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Updated on April 22, 2013


Day in, day out; millions of people all over the world complain of being tired.  Most blame this on the fact that they lead hectic and busy lives.  How would it sound to you if I told you that this probably isn’t the real reason?

To find out the reason for your tiredness you need to examine your lifestyle. 

·         What do you eat?

·         How stressed are you?

·         How well do you sleep

·         What things do you do on a daily basis?

You may by now be asking yourself what you can do to get some vim and vigour back into your life.  Well I suggest you read on and find out how to combat your major fatigue inducing factors.


Good quality, restorative sleep is essential if you are to function normally.  How do you expect to be able to work effectively if you are worn out all day?  Try these tips to clean up your sleep act.

  • If you haven’t fallen asleep within 15 minutes of going to bed or if you waken and can’t get back off then don’t just lay there fuming and getting stressed.  Instead get up and do something like the ironing or read a magazine. Sewing and knitting can be sleep inducing too.  Don’t put on the radio or TV and don’t go on the Internet as this will just set your mind off working overtime.  Go back to bed once you feel tired and you should drop off easily.
  • Don’t be tempted to have a shot of alcohol just before bed.  Ok it might make you drowsy and you’ll probably nod off quite quickly you will more than likely waken up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back off again.  If you are going to have an alcoholic drink or two make sure you have your last one about two hours before you go to bed.
  •  Re-decorate your bedroom; make it a peaceful place to be.  Get rid of anything that reminds you of work.  You need to relax not be reminded of what you have to do tomorrow.
  • Try not to watch TV after about 8 or 9pm because the light from the screen will suppress melatonin production.  Melatonin is the hormone which tells your brain it’s nighttime. If you absorb the light from the TV or computer screen then your melatonin levels will be low and your brain will assume its day time and refuse to slow down enough for you to get a good night’s sleep.
  •  Buy blackout curtains to eliminate light from streetlights from your bedroom.  If your TV, computer or phone has a standby light turn it off or if you can’t turn it off block it out with a piece of black electrical tape.
  •  Make sure you get plenty of exercise during the day; it will energise you then and it will help you to fall asleep faster when you go to bed.  Exercise has also been proven to help you to wake up less often in the night and to have a deeper sleep pattern.  Try walking to work rather than going by public transport or car.  This will also give you time to think and problem solve the things that are keeping you awake at night.
  •  Don’t eat immediately before bed because your body will work overtime trying to digest it. Also indigestion is not a great sleep inducer.
  • Try sprinkling lavender oil on your pillow or buying a sleep inducing hop pillow
  •  If you are going through a particularly stressful time; instead of lying awake all night mulling everything over get out your pad and pen.  Write down the things that are bothering you during the day and try to work out solutions before you go to bed.   If you use public transport to get to work this is the perfect time to come up with strategies and ideas to solve your problems.
  •  If you have a snoring partner or outside noise is a problem wear ear plugs to cut out the racket.
  •  Place your alarm clock where you can’t see it.  You don’t need the added pressure of working out how many hours sleep you will have before get up time.
  • Keep your cool. Don’t have the central heating on all night.  Being too hot can stop you sleeping.  The body temperature naturally drops when we are asleep but if we keep it artificially high our sleep pattern can be disrupted.
  • Cut out all caffeine.  Don’t drink tea, coffee, cola or hot chocolate before bed (or eatanything containing chocolate)


All of us to some extent suffer from mental strain and stress.  It can completely exhaust you  so try these tips to reduce it and get your love of life back.

