Eight ways to beat fatigue

1.Try to get a good night’s sleep. It rejuvenates the mind and body. Many people who complain of tiredness are not sleeping enough. Persistent lack of sleep leads to fatigue, irritability, tension and inefficiency.

Do not go too bed either too full or hungry as both may cause physical discomfort making it difficult to sleep through the night. Be sure to exercise regularly and get some fresh air. Research indicates that people who get adequate natural daylight tend to sleep better at night. Experts say natural light can be up to 30 times more intense than the brightest artificial light. Our biological clocks need daylight to trigger the melatonin which helps us to sleep.

Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. Going to bed at irregular times prevents our biological clocks from synchronising with the awake system.

Try to avoid exciting or emotionally upsetting activities too close to bedtime. They fire up our systems, may induce muscle tension and prepare the body for action.

Drinking hot milk before bedtime may help you sleep. Avoid stimulants, such as coffee, tea, cola drinks and highly spiced foods after 5pm. They make it harder to fall and stay asleep.

Taking long afternoon naps can interfere with night-time sleeping patterns. If you need to have a lie down do not do so for longer than 30 minutes. If possible, avoid napping as it lessens the need for night-time sleep.

2. Ensure you have a balanced diet. Firstly, make sure you eat breakfast. This meal not only breaks your long overnight fast and aids concentration it also lays down the foundation for healthy eating for the rest of the day. Research reveals that the omission of this important first meal of the day results in poor physical and mental performance later in the day. Wholemeal or bran cereals with milk and topped with fruit give a good start to the day together with an orange or unsweetened juice and some wholemeal bread.

Keeping blood sugar levels stable is important to ward off fatigue. Some experts suggest eating something every three to four hours. This will help sustain your energy levels and prevent you overeating at one sitting.

Choose fresh, wholesome and organic foods and ensure you have variety. Rotate foods and experiment with new ones. This means more nutrients for the body and may help prevent food allergies or intolerances developing. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread as well as wholegrain cereals, pastas, lean meat, fish, cheese, eggs and salads. Cut out caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evenings.

3. Rule out any health concerns by visiting your doctor. Iron deficiency anaemia is said to be one of the most common nutrient deficiencies and can cause tiredness. An underactive thyroid gland can sap your energy, too or depression may be at the root cause of your fatigue. A routine check-up at your GP’s surgery will uncover any issues which may be contributing to your fatigued state.

4. Stay hydrated. This can help prevent tiredness. Water is an essential nutrient and is best taken between meals or half an hour before or one hour after. The recommended daily amount is two litres but even a few glasses throughout the day will help.

5. Reduce stress. This is a major cause of tiredness and lack of energy. It can be job related involving redundancy concerns, excessive workloads, role ambiguity or poor relationships between staff and management or home and family related.

Start by identifying all the stressors in your life then try to draw up ways of tackling them. You may not be able to solve some problems but altering the way you think about them may help. Ask trusted friends or relations for advice if you value their opinions. Sometimes an outsider’s perspective can help bring clarity to a situation.

Sometimes there is not any particular reason for feeling tired, the cause may be a combination of factors. You may be recovering from illness, be moving house, suffered a bereavement, be pregnant or be drinking too much. These may stretch your coping resources to the limit and leave you feeling worn out.

Remember to try to switch off when you leave work, or home, if that is causing you stress. Aim to incorporate stress relieving measures into your life which will help you relax. Listening to music, having a hot bath or massage or just chilling out with a good book in front of the fire may help.

6. Exercise. If you feel tired it may be the last thing you want to do but it will help increase your energy levels. Aim for 30 minutes a day. Exercise allows you release tension and anger and helps boost feelgood chemicals in the body. A short brisk walk a few times a week, a run, swim or game of football are all ideal ways to get you moving.

7. Aim to go outdoors each day. Sometimes if we are feeling fatigued we are not inclined to make the effort to go out yet getting some fresh air is good for our health. Being stuck indoors at a desk all day can bring on feelings of tiredness. Make the most of the brighter days by stretching your legs and breathing in the fresh air.

8. Slow down. Tiredness often stems from trying to do too much. There are not enough hours in the day for some people. Juggling a myriad roles, wanting to keep everyone happy, not being able to say “no” and setting overly high standards for yourself can all put enormous pressure on you. Having balance in your life is important and will help you perform more efficiently and stay healthy. If you feel overburdened look at ways of reducing your load. Enlist the help of supportive friends or colleagues, if necessary. Examine your priorities and when you have a snapshot of how you are spending your time consider if you are making the best use of them or if you are wasting valuable time and stressing yourself out doing unimportant chores. Try to have realistic expectations too and be selective. The more you take on and try to pack into each day the more your energy and time will be diluted and the less likely you will be to achieve your targets. Research indicates we spend up to 80 per cent of our time on non-essential tasks. Abandon these and you will have more time and will be less tired.

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