Ask the doctor: Why am I always tired?

Q. Why am I always tired? Do I need to see a doctor for this? 

A. Being chronically tired can simply be due to your multi-tasking with juggling your hectic work schedule and family responsibilities. Along with stress, this is a common problem that we face today.

stress sleep 300x199 Ask the doctor: Why am I always tired? Photo

Is stress keeping you from sleeping?

The question you are really asking is “Can it be the sign of something serious?”

Before you jump to your worst fears, there are a few steps that you can take.

 

Action steps

Cut down on sleep deprivation. Avoid caffeine and alcohol for several hours prior to bedtime, turn the radio and television off, and use black-out curtains or blinds. 

Cut out blood sugar swings. Eat balanced meals with fruits, vegetables and protein. Don’t reach for foods with high sugar or caffeine. It may be a temporary fix to energy but then the sugar level can take a quick dive.

Participate in soothing activities before bed. Taking a warm bath or shower can be not only very comforting, but sleep inducing as well. Have a cup of warm milk and don’t engage in heavy exercise within three hours of bedtime.

Exercise during the day. This may seem counterintuitive if you are already tired or just don’t have the time, but invigorating exercise for a few minutes during the day, actually gives you an energy boost.

Relieve stress. Consider meditation or imagery to remove tension.

Try these measures for 2-3 months to see if your energy returns. If not, a further evaluation would be a good idea.

 

Conditions Linked to Chronic Tiredness

  • Anemia: Low blood count. This is evaluated with a simple blood test and can usually be solved with supplements if iron deficiency is causing the anemia. Eat iron-rich foods like dark, leafy greens and meats.
  • Thyroid Problem: When the thyroid does not function properly either too fast or too slow, lethargy and fatigue can be a symptom. This is what controls your metabolism and can be tested with a blood test for thyroid-stimulating hormone.
  • Depression: Overwhelming sadness and loss of appetite with no pleasure in the things that you once enjoyed, may be signaling depression, which can be treated.
  • Diabetes: low sugar levels and uncontrolled swings can contribute to fatigue.
  • Sleep Apnea: Breathing interruption during your sleep can interrupt your sleeping pattern and occurs many times in a night causing insomnia. This can be tested in a sleep lab and is treatable.
  • Heart Condition: if you are chronically tired and have shortness of breath on exertion, this may be a sign of heart problems.

 

Before considering a serious condition, eliminate the stress, improve the diet and change your habits. Not only may it alleviate that draggy feeling, it may actually rejuvenate you, making you feel better than you’ve been in a long time!

 

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