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Large numbers of people are reporting to their GPs complaining of tiredness.

Experts say that 10% of us at any one time are suffering from persistent tiredness. Persistent tiredness is more common among women than men. General Practitioners say they regularly see patients who come in complaining of severe tiredness.

As a consequence of our busy and stressful modern lifestyles, most of us will at some time experience tiredness. On most occasions, fatigue can be relieved after a good night's sleep. However, this is not the case for everybody. Some people find that tiredness becomes a chronic problem which undermines their day-to-day functioning - i.e. it significantly affects their quality of life.

What are The Causes of Tiredness?

Tiredness can be caused by several different factors. Here is a list of some common causes of tiredness:

Chronic tiredness can become a vicious circle. If a person feels tired he may avoid most forms of physical activity. He could then become physically unfit and will be even more tired when trying to do something physical.

If your bodyweight is too high or too low for your height you may feel tired because of this. An overweight person's body has to work harder to do everyday things, compared to a person whose bodyweight is normal. A person who is underweight might have less muscle strength and will tire more easily.

If your thyroid gland is not working properly - if it is underactive - you might feel exhausted all the time. Patients who suffer from heart disease of heart failure tend to feel tired most of the time, as do patients with anemia.

Tiredness May Have Emotional or Mental Causes

Some stress can be invigorating - in fact, many of us need some kind of mental pressure to get going. However, when stress levels are too high they commonly trigger fatigue - stress and worry are two emotions that most frequently cause tiredness. If your stress reaches such a point that you are unable to see the 'light at the end of the tunnel', the sensation can be draining. Some people say that when they have no control over a situation it makes them feel frustrated, irritable and tired. Depression can lead to tiredness for many reasons. It could be the depression itself, or the patient may not sleep properly and feel tired as a result.

Your Lifestyle Could Be Making You Tired

There are some jobs which are more likely to cause tiredness. Nurses, firefighters, doctors, the police, and shift-workers in general may have irregular sleep patterns which will often cause tiredness.

If there is a baby in the house you may find that getting a good night's sleep is a distant memory. Small children may often cause their parent(s) to sleep less.

If you consume too many caffeinated or alcoholic drinks your ability to fall or stay asleep may be affected, especially if you consume them close to your bedtime.

How Do People Define Tiredness?

Patients who experience tiredness say:

What You Can Do To Help Yourself?

Endeavour to get decent sleep

Aim for regular sleep patterns; go to bed and rise at the same time each day

Ensure that your bedroom is not too hot or too cold

Make sure your thoughts and activities are relaxing ones as bedtime approaches.

Perhaps listen to calming music or have a warm bath prior to going to bed.

Try and clear your mind of worrying thoughts as bed time approaches

Some people find that writing their thoughts down in a diary or on a note pad helps

Eat and drink in a way that aids your sleep

Eat a balanced diet people who eat a well balanced diet tend to be better sleepers than those who do not.

If you are too thin it is advised to eat more.

If you are over weight eat it is advised to eat less

Crash dieting can cause you to have sleep problems

Try not to consume caffeine and /or alcohol of an evening.

Some people find that cutting caffeine and alcohol out totally helps.


Become physically more active

Remember that vicious circle. Unfit people are more likely to feel tired, meaning they often don't exercise enough. You need to break that cycle. Make sure your physical activity increases gradually. Dozens of studies have shown that people who exercise regularly enjoy better sleep than those who don't.

Usually tiredness can be solved by following some simple steps; getting some good and regular sleep and changing your lifestyle. In some cases, however, chronic tiredness can have a major impact on your life. If the simple steps cannot solve your problem, you should seek professional help.

Sources: NHS, Medical New Today

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