It may not be as simple as getting too little sleep.
Are you drinking enough water?
Dehydration may be the reason why you feel so lethargic. As we become dehydrated, blood volume is reduced so the heart has to work harder to pump the same amount of blood around the body. Women should drink about 1.6 litres of fluid a day and men should drink about 2 litres a day
Undiagnosed type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes develops when your body can’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t respond to insulin as it should (insulin controls the amount of glucose in your blood and helps convert it into energy). If you are suffering with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes you may find yourself feeling chronically tired. This is because the body is inefficiently metabolising energy stores as a result of the condition. Although there is no cure it can be managed by eating a healthy diet and regular exercise (obesity is a trigger for the condition, so maintaining your ideal weight is key).
Could you have a magnesium deficienty?
Magnesium is needed for the release of energy from food. If you’re deficient you may feel fatigue, experience leg cramps and sleep can be interrupted. The recommended daily intake for adults is 420mg for men and 320mg for women. Good sources include whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts and meat. Managing stress levels will also help because adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormones)deplete the body’s natural store.
Are you anaemic?
Anaemia is a result of fewer red blood cells in the blood than normal or when cells contain abnormally low amount of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body. There are various types of anaemia, including iron-deficient which can be treated with supplements and increasing iron in the diet and vitamin B12 deficient or folate-deficiency which is usually treated with injections or tablets. Your GP can arrange for tests.
Do you have adrenal fatigue?
This condition affects more women than men. It is caused when these glands are overworked. The hormone cortisol regulates blood pressure, the immune system and the body’s response to stress. When these are out of balance they can disrupt production of other hormones such as adrenaline. Eating small regular high protein meals/snacks and making time to relax and unwind will also help.
Your thyroid isn’t working as it should?
The thyroid gland is situated in front of the windpipe and produces a variety of hormones – most notably thyroxine, which regulates body temperature and the rate at which we burn fuel. If there is no or little thyroid hormone, your metabolic processes slow down, the body works less effectively, so you feel more tired. Other symptoms include dry skin, thinning hair, brittle nails, cold hands and feet and a hoarse voice. A blood test will diagnose the condition and a thyroxine-replacement is usually given.
Have your testosterone levels fallen?
Testoserone is the hormone that gives men their energy and deficiency causes them to feel tired and weak. Age can be a factor, but low levels can also be caused by diabetes, obesity and drinking too much alcohol. Symptoms can include lack of libido, erectile dysfunction and lack of body/facial hair. Low testosterone is diagnosed with a blood test and treated with hormone replacement therapy.
Is sleep apnoea affecting your rest?
If you feel exhausted all day long, can’t concentrate and fall asleep whenever you sit still, you may be suffering from sleep apnoea. It’s a condition that occurs while you are asleep; the muscles and soft tissues in the throat collapse, blocking the airways for 10 seconds or more. The sufferer then starts breathing again, often with a snort, which can happen up to 100 times a night. This interrupts deep slow-wave sleep and REM sleep resulting in exhaustion.