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Why am I so Tired?

Tired young african american man feeling stressful while working from home

Do you often find yourself wondering, “Why am I so tired?”. If you do, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, fatigue and tiredness are one the of the most common primary complaints in general practice.  It’s normal to feel tired occasionally, however the reasons for chronic tiredness can vary widely. This heavy sense of weariness can manifest in different ways, affecting your daily life, work, relationships, and overall sense of wellbeing. The good news is that you can do something about it and help is at hand.

HOW TIREDNESS MIGHT PRESENT ITSELF:

  • Lack of Energy: Struggling with mental or physical exhaustion.
  • Mood disturbances: Increased irritability, mood swings, and heightened sensitivity to stress; hindering daily activities.
  • Drowsiness: Battling to stay awake, only to find fatigue persists even after a night’s sleep.
  • Difficulty thinking: Encountering brain fog, making it challenging to focus or remember details.
  • Apathy: Losing motivation and interest in activities.

 

Fortunately, a thorough consultation and examination with one of our general practitioners can help highlight the cause and guide you in formulating a remedy for these symptoms.

LET’S EXPLORE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF TIREDNESS

  1. ESSENTIAL VITAMIN & MINERAL DEFICIENCY

Lack of essential vitamins and minerals (including iron, B vitamins, folate, vitamin D, Vitamin C, and magnesium) can lead to daily tiredness, even if you are getting enough sleep. Some deficiencies can result in anaemia (less red blood cells to carry nutrients and oxygen around the body), which is a common cause of tiredness and fatigue.

We may advise you to get laboratory blood analysis tests for this. Correcting deficiencies through diet or supplements often alleviates fatigue and tiredness.

  1. DIETARY IMPACT

Your diet significantly affects how you feel. A poorly balanced diet lacking in calories and nutrients, particularly protein, can lead to breakdown of fat and muscle, triggering fatigue. Diets high in ultra-processed foods and sugar can also impair energy levels. For example, a diet high in sugar may harm sleep and lead to chronically high blood sugar and insulin levels.

Maintaining a balanced diet that is rich in the nutrients your body needs is vital for the body to perform essential processes. We may recommend a dietician who can guide you towards a nutrient-dense and balanced diet that will boost your energy and overall wellbeing.

  1. UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITIONS

It is important to recognise that it is abnormal to feel exhausted constantly, which is why chronic fatigue requires a closer look, and might suggest an underlying medical condition. This is why seeing your GP can be important. We can take a detailed history and carry out comprehensive examinations to diagnose or rule out potential underlying medical conditions such as:

  • Hypothyroidism and other endocrine conditions
  • Cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Neurological disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sleep apnoea

Seeking medical advice and treatment for an underlying medical condition can address your concern and improve your overall health.

  1. POOR SLEEP PATTERNS

Poor quality sleep can be caused by a variety factors, and this can contribute significantly to daily tiredness. We all know that getting good sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing. A healthy adult normally needs around 7-9 hours of sleep. During sleep your body undergoes processes that promote physical restoration and repair. Tissues and muscles are repaired through the release of important hormones, whilst the immune system is also strengthened. As a result, you wake up feeling refreshed, alert, and energized after a night of good quality sleep.

Prioritizing good sleep hygiene is essential and can help improve your overall health. We can take a detailed history and conduct a thorough examination to help identify why your sleep patterns may be affected.

  1. LOW MOOD AND STRESS

Everyday stresses are normal and inevitable; however too much stress can affect our mood, body, and relationships. Chronic stress can induce physical and psychological changes in the brain, which can lead to chronic inflammation, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, as well as other long term medical conditions.

Our team of mental health specialists are here to help and provide the support you need, as well as make referrals to psychologists who can conduct necessary stress assessments.

  1. LIFESTYLE FACTORS

Excessive caffeine, inadequate hydration, drug or alcohol dependence, shift work, and sedentary lifestyles can all contribute to fatigue. Caffeine is a stimulant which makes you feel more aroused with its sudden boost of energy. However, it can also disrupt your regular sleep pattern, leading to tiredness, which inevitably encourages the cycle of consuming more caffeine to compensate! Moderating or eliminating caffeine completely may be more beneficial for you. If you are looking to eliminate caffeine altogether The Sleep Charity recommends that you reduce your intake gradually, as suddenly stopping it may lead to insomnia.

Hydration is important for maintaining energy levels especially when experiencing chronic tiredness. It is recommended that you drink around two litres of water daily. Many of the biophysical processes that occur within the body lead to a loss of water, which needs to be replenished. Dehydration occurs when you do not replace the water you are losing, leading to lower energy levels and tiredness.

Maintaining proper hydration, moderating caffeine intake, adopting regular exercises and addressing lifestyle choices are essential steps that you can take to combat tiredness.

  1. MEDICATION

Some medications, including steroids, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants may have side effects such as insomnia and increased tiredness. It is important to be aware of these effects and discuss viable alternatives with your GP.

Understanding the intricacies of tiredness and fatigue enables you to make informed choices for your wellbeing. There is no instant cure for tiredness, however if persistent tiredness is a concern for you, why not contact us and take a step towards a collaborative approach with one of our healthcare professionals. We are here to help guide you towards renewed energy and better overall health.