SLEEP AND TIREDNESS

Find out how to sleep well and the common lifestyle factors that are making you tired.
Why am I tired all the time? 

Feeling exhausted is so common that it has its own acronym, TATT, which stands for "tired all the time". We all feel tired from time to time. The reasons are usually obvious and include: 

  • too many late nights 

  • long hours spent at work 

  • a baby keeping you up at night 

 

But tiredness or exhaustion that goes on for a long time is not normal. It can affect your ability to get on and enjoy your life.  Unexplained tiredness is one of the most common reasons for people to see their GP. 

Why you might be tired all the time?

 

Before you see a GP, you may want to work out how you became tired in the first place. 

It can be helpful to think about: 

  • parts of your life, such as work and family, that might be particularly tiring 

  • any events that may have triggered your tiredness, such as bereavement or a relationship break-up 

  • how your lifestyle may be making you tired 

 

 

A GP will look at the following causes of tiredness: 

  • psychological causes 

  • physical causes 

  • lifestyle causes 

Image by Sharon McCutcheon
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

moderate

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer. One way to tell if you're working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing. 

Examples of moderate intensity activities include:

 

  • brisk walking 

  • water aerobics 

  • riding a bike 

  • dancing 

  • doubles tennis 

  • pushing a lawn mower 

  • hiking 

  • rollerblading 

vigorous

Vigorous intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast. If you're working at this level, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. 

In general, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity. 

 

Most moderate activities can become vigorous if you increase your effort. 

 

Examples of vigorous activities include: 

  • running 

  • swimming 

  • riding a bike fast or on hills 

  • walking up the stairs 

  • sports, like football, rugby, netball and hockey 

  • skipping 

  • aerobics 

  • gymnastics 

  • martial arts 

very vigorous

Very vigorous activities are exercises performed in short bursts of maximum effort broken up with rest. 

This type of exercise is also known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). 

 

Examples of very vigorous activities include: 

  • lifting heavy weights 

  • circuit training 

  • sprinting up hills 

  • interval running 

  • running up stairs 

  • spinning classes 

What activities strengthen muscles? 

 

To get health benefits from strength exercises, you should do them to the point where you need a short rest before repeating the activity. 

There are many ways you can strengthen your muscles, whether you're at home or in a gym. 

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include: 

  • tai chi 

  • lifting weights 

  • working with resistance bands 

  • doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups 

  • heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling 

  • wheeling a wheelchair 

  • lifting and carrying children 

 

 

Try exercise routines like: 

 

You can do activities that strengthen your muscles on the same or different days as your aerobic activity – whatever's best for you.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are not always an aerobic activity, so you'll need to do them as well as your 150 minutes of aerobic activity. 

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Physical activity recommendations for other age groups

Benefits of exercise

Exercise is the miracle cure we've always had, but for too long we've neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence. 

This is no snake oil. Whatever your age, there's strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life. 

 

People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term (chronic) conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. 

 

Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, clinical depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease

Health benefits 

 

Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It's essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age. 

 

It's medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have lower risk of: