Do you feel ‘always tired?’ There is more to this feeling than you may be aware of. As you read this, chances are you likely feel tired. Have you always felt that way? You may find it comforting to know that you are not alone. Feeling tired is a very common problem experienced by many in the world. In fact science Digest once observed: “Every year doctors prescribe at least 3500 tons of amphetamine stimulants just to help their patients get through the day.”
In America, fatigue has been referred to as the ‘Great American Disease’ by Dr. Frank S. Caprio. Quite a high percentage of patients who seek medical help today complain of chronic tiredness. Have you wondered what may be the cause of your ‘always tired’ feeling? What really causes tiredness in humans?
A Tough Question
The answer to that question may seem very obvious to you. When you over worked yourself or you have not rested after long hours of work, it is only natural that you feel tired. Waste products such as lactic acid accumulates in the blood as energy is used up. This results in tiredness. This view is correct. However, in determining the causes of fatigue, the answer is not always that simple. The World Book Encyclopedia states: “Doctors do not know exactly what causes fatigue. They do not know why a person feels tired after muscular exertion or mental effort.” You will agree this matter is worth giving some serious thought if that view is true.
What Causes That ‘Always tired’ Feeling?
It has been found that waste materials in the blood are a factor in the cause of tiredness. A study shows that injecting the blood of a fatigued animal into one that is rested will produce tiredness in the rested animal. The Encyclopedia Americana, quite interestingly, states:
“Under normal conditions…the muscles is kept supplied with sufficient nutrient material and the waste products are reconverted to supply new energy so long as the blood supply of the muscle is intact. It is therefore unlikely that these chemical changes are of critical significance in normal fatigue, except possibly in very heavy muscular work. For normal kinds of sedentary work, chemical changes in the muscle play a minor part.”
How do you then reconcile the view of expenditure of energy and chemical changes in the muscle to be the causes of fatigue? Experience has also shown that this view did not provide all the answers to what people normally feel. On occasions, a worker who feels tired after hours of work may suddenly experience a rebound of energy. You probably can relate to that.
A Shift in Tiredness
Perhaps you recall an occasion when you felt tired after some work. But then you got an invitation to do something of interest like play a game you so much enjoyed or you are called to go for an interesting outing with friends to the woods, beach or a social event. Possibly this new undertaking may require more energy than the one that caused your fatigue in the first instance; what happens? Suddenly you notice you are no longer tired. You are in high spirit and suddenly invigorated to take on a new task.
Such experience no doubt makes the question of tiredness confounding. For example, how would you explain feeling less tired doing work you really enjoyed compared to feeling very tired when doing an even less strenuous work which you do not enjoy? Many individuals hardly require exerting themselves as much as pick up a pin from the floor before they feel really tired. Even the thought of doing certain things alone makes them very tired. This fact made the journal Today’s Education to conclude: “There is something wrong with the common assumption about what causes fatigue or even about what fatigue is.” The book Fatigue and Impairment in Man explains: “Fatigue bears no consistent relation to expenditure of physical energy.”
What is it that makes you feel so tired? You may ask. what other factors are at play if feeling tired is not due entirely to the expenditure of energy? Let us examine some of these factors.
The first obvious factor is the use up of energy. Tiredness naturally results from engaging in any form of work, play or exercise. In fact we were designed to feel the need for rest after a vigorous work or play. This in itself is a good feeling, a welcome one indeed. To help you see that more is involved in the understanding of what really causes tiredness studies have shown that people who do the most strenuous of work seldom complain of fatigue. They actually expect to get tired after work so they eat, they rest, they sleep, and they feel invigorated once more. Their feeling of tiredness disappears. What happens in a situation where your work demand makes it difficult for you to have adequate rest both day and night, and perhaps when you also deprive your body of proper food, tiredness inevitably will set in.
Are Pep Pills The Solution?
Anything you can do to remedy the situation? Some may suggest you take vitamins or some form of supplements to regain your strength and vitality.
But first you have to determine what caused your fatigue in the first place. Vitamins and some kind of supplements may surely come handy if your fatigue is caused by lack of proper nutrition. The use of vitamins, however, may probably not be the solution to your ‘always tired’ feeling if nutritious food is readily available in your home and you feed well.
It is common for some to resort to the use of pep pills such as amphetamines. While these may suppress tiredness temporarily and make you regain your sense of well-being, they have their setbacks. They do not replenish the body with vital nutrients that the body needs. They rather deplete the body of much that gives it strength. The American Medical Association notes: “amphetamines are not a magic source of extra mental or physical energy. They serve only to push the user to a greater expenditure of his own resources, sometimes to a hazardous point of fatigue that often is not recognized.”
What to Consider
Think about that. It may be wise to seek medical advice before deciding on what to use in relieving a tired feeling. If you have over stretched yourself in work, play or late entertainment such as TV viewing, know your limitation. Be realistic. Recognize that rest and sleep are very important to your well-being. Get more rest. Get more sleep. The importance of getting adequate sleep in relieving tired feeling cannot be overemphasized.
The investigation carried out by Dr. Philip M. Tiler, Jr., of Louisiana State University’s School of Medicine shows that women who get seven hours or less of sleep a night report seven times the amount of nagging fatigue that those do who get eight hours of sleep or more.
Circumstances of people however differ. What if you are not able to get sufficient rest at night? Or maybe other health factors impact on your ability to rest, or you just find yourself very tired during the day? What help is available? The solution may just be a short daytime nap. Some experts have said that for some people, a half hour nap is equivalent to the three hours of sleep just before waking in the morning. Dr. walter C. Alvarez, in his book “Live at Peace with Your Nerves,” encouraged after lunch nap taking. He says, “Even ten minutes will suffice.” If inadequate sleep at night is causing you tiredness, why not consider a brief nap during the day? The goodness of daytime nap may just be what you need to plunge you to a pleasant rest or a sound sleep.
Always Tired? An Underlying factor Worthy of Note
What if you discover that no matter the amount of rest and sleep you get, that ‘always tired” feeling persist. What should you do? That was the case with one college athlete. According to him, he had been practicing hard and staying up late. So he reasoned that if he got more sleep, he would shake off his fatigue feeling. But as it turned out, the feeling remained. He decided to do a check up with the doctor. The result revealed that he had infectious mononucleosis.
Another factor in tiredness as the above experience shows may be disease. If this is the case, no amount of sleep or rest will remove that ‘always tired’ feeling. Attention must be giving to improving or removing the illness causing the fatigue. Often, the common diseases of which fatigue is a symptom include diabetes, anemia, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and also some heart diseases and cancer. So after getting enough rest and sleep and you still feel ‘always tired,’ it may be wise to consult your doctor for a physical checkup.
But consider this: You have had plenty of rest and sleep. You have consulted your doctor for a physical checkup and there is no evidence of disease in your body. Yes, you have done all that but you are sill weighed down by this ‘always tired’ feeling. What may likely be the cause? This brings us to the third factor.
Emotional or Mental factors
It just might be that emotional or mental stress is what is causing your ‘always tired’ feeling. This according to Dr. Stewart Bartle of New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital is responsible for 80% of chronic fatigue. This feeling, contrary to what some may think is not imaginary. As noted by Dr. Wassersug, “Fatigue, whether it is due to disease, physical exertion or emotional stress, produces the same sensation of weariness.”
Some may decide to go for amphetamine pills. But as noted earlier, these drugs can be harmful. More often than not, they attack only the symptoms. Better to find out what is actually responsible for the emotional weariness and correct it. One factor that may not readily come to mind is boredom. It may surprise you that boredom is perhaps the biggest culprit in the majority of cases of chronic tiredness. People quite easily become weary or tired when they lose interest in their work or other activities. This feeling may be aggravated when circumstances limit or constrain them from reaching a potential they believe they are capable of. As frustration set in, tiredness follows. Dr. T.G. Klumpp, an authority on diseases of old age commented on the role boredom plays in fatigue. He says:
“Fatigue in older people. . . is seen more commonly among those who don’t have enough to do. Too often such men and women feel that their life work is done, and their fatigue, therefore, has its origin in boredom, loss of incentive and interest. Over and over again, when a crisis arises or something of deep interest comes along, these individuals miraculously lose their fatigue.”
A Fresh Angle to Always Tired feeling
The truthfulness of the above statement applies typically to people of all ages. When you discover your true interest in life and you have a chance to launch into purposeful activity of your quest, you feel a rebound of energy you never believed was possible for you. The feeling of tiredness disappears. Think about it. Have you ever been broke financially with no immediate hope of a reprieve? For some, the feeling of weariness or tiredness can be really overwhelming. But when from the blue a million dollar offer, for example, is made to you; what happens? All the cells in the body would experience renewed vigor. The person would feel an elation that would immediately infuse life into every nook and cranny of his nerves, soul and body that would dissipate tiredness and make it to varnish instantly.
Emotion and mental factors do play major roles in fatigue. It is suggested that to reduce boredom, look forward to some sort of activity during the evening or the next day. Looking forward to a purposeful activity keeps you mentally active and expectant. There would be no room for brooding aimlessly which gives rise to boredom. Try to develop interest in your work or in some activities that really interest you. The mind exerts a lot of power on the way the body functions. Let us take a moment to examine that.
Your Mind Affects Your Body Powerfully
It is not fully understood the extent to which our mind affects our body. You probably can relate to the fact that almost any negative emotion is capable of draining the body of vital energy and will power, resulting in fatigue. Consider what one doctor said about a negative feeling like developing hatred for someone: “Hating somebody all day is more tiring than laboring in the fields from sunrise to sunset.” Do you think this is exaggerated? A true-life example of a businessman illustrates this. Dr. Peter J. Steincrohn, in his book Live Longer—And Enjoy It!, explained: “I suggested he either stop hating the man or stop seeing him. He set out to accomplish the former (because that was less expensive), and succeeded so well that within a few weeks his tiredness had disappeared.”
It is clear from the foregoing that the principal causes of tiredness include anxiety or worry, feelings of guilt and depression. A person may not be engaged in any work all day, yet may feel totally drained of strength as a result of worrying or brooding over some problem. Now, if he makes the harboring of such negative feelings a habit, feeling ‘always tired’ will not come as a surprise. What help is available?
Possible Remedies for Always Tired feeling
It is suggested that you first see to the matter that gives you concern. If for example, you made a mistake or have wronged someone in some way, take the initiative to get things back on track. Be courageous and go to the person to seek forgiveness If the matter is of serious nature. Such action contrary to what some may believe, shows strength of character rather than being a weakness. The relief you experience after such effort will more than make up for the otherwise worry induced fatigue that usually results from not taking any action.
Try not to allow your emotions weigh you down. Try not to think of yourself too much than is necessary to think as the ancient book of wisdom, the scriptures advised. Get your mind off your problems by taking interest in others. Do what you can to help others. It will amaze you how great and refreshed you would feel.
One more point to consider: What if your work keep you glued behind a desk all day? This can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, and can lead to that ‘always tired’ feeling. A possible remedy for this would be physical exercise. Exercise when chosen right, can indeed be refreshing. Consider what Science News said: : “For a long time, doctors used to treat fatigue by having the patient cut out something, no matter how little he was doing. . . . Now physicians know better. . . . Exercise is the answer, but it should be fun and not drudgery. After an emotionally exhausting day behind a desk, a little exercise can work wonders.”
True, fatigue is an intriguing phenomenon. The truth however is that we have much more energy than we probably realize we have. The energy reserve is always there for us to tap into. But we need to adjust ourselves mentally and emotionally to be able to use it. An experiment performed by Dr. Stewart G. wolf of the University of Oklahoma illustrates this well. In the experiment, the subjects were told to hold weight in their extended arms as long as they could. Then they were given dummy pills, which the subjects believed contained a powerful anti fatigue medication. Dr Wolf said, “This resulted in nearly doubling their endurance.”
We can take comfort in the fact that we evidently have much more energy resources that many of us fail to tap into. If we take care not to dissipate it needlessly, and our health is in order normally, then we just may well keep that ‘always tired’ feeling at bay.
Written by: Bonkarah