Fatigue is an extreme form of tiredness, and is something that affects everybody from time to time. It can be due to something as simple as a bad night's sleep, but if you are feeling tired all the time, there may be a more serious reason.
What Causes Fatigue?
There are a number of different medical conditions which can cause fatigue and if you feel tired all the time then you should ask your physician to run some tests. Some of the most common medical causes of fatigue are:
- Underactive thyroid
- Coeliac disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Sleep problems such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome
Fatigue can also be caused by certain lifestyle factors. Once your physician has ruled out an underlying medical condition, it is important to look at your daily habits too. The most common, non-medical causes of fatigue include:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Shift work
- Poor diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Being overweight or underweight
- Alcohol or recreational drug use
Why is Sleep so Important?
One of the most obvious causes of fatigue is lack of sleep, and not getting the recommended eight hours can also have far more serious consequences for your health. Not only can fatigue cause you to feel tired and irritable, it can also reduce your ability to concentrate and increases the risk of accidents at home or at work.
Lack of sleep has also been linked with other health issues such as weight gain, increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, lowered immunity, decreased sex drive and reduced fertility. This is why it is so important to make sure that you are getting plenty of sleep each night.
How to Improve Your Sleep Naturally
The best way to improve your sleep naturally is to set a regular bedtime and stick to it. This will help your body to get into a routine and fall asleep more easily.
Make sure your bedroom is cool and comfortable. Keep it clean and tidy, avoid clutter and use blackout curtains if necessary to keep light to a minimum.
Do not get into bed until you are almost ready to sleep. You can read a book in bed to help you relax, but avoid looking at electronic screens just before bed. These give off light which interferes with your body's production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone which makes you feel sleepy and its release is triggered by darkness. This is why dimming the lights in the evening is another effective way to improve your sleep naturally.
Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee or cola in the evenings and try not to eat your evening meal too late. Eating late can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable, making getting off to sleep more difficult.
If you are feeling stressed or worried, try some calming breathing exercises or listen to a guided meditation before bed. This should help you to relax into a deep and peaceful sleep.
Acupuncture for Fatigue
Acupuncture is an ancient therapy which works by placing fine needles at specific points on the body to maintain health and treat disease. One of the main aims of acupuncture is to restore balance to the body and mind. Because of this, it is able to calm and relax if you are feeling stressed, or to give you a much needed energy boost if you are suffering from fatigue.
Acupuncture for fatigue works by affecting your nervous system and regulating the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals which are responsible for your mood and emotions on a daily basis, and any imbalance in them can result in symptoms such as fatigue.
Acupuncture also boosts melatonin levels, and so can naturally improve your sleep and allow you to wake up feeling refreshed in the mornings. Acupuncture is an extremely relaxing therapy, and many people fall asleep during a treatment. However, most people report feeling energized following a session and for a few days afterwards.
Your acupuncturist will also give you personalized lifestyle and dietary advice in order to beat your fatigue and improve your general health and well-being.