Constantly tired? This could be why

General Health

Could there be more to blame for your tiredness and fatigue than 'just another busy day at the office'?

08/11/2018


Emily Condon
BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences

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Britain is suffering from an epidemic of sleeplessness with a significant percentage of working adults being sleep deprived [i]. In our modern-day world, with work pressures, long working hours and the constant buzz of our phones, on top of juggling a busy family life, it is harder than ever to switch off and relax. For many, feeling drained and tired has become the norm and seems to be the expected result of a day where 24 hours is not enough time to complete the never-ending to-do list. However, not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to our health and cause a range of problems including a weakened immune system, weight gain and cognitive impairment, so it is very important to get enough sleep. 

Are you tired all the time?

If you find yourself feeling exhausted even when you have had a good night's sleep, it can be difficult to know whether you are simply doing too much or if there is an underlying reason as to why you are constantly sleepy. Medichecks' Tiredness and Fatigue Check offers an easy way to rule out some of the most common and treatable causes of fatigue. 

  1. Low iron: Iron is an element that we require for many different bodily processes such as creating new red blood cells, carrying oxygen around our body and strengthening our immune system. Low iron levels can lead to a decrease in the amount of oxygen carried around the body which eventually leads to iron deficiency anaemia.
  2. Thyroid disease: The thyroid is responsible for producing key hormones which affect almost every cell in the body. The two main thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). An underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, occurs when the gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormones, ultimately slowing down the body’s metabolism. Fatigue is a symptom of hypothyroidism.
  3. Low Vitamin D: Vitamin D, which is commonly referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is important in maintaining healthy teeth, muscles and bones. Many of us in the UK are vitamin D deficient - with symptoms including fatigue.
  4. Low Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is necessary for keeping blood cells healthy and helping to make DNA - the important genetic material present in all our cells. Low B12 levels can lead to anaemia and symptoms including fatigue, feeling faint and constant headaches. 

Could your hormones be disrupting your sleep?

Hormones control many different processes in the body and determine your mood, energy levels, weight and temperature. One of the most important hormones to get right for your sleep is cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands and has a natural diurnal rhythm. Cortisol is highest in the morning, usually peaking half an hour after we wake (the cortisol awakening response) to prepare our bodies for the day's activities. Cortisol levels gradually decline throughout the day and should be lowest just before bedtime to help us sleep. Cortisol also helps us manage stress, but too much stress in our lives can cause disruptions to our normal rhythm. If levels are high at night it will be more difficult than usual to get to sleep. Try to reduce the stress in your life by allowing more time for relaxation, especially before bed, when it is important to put aside your tablet or smart phone and introduce some calm into your evening. 

Get Medichecked

Don’t just assume feeling tired is part of a busy lifestyle and something you must put up with. Feeling tired all the time is one of the most common reasons why people visit their doctor, but sometimes finding out the reasons for your symptoms can be a journey of trial and error. Our Tiredness and Fatigue Checks and Cortisol Saliva Tests can help you to get to the cause of your low energy levels and why you might be finding it difficult to get to sleep at night.


[i] Campbell, D. (2018). Britons told to get a good night’s sleep. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/feb/25/britons-epidemic-sleeplessness-damaging-health [Accessed 7 Nov. 2018].


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