An insight into why you may always feel tired and how to reenergize yourself |14 August 2019
Feeling tired or hearing other people around us saying how tired they feel is not unusual; we have all experienced it, especially after a long day at work or following physical activity.
However, tiredness is a feeling that we have control over, according to Dr Salma Farook, who shares with us a number of solutions that can help to give us more energy and allow us to fully enjoy our lives.
Dr Farook is a medical officer at the Seychelles Hospital and the editor in chief for Seychelles’ only medical magazine – The Pulse (Doctors4DoctorsSeychelles).
She is also the author of ‘What Your Soul Already Knows’ - a self-help book about attaining happiness and resilience in the face of adversity. Her second book, a collection of poetry, will be out in November 2019.
Seychelles NATION: What is the meaning of tiredness?
Dr Farook: A feeling of a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment, usually accompanied by a sense of weariness and fatigue.
Tiredness is not a singular symptom that defines any one particular disease. Rather, tiredness can be a symptom of many different diseases and conditions.
Seychelles NATION: We very often hear people say they are tired; are we really tired or is it more of a habitual phrase?
Dr Farook: Tiredness is subjective and each person perceives it differently. We live in a fast paced world with many stress factors, physical, psychological and emotional.
However, it’s a variable that we have control over. If we make sure to be more self-aware, we can better identify the cause of tiredness and how to react to it depending on the cause.
Seychelles NATION: What are some factors that cause people to feel tired?
Dr Farook: Although some causes of tiredness can be alarming, most of the time it’s due to basic flaws in our lifestyle. Poor sleeping habits, an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle, mental stress and a range of medical conditions from a simple anemia to cancer.
The quality of our life depends on our willingness to put in effort towards it. When you find yourself feeling tired, before thinking about any medical causes and worrying to no ends, we should ask ourselves four important questions:
1. Am I sleeping well?
2. Am I eating well?
3. Am I physically active?
4. Am I emotionally stressed?
Seychelles NATION: What can we do to feel less tired and more energized?
Dr Farook: We need 7- 8 hours of quality sleep and if you’re not getting that, there are a few things you should do:
- Maintain a consistent sleep routine. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends.
- Avoid naps. We need a certain amount of sleep within a 24-hour period and no more than that. Napping reduces the amount of sleep that we require the following night, which might lead to difficulty getting to sleep and fragmented sleep.
- Limit time awake in bed to 5–10 minutes. If you find that you are lying awake in bed worrying or with your mind racing, get out of bed and sit in the dark until you are feeling sleepy, then go back to bed.
- Ensure that your bedroom is quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature. Any light that enters your room could disturb your sleep. Ensure that your room is dark and that light emitted from digital devices is out of sight. Cooler room temperatures are considered better to promote sleep than warmer temperatures.
- Limit caffeinated drinks. Try not to consume caffeinated beverages after noon. The stimulating effects of caffeine can last for many hours after intake and cause issues with initiating sleep.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol before bed. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol before going to bed may cause fragmented sleep.
- Eat the right amount of calories for your sex, age, weight and activity level. Eating either too much or too little can make you feel sluggish.
- Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Be sure to focus on eating whole fruits and a selection of vegetables.
- Never skip breakfast. Regularly skipping breakfast can lead to you missing out on key nutrients and the energy that you need to kick-start your day.
- Eat at regular intervals. Sustain your energy levels by eating three meals per day and limiting unhealthful snacks.
- Drink enough water. Drinking water can help to prevent dehydration which results in fatigue, unclear thinking, mood changes, overheating, and constipation.
- It’s recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week. Although this sounds like a lot, it’s similar to the time we would spend watching a movie!
- Exercise would also help in regulating sleep patterns and in appetite control.
If after making all these lifestyle changes, you still feel tired, and especially if it’s associated with loss of weight and loss of appetite, then it would definitely be advisable to consult a doctor.