though.
    31st Mar 2019
    And people always go on about vegan's being deficient in B12, I am vegan and have never been tested to be low in B12 or any B vitamins for that matter, and I do not take supplements. We need very little, but absorption of vitamins is important and gut problems can make this hard.
    28th Mar 2019
    Nice explanation but how is it fixed????????
    28th Mar 2019
    Too much iron (Haemochromatosis) - can also be the cause of tiredness. Again, get a blood test to diagnose the condition. Don’t self-diagnose and assume that anaemia is the cause of the iredness, because if the cause is too much iron, and you take iron tablets, you’ll do more damage to your organs than Haemochromatosis on its own will do. If you are diagnosed with Haemochromatosis, then regular venesections (I.e. donating blood), is the easiest treatment.
    31st Mar 2019
    Iron tablets are very dangerous, just eat raw spinach everyday and other iron rich foods.
    28th Mar 2019
    Feeling tired is primarily a signal of just one thing: You are missing micronutrients from your diet. It also happens to be the cause of over-eating and becoming obese.

    There is a reason that nutritionists only recommend we eat 2 fruits (and 5 veges) a day. This reflects the falling nutritional value of our fresh produce and the growing sugar content of our fruits while fibre, antioxidant capacity and most of the other micronutrients plummet towards zero.

    If we seek out wild and near wild foods or supplement with a wild food preparation such as LIFE (Lyophilized Indigenous Food Essentials) then we lose the hidden hunger from our micronutrient deficiency. We feed beneficial gut organisms and help them to prosper and dominate our gut flora. We improve our circulation and help our cells remove waste and get nutrients for their health. And a bunch of other things.

    Micronutrients keep us looking younger, feeling and sleeping better and ageing slower.
    31st Mar 2019
    I get enough micro-nutrients from fresh green leafy veg, I also sprout my own sunflower seeds, I do not eat animal products and never tested to be low in anything. I do though mostly eat organic produces, or local not supermarket stuff that has been stored for too long. If you grow a few leafy veggies it can make up for it as long as you eat it everyday raw.
    31st Mar 2019
    Get off the junky processed foods and eat wholefoods, lot of raw and you will feel better. Adding raw spinach every day to a meal will give you so much nutrients and a good salad everyday (lots of mixed ingredients, not just lettuce and tomato) and heaps of fruit every morning. Give up all stimulants, anything with caffeine in it, yes including chocolate.

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