Tiredness – a 21st Century Affliction?

Do you feel tired all the time? If so, you are not alone. Modern life is incredibly stressful. We often have full-time jobs as well as taking care of children and other family members. Women, in particular, are pulled every which way. By the time you have worked a 50-hour week, ferried the kids around, socialized with friends, visited the gym a few times, and completed all your household chores, is it any wonder you feel like you’ve gone ten rounds with Wladimir Klitschko?

Some degree of tiredness is to be expected. There are so many hours in the day and if you try to fit too much in, you will end up burning the candle at both ends. The key is learning to manage your time. If you get up early and go to bed late too many times, the cumulative effect of too little sleep will catch up with you.

How Much Sleep Do You Get a Night?

While some people don’t need more than five hours of sleep a night, they are a minority.  Most of us need somewhere between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. Your body can cope if you have a few late nights – a couple of early nights will help to pay back the sleep debt. But, if you are long-term sleep-deprived, perhaps because you have a baby that cries all night, every night, it can lead to health problems.


Insomnia is a recognized health condition. About 35% of Americans suffer from insomnia at some point in the previous 12-months. An inability to fall asleep or stay asleep is often the symptom of an underlying condition. Menopausal women typically have problems with insomnia because of hormonal imbalances and night sweats. Insomnia can also be caused by stress – if you have ever ended up lying awake, worrying about work or exams, you are not alone.

The cumulative effect of insomnia is deep and unrelenting tiredness, the sort of tiredness that causes your brain to stop functioning. You may have difficulties concentrating, performing physical tasks, and may also suffer from gastrointestinal problems. Sadly, 20% of car accidents are caused by sleepy drivers.

More Serious Causes of Tiredness

Tiredness is not always caused by a few late nights. In some cases, unexplained fatigue and lethargy are the symptoms of an underlying health problem.

Depression – depressed people tend to feel more fatigued. It’s common to sleep more than normal when you are depressed, so if you have been sleeping a lot and are suffering from low energy, seek help.

Vitamin B12 deficiency – if your body is deficient in Vitamin B12, you may feel weak and fatigued. You may also have yellow skin.

Iron deficiency – iron deficient anaemia can cause excessive fatigue, shortness of breath with mild exertion, and pale skin.

Thyroid disease – excessive tiredness is one of the symptoms of a weakened thyroid. Your thyroid gland controls your metabolism, so if it’s not producing enough thyroxine hormone, your body will wind down like a dying phone.

Speak to your doctor if you are feeling excessively fatigued and you are not sure why.