The UK has been in lockdown since Monday, March 23, meaning we have been cooped up indoors for the best part of five weeks. You’d think that less time running in the rat race, sweating buckets in the gym, and dancing the night away in clubs would leave you feeling energised and fit as a fiddle. So why do we all feel drained when all we are doing is sitting on the sofa and relaxing at home?
Why do I feel tired all the time?
According to the NHS website, feeling sleepy all the time is extremely common and there are a few reasons to explain it.
The site said before you chat with your GP, you should try and work out what is making you feel so tired. You should consider:
• parts of your life, such as work and family, that might be particularly tiring
• any events that may have triggered your tiredness, such as bereavement or a relationship break-up
• how your lifestyle may be making you tired
It’s safe to say that everyone’s lifestyle has taken a turn recently.
Maybe you are overworking yourself and putting in extra hours while working from home?
Perhaps home-schooling the kids is draining? Or maybe you are spending too long staring at the television screen?
When a GP is trying to get to the bottom of a patient’s tiredness, they consider psychological causes, physical causes, and lifestyle causes.
Express.co.uk breaks down all three causes to help you figure out why you are lacking in energy.
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Sleep: You may be overworking yourself, leaving you feeling drained
Psychological causes of tiredness
Do you feel like you feel tired as soon as your eyes open in the morning, and you struggle to get to sleep at night?
If so, the root cause of your tiredness may have to do with your mental health.
This cause of tiredness is much more common than physical causes, according to the NHS website.
Extreme tiredness could be down to stress, and the daily strains of lockdown life are raising your cortisol levels.
The world is topsy turvy at the moment, so your tiredness might be connected to the shock of the pandemic.
COVID-19 has caused redundancies, deaths, and is also leading to relationship breakdowns.
If you are affected by a negative change like this, it could be keeping you up at night and leaving you exhausted.
Sleep: Having to teach, look after, and entertain the kids may be leaving you with little ‘me-time’
It’s normal to have good days and bad days, but feeling down every day is a problem.
The NHS website says: “If you feel sad, low and lacking in energy, and you also wake up tired, you may have depression.”
Perhaps you already have depression but the pandemic is exacerbating your symptoms.
Give your GP a ring to see what you can do about it.
Feelings of anxiety are extremely common right now, with uncertainty about the future creating a sense of nervousness.
According to the NHS: “If you have constant uncontrollable feelings of anxiety, you may have what doctors call generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
“As well as feeling worried and irritable, people with GAD often feel tired. See a GP, as medication and talking therapies can help.
“If you think your tiredness may be a result of low mood or anxiety, try this short audio guide to dealing with your sleep problems.”
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Physical causes of tiredness
If you are pretty relaxed about coronavirus and find spending more at home a breeze, you may be physically tired.
There are several health conditions that can make you feel tired or exhausted. These include:
• underactive thyroid
• sleep apnoea
If you don’t have any of the above, there are a few other reasons. Your tiredness could also be the result of:
• pregnancy – particularly in the first 12 weeks
• being overweight or obese – your body has to work harder to do everyday activities
• being underweight – poor muscle strength can make you tire more easily
• cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy
• carbon monoxide poisoning – especially if your gas boiler has not been serviced regularly
• side effects of medicines and some herbal remedies
If you have been feeling constantly tired for more than 4 weeks, it’s a good idea to ring up your GP so they can confirm or rule out a medical condition that could be causing your tiredness.
Sleep: Check with your GP if your tiredness won’t subside
Lifestyle causes of tiredness
Now more than ever it is tempting to quit your healthy diet and let yourself go. After all, who is going to see you?
The NHS website explains: “In today’s 24/7 “always on” world, we often try to cram too much into our daily lives.
“And to try to stay on top of things, we sometimes consume too much alcohol or caffeine, or eat sugary and high-fat snacks on the go rather than sitting down for a proper meal.”
Drinking too much interferes with your quality of sleep, so you shouldn’t be drinking any more than 14 units a week. This applies to both men and women
Sleep: Avoid drinking caffeine, as it upsets your sleep
Did you know that too little exercise affects your tiredness just as too much exercise would?
Being sat down for too long will make you feel sluggish. Exercising puts a spring in your step, so don’t skip your daily workout because you feel ‘too tired’.
That’s right, too much caffeine will upset your sleep and make you feel wound-up and tired.
Caffeine- found in tea, coffee, some fizzy drinks, and energy drinks- is a stimulant.
If you are a key worker who is working night shifts, you are understandably exhausted.
Even if you work at home and you switch between early shifts and night shifts, your sleeping pattern is going to be disrupted