Is this why you’re always tired?

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.

Written by Janelle Ward

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