Take charge of your life to beat sleep deprivation

Don't let being tired beat you
Don't let being tired beat you
Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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Did you know that a third of the UK population suffers from sleep deprivation?

Tiredness is a common problem that affects so many people.

However, there are things you can do to stop yourself from being robbed of all your energy.

The first thing to do is identify the cause of your tiredness. Medical causes will often be highlighted by an accompanying symptom.

For example, heavy periods in women could be a sign of anaemia, extreme thirst and a frequent need to pass water might indicate diabetes and weight gain or weight loss could suggest stress.

Medical causes may be eliminated – or confirmed – by a simple blood test.

The daily stresses and strains of life can be very tiring though and tests can’t diagnose the worries caused by moving house, job security or relationship strains.

Unfortunately, once you are sleep deprived it’s difficult to break the vicious cycle. As stress increases, the more tired you’ll get.

Although some problems are difficult to change overnight, there may be some things you can do to break the cycle and help you get a good night’s sleep. This will help you function better during the day.

Here are my tips to combat key ‘energy drainers’ that make you feel tired.

n Don’t become a couch potato. Your body gets used to using little energy and goes into ‘sleep mode’.

If you do sit for long periods, even as part of your job, get up frequently and move around.

n Straighten your back and improve your posture.

The poorer your spine alignment is, the more your muscles have to work to compensate.

n Don’t crash diet. Low calorie diets will reduce the energy you have for daily tasks and this can only last so long.

Losing weight gradually, by cutting down on sugary and junk foods, is a more sustainable way to do it.

n Lack of light and fresh air causes tiredness. It can be difficult if you work long hours, are housebound or have young children, but find a way to go out for at least a few minutes each day.

n Do not exercise too much, too quickly. Any shock to the system will drain you of energy.

n Worrying causes your blood pressure and heart rate to rise and your muscles to tighten. This can lead to aches, pains and fatigue.

To combat stress try the following:

n Take control of a situation and don’t fall into a cycle of believing you can’t solve your problem. Negative thinking will only increase stress.

n Share problems. Friends and family may give you some helpful tips. Sometimes, just saying it out loud will help you focus.

n Enjoy ‘me time’. The UK workforce has the longest working hours in Europe. Set aside two nights a week and do something you enjoy.

n Keep your confidence up. Regularly challenging yourself will help build and maintain confidence.

n Avoid turning to unhealthy habits, such as smoking and drinking to combat stress. It won’t eliminate the problem.

n Prioritise your daily tasks and try and think positively – this will stop you from entering into a downward emotional cycle.

Appreciate what you have rather than focusing on what you don’t have.

n Finally, accept the things you can’t change. If you can’t do anything to change a situation, there is no point wasting time and energy worrying about it.

Try and make something positive happen to help compensate.

So that’s it, I hope you find a way to beat tiredness.

This is my last Health Matters column so I’d like to thank all my readers. I hope you’ve found my advice helpful and remember, stay healthy!