There could be a lot of reasons for feeling tired, ranging from sleeplessness to persistent depression disorder. Here are some facts on what causes this feeling, and the best ways to confront it.
You wake up in the morning but don’t feel refreshed - that feeling of exhaustion is not foreign to a lot of us. If it’s a frequent occurrence for you, it could be chronic fatigue syndrome.
There could be several causes tiring you out, but most of them are likely to originate from things you have little control over, like staring at the computer all day, or ‘screen fatigue’.
There could also be other reasons, ranging from eating disorders, stress, chronic diseases, the type of drugs you use or a lack of exercise. Even taking too much can do it.
But don’t let it get you down, you’re not alone. According to surveys, two out of every five Americans report extreme tiredness for different reasons; while 30 to 40 percent of adults and teens indicate they feel tired at some point during the day.
“Adults who are physically inactive or who experience any psychological problems are at much higher risk of feeling fatigue than those who are physically active or free from psychological problems,” the research says.
“Women are more likely to feel fatigued than men, and heavier women are more likely to feel fatigue than lighter ones,” the research added.
What can you do?
Experts have one piece of advice for people dealing with constant fatigue: identify what might trigger it and try to address the root cause. For example, if you feel fatigue after taking certain medication, then, it might be time to ask a doctor about next steps.
You might also occasionally have some physical pains, which you ignore due to their inconsistency, but it could very well be the main reason behind your fatigue, according to experts. As a result, if you identify the root causes of that pain and go for treatment, then you might also end up inadvertently treating your fatigue.
“Your fatigue might be related to an underlying illness or infection, especially if it's accompanied by symptoms, such as a low-grade fever, shortness of breath, or loss of appetite,” says Howard LeWine, a medic and heath expert.
In terms of natural treatments, one of the best pieces of advice is to exercise.
"When you exercise regularly, this enhances blood flow through the body and helps to efficiently transport oxygen and nutrients to your muscle tissue. In turn, this boosts energy and can reduce your fatigue levels over time," said Stefani Sassos, a health expert.
In the digital age, humanity has managed to invent new types of fatigue, and screen fatigue is one of them. We all know how it can be cured, which is to spend less time staring at screens. But in practice, it’s a lot harder in the presence of smartphones, computers and laptops, which are synonymous with office work and daily routine in the modern world.
Under Covid-19 measures, which have forced many to live their entire lives at home, millions of people spend more time in front of computers and TV screens, increasing the likelihood of screen fatigue and also a new eye disease called computer vision syndrome.
“Increased screen time has always been a controversial issue amongst eye care specialists. Although it hasn’t been proven to damage any aspect of the eye, it is very well accepted that increased screen time adds an unnecessary stress to our efforts,” says Nadeem Rob, a leading optometrist at The Eye Establishment, a London-based group.
Rob believes extreme screen time, which is now almost a daily routine for many people, could negatively affect our eye functions, leading to tiredness and headaches.
But he has an effective method to deal with it all.
“When working on any screen at home or in the office we should remember the 20/20/20 rule,” he advised.
The rule means you should gaze at something other than electronic screens for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of screen time. Also the object you are looking at when away from the screen should be 20 feet away from you. This exercise will give your eyes some recovery time to relax, making them feel better.
The exercise aims to normalise the blinking routine of our eyes. Human eyes need to blink around 15 times each minute, but with screen time, this average decreases sometimes to half or even a third, creating dry and tired eyes.
With the 20/20/20 rule, we can help our eyes recover their blinking routines, experts say.
Now leave your computer or toss away your smartphone and stare at something else.
And start blinking.