Feeling tired all the time can be quite worrying, because if it doesn’t go away it can affect your daily life, your studies and your relationships.

Don’t worry: Commonly, there’s no obvious underlying cause for feeling tired, and the problem often gets better by itself.

But in some cases, physical, mental health or social problems – alone or in combination – may be the reason.

Warning: It’s useful to know the warning signs of underlying physical health problems, such as weight loss, new lumps or aches and pains, because they should prompt you to see your doctor.

What is tiredness?

Feeling tired means you have reduced energy or feel physically or mentally exhausted.

Fact: Around 3 out of 10 people in the India say they’ve been feeling excessively tired for a month or longer.