  • Try out some voluntary work.  It really does boost your self esteem and enhance the feelgood factor.
  • Do some Yoga or Tai Chi.  Reiki is a good stress reliever too.  We can learn a lot from our Oriental neighbours.
  •  Have a good heart to heart with a trusted friend or counsellor.  Get all the negative stuff out and your energy won’t be drained by bottling up all your anxieties and fears.
  • Read an inspiring book
  •  If you’re feeling low; instead of moping around in your joggers get dressed up and give yourself a mental boost.  If you look good you feel good.
  • Forgive yourself for your inadequacies and ditch your guilt for events that you really had no control over.
  • If you bear grudges you will put yourself into a state of chronic stress which can affect your immune system and lead to exhaustion in the long run.  Try to forgive whatever or whoever caused the grudge.
  •  Prioritize your day.  Try and get the nasty things out of the way first.  And vary your routine.  Take a different route to work or change the way in which you do a particular task.
  • Make sure you breathe properly.  Go for deep breaths from your diaphragm not your chest.  This maximises oxygen supplies to the brain and energizes you.
  • Treat yourself to a massage or beauty treatment.  It can work wonders.
  • Take a shower when you’re feeling at rock bottom; it can literally wash away your cares.  An indoor fountain or water feature can also help to combat stress.
  • Try to see the positive side of everything rather than the negative.
  •  Music can transform your mood and dispel fatigue in seconds.  So whenever you’re feeling jaded put on your favourite CD.


If we put the wrong fuel in our tanks we won’t work properly.  Just as a car will not run on the wrong type of fuel; nor will our bodies.  Adopt the nutritional strategies below to fight the fatigue.

  • Start out the day with a good breakfast.  I know a lot of people who can’t face breakfast but it really is a fantastic energy booster.   Oats are a tasty way to get a fast fibre filled energy boost. Try a fruit smoothie to drink or yoghurt if you can’t face a bowl of cereal.
  • Never go longer than 4 hours without food.  I find I feel much better if I eat every three hours.  I have a nutritious breakfast around 7 am and then about 10am I have some seeds, almonds or walnuts and a drink of fruit juice.  Lunch at 1pm followed by another snack at about 4pm, maybe a couple of wholemeal crackers with a little cheese or some carrot sticks with Hummus.  Dinner at 7 and a milky drink at 10pm just before bed.
  • Don’t eat enormous meals.  This causes hikes in blood sugar which in turn cause fatigue.  Smaller meals at shorter intervals help to keep blood sugar balanced.  
  • Drink plenty of water and cut down on caffeinated drinks.
  • Cut down or cut out refined carbohydrates such as white pasta, white rice, white bread and pastry. Go for the higher fibre options instead which slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into the body.
  • Eat beans and pulses which boost iron stocks (especially in women).  Depleted iron stores  (anaemia)can cause fatigue.  Inulin, the chemical found in alliums such as onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes can also prevent anaemia.
  • Eat plenty of oily fish such as herrings, tuna and salmon.


It goes without saying that if you are feeling abnormally tired on a regular basis you should get checked out by your doctor.  Here are some common conditions which can cause tiredness and fatigue.

  • Anaemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Diabetes
  •  Depression
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Glandular Fever
  • AIDS
  • Lyme Disease
  • Cancer
  • Stress
  • Heart Disease
  • Pregnancy


Although there is no substitute for healthy nutrition there are supplements on the market which can boost your energy levels.  I wouldn’t recommend them as a long-term solution but maybe as a quick boost they would be fine.

  • Ginseng
  • L-ornithine
  • B Vitamin and coenzyme complex
  • CoQ10
  • Maca
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Spirulina
  • Royal Jelly
  • Carnitine or Acetyl-l-carnitine
  • NADH (Nicotinamide Adenine Finucleotide)
  • Schizandra
  • Mate Tea
If you suffer from Thyroid problems avoid Ephedra and Ma Huang stimulants. Also avoid supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Always check with your doctor before embarking on a course of supplements, herbs or vitamins.


  •  Acupressure
  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Breathing Exercises
  • Colour Therapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Oyxgen Therapy and Oxygen Supplements
  • Reflexoogy
  • Reiki
  • Therapeutic Candles
  • Mood Lighting
  • Herbal Pillows and cushions
  • Therapeutic Eye Masks
  • Water Fountains

© Susan Bailey 2009 All Rights Reserved


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