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Daytime fatigue: Causes, prevention and cure

Some days you?re so low on energy that you?re drowsy by lunchtime and in need of a nap by mid afternoon. What?s making you tired all the time?
PTI | By Dr Ashutosh Shukla
PUBLISHED ON NOV 22, 2004 05:06 PM IST

Some days you’re so low on energy that you’re drowsy by lunchtime and in need of a nap by mid afternoon. What’s making you tired all the time?

Tiredness and fatigue are two different things. Tiredness happens to everyone at one time or another. It is the normal feeling that is felt at the end of a long day. Typically you will know why you are tired and a good night's sleep will restore you to normal.

Fatigue is a daily lack of energy, an unusual or excessive whole-body exhaustion that is not relieved by sleep. Fatigue can be acute or chronic and can prevent a person from functioning normally; ultimately it affects a person's quality of life.

How can you tell if you are fatigued or just a little tired? The following are good indications of fatigue: Tired feeling that lingers for more than one week, Achy muscle or joints, Inability to concentrate, reduced productivity, decreased socialization, Irritability, lack of motivation, anxiety, stress, nervousness, fatigue can have a variety of lifestyle causes, including:

Lack of sleep. Getting even an hour less than the sound slumber you need each night can leave you drowsy and unable to manage your daily routine. You may not go to bed early enough. Or more likely, you go to bed but can't sleep well. As you get older, it becomes harder to get uninterrupted sleep. You sleep less soundly. You awaken earlier.

Stress and anxiety. If you're running from one task to the next without a break, it's eventually going to wear you down. Going through life anxious and on edge can keep you from relaxing and getting the rest you need.
 
Inactivity. You are too tired to exercise, so you don't. But then when you do exert yourself, you tire easily because you're out of shape. Engaging in moderate physical activity for a half-hour most days of the week may decrease stress, improve mood and leave you feeling energized. Don't schedule your activity too close to bedtime, though, or you might have trouble falling asleep.

Eating habits. Eating a well-balanced diet will help you get adequate amounts of food, vitamins and minerals your body needs to get through the day. Eat at least three meals per day, do not skip breakfast (as this boosts your metabolism for the day) and eat foods from the main food groups (bread, meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables) at every meal.

Certain medications. Some medications, including many beta blockers and antihistamines, can cause fatigue. In addition, some cold medications and pain relievers contain caffeine and other stimulants that can keep you up at night.

Certain undiagnosed medical conditions which can present with fatigue include: Anaemia, sleep apnea syndrome, infections, cancers, diabetes, frequent headaches, cardiac diseases, thyroid disorders, hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome. Consult your doctor if you feel any of the above conditions may be the cause of fatigue in your case.

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