“Why Am I So Tired?” is probably one of the most common questions I see on friend’s Facebook pages and I have to bite my tongue when I see some of the answers! Tiredness or fatigue has so many causes that it’s impossible to say what’s going on, and what we should do about it, without digging a bit deeper. The problem is that the well-meaning advice given can sometimes do more harm than good, so it’s useful to understand some of the possible causes, and what to do.
The Most Likely Reason For Being Tired
This is really simple. You may have just been doing too much for the amount of quality sleep you’re getting. We live such busy lives nowadays that it’s vital we get enough sleep in order to repair and recharge. For those who work shifts, have young children or elderly parents to care for, this is much easier said than done, and herbal medicine can really help the body to cope with chronic lack of sleep which can’t be helped. Insomnia also has a massive impact on our energy levels, and as we approach winter and the light levels change, many people will find their sleep disrupted. That inevitably leads to fatigue during the day but also poor memory and concentration, which can cause havoc at work.
Other Reasons For Being Tired
If you’ve ruled out lack of sleep as being a cause, here are some others to think about:
· Hormone imbalance. This is also very common and can affect men as well as women. Chronic stress can make it difficult for the glands which produce our stress and reproductive hormones to work properly, leading us feeling constantly exhausted. This is a particular problem during perimenopause in women, and ‘manopause’ (male menopause) in men.
· Pre Diabetic states, or Type 2 Diabetes is related to hormone imbalance, but much can be done by improving diet and lifestyle. Blood sugar problems often cause energy slumps during the day.
· Chronic infection. Stealth infections like Lyme Disease are more common than we first realised and will often have other symptoms alongside the tiredness. People with CFS and Fibromyalgia sometimes test positive for chronic viral infections as well.
· Liver or kidney problems will impact upon energy levels, although by my standards any disease will need to be fairly advanced before they show up on any blood tests.
· Iron deficiency or excess. It’s not uncommon to have an Iron deficiency, especially in women of childbearing age, but it needs looking into. Likewise, men, and post menopausal women can occasionally experience fatigue from Iron excess and may go on to be diagnosed with a genetic condition like Haemochromatosis.
· Vitamin or mineral deficiency. Even minor deficiencies of key nutrients can cause chronic fatigue.
· Cancer is the least likely cause but as it’s becoming more common now, it’s important to know what to look for and go straight to your GP if you’re worried. There’s more information about the signs and symptoms of cancer here.
What To Do If You’re Always Tired
If you can’t think of any reason why you’re tired, or you’re experiencing other symptoms as well, make an appointment
with your GP and discuss it with them. It’s likely that you’ll have some blood tests to look into what’s going on, and if anything is found, you’ll be offered treatment.
But often the tests don’t find anything, so the Doctor can’t offer any treatment and you’re left to get on with it. If this happens, come and see me! I successfully work with patients like this all the time and we get good results largely because I can spend more time getting to the bottom of what’s happening. Get in touch now and tell me what’s been going on for you.