Last updated on September 2nd, 2019
Quality sleep is something many of us take for granted. Teenagers can sleep for hours and new parents crave the luxury! Once we start to age, sleep can sometimes become a little elusive in fact insomnia and fatigue can occur at any age and there are many causes, both environmental and health-related. Quality sleep enables you to wake up refreshed every morning ready to face the day’s challenges. Fatigue can have a huge effect on your daily life and definitely impairs how you function. There are so many causes of sleeplessness and fatigue, finding the culprit is half the battle. It’s important to really tune into your body and make necessary lifestyle changes in order to rectify the situation. It is important to remember that medical advice should be sought, especially if the tiredness comes on suddenly or is having a major impact on your life.
This article aims to highlight some of the most common causes of tiredness.
There are a number of health issues which may cause tiredness. Anemia is one of the main culprits, it is caused by a lack of iron in the blood which impairs the ability of red blood cells to work effectively. Anemia is common in women whilst in childbearing years, due to heavy periods and pregnancy. Anemia can also be caused by poor diet, issues with digestion and can be a symptom of many other health conditions. It is important to visit your doctor if you are feeling extreme tiredness so that the cause can be found. Iron tablets may be prescribed. Try to include lots of iron-rich foods in your diet, including red meat, eggs, and leafy green vegetables. Drink lots of fluids whilst taking iron tablets in order to prevent digestion issues.
Our home is our safe haven and we spend lots of time in it, eating, sleeping and socializing. However modern life has allowed a cocktail of toxins to build up within our homes. Formaldehyde is a chemical which is used in manufacturing processes in order to preserve products. Although formaldehyde naturally occurs in the environment, the extra addition of formaldehyde which is manmade has allowed levels to increase dramatically. Breathing in formaldehyde in unsafe levels causes a lack of energy, affects our ability to sleep and impairs our immune system. Formaldehyde is emitted from carpets, paint, soft furnishings, clothing and is even present in toiletries and products intended for use by babies. Try to wash items before use and open new packaging outside. Get into the habit of opening the windows every day in order to freshen the air.
Other causes of toxins within the home which may affect energy levels include mold, dust and pet dander.
Negative stress really impairs our ability to relax and sleep. Modern life can be high pressure and much of it is mental stress. Workplace stress is common and is one of the main causes of staff sickness. When we are stressed, our bodies enter “fight or flight” mode which causes a flood of chemicals and hormones to enter our bloodstream. These chemicals are useful in the short term and allow us to make quick decisions, problems start to occur if our bodies remain in fight or flight mode for long periods. If the hormones released during this process are not expelled they build up causing insomnia.
Stress sometimes tempts people to use props such as alcohol or drugs to try and combat the issue, however, this is only short term and the potential detrimental effect on the body is huge. It would be wise to wean yourself off all negative props, however, you may need assistance to help you do this effectively. Read Medication-Assisted Treatment: Fact vs Fiction for further information.
Your bed and your bedroom are essential components when trying to induce sleep. Many bedrooms in today’s modern lifestyle are multifunctional, perhaps it is your home office during the day or a place to do the ironing. When evening sets it is important to transform your bedroom into a calm sleep promoting oasis. Hide or remove all signs of technology as screens waken the mind rather than calm it. Try to decorate your room in subtle calming colors and consider the lighting. A dimmer switch and bedside lamps will create a cozy atmosphere. Blackout blinds will be useful to block out any outside light sources from headlights and streetlights.
The bed you sleep on is essential, particularly the mattress and pillows. Mattresses only have a certain amount of “life” before they should be replaced and your pillows should enable a good sleeping position, without causing strain on your neck and spine. Everyone sleeps differently so be sure to test new mattresses prior to purchase. Also consider the sheets and bedding you use, try to opt for natural fibers such as cotton which enable you to regulate your temperature more effectively.
Seasonal affective disorder
Seasonal affective disorder is common in the western world due to the lack of daylight in the winter months. A lack of sunlight causes a deficiency in vitamin D and an increase in melatonin which makes you sleepy. Serotonin levels also drop. Thankfully SAD can be treated effectively with certain supplements and light boxes, so consult your medical practitioner for advice.
Insomnia is a frustrating condition, as you feel intense tiredness but can’t sleep. It is a medically recognized condition, the result of which many sleep clinics have come into existence. Good quality sleep is key to how our whole body functions and a lack of sleep can cause many health problems and can even be dangerous. Often sufferers manage to fall asleep, only to wake in the early hours. Causes of insomnia include stress, anxiety, shift work, alcohol, caffeine, and jet lag. To help insomnia you could try adopting a regular bedtime routine, avoid taking your phone into the bedroom, avoid caffeine and reduce your alcohol consumption.
If sleeplessness is becoming an issue, don’t suffer, take action and seek medical advice.