Fatigue is defined as a feeling of incessant tiredness, and there are many problems that can cause it; these can include medical conditions, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and work or family problems. Symptoms of fatigue are heavy eyelids, poor focus, and difficulty concentrating. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating disorder, and there are various medications that can give short-term benefits; however, the safest, healthiest, and cheapest way is making a few lifestyle changes that can permanently banish CFS. Read on to discover what these are.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
These substances, especially caffeine, give short-term feelings of “wakefulness” but will only leave you feeling more tired in the long run once the effects have worn off. Additionally, these can make sleeping at night very difficult, so fatigue during the day is exacerbated. Often, people with CFS will then use these drugs to keep them awake, but then they cannot sleep, leading to a vicious cycle of fatigue. If you currently consume a lot of these substances, it will help to cut down on them gradually, eventually avoiding them altogether.
Spend Time Relaxing
Stress is one of the main causes of fatigue; the stress response uses a lot of energy and suppresses metabolic functions, which regulate energy. Therefore, as a result of chronic stress, energy levels are lower than normal. Additionally, negative thought patterns and worries can lead to insomnia, which further worsens CFS. The ideal situation would be to avoid stressful situations, but this is not always possible in the modern age. Therefore, building stress management techniques - such as relaxation exercises - into your day is essential in managing fatigue.
Eating a good breakfast in the morning is one of the best ways to manage fatigue. Energy levels can dwindle in the morning if there is no energy intake, and this will lead to tiredness and lack of motivation. It is important to remember that you have not eaten for at least eight hours prior to getting up, so some sustenance is needed to give yourself that boost of energy to start the day. A healthy breakfast high in protein, fiber, and vitamin C should keep you feeling satiated and motivated throughout the morning until lunchtime.
This is common sense, but is worth reiterating. Fatigue is most of the time caused by lack of sleep, so sleeping well at bedtime will mean you are more alert when you need to be. Developing a good sleep routine will help reduce fatigue. This could include going to bed at roughly the same time every night, having a warm bath beforehand, and keeping the bedroom as a place just for sleeping or sex. This way, the mind will begin to associate the bedroom with relaxation and not work.
Fatigue can cause disruption to daily life, so dealing with it early on will lead to more productivity and efficiency. Lifestyle changes are the best place to start as they are the least risky and have most long-term effects. However, if the fatigue persists, it is important to seek medical advice, as it can sometimes be indicative of a serious health problem.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Treating the Most Disruptive Symptoms First. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/management/treating-symptoms.html
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (n.d). Relaxation Techniques for Health: An Introduction. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://nccam.nih.gov/sites/nccam.nih.gov/files/Backgrounder_Relaxation_02-20-2013.pdf?nav=gsa
- National Health Service UK. (2013). Chronic fatigue syndrome - Treatment. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Chronic-fatigue-syndrome/Pages/Treatment.aspx
- National Health Service UK. (2014). How to get to sleep. Retrieved September 4, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/insomnia/Pages/bedtimeritual.aspx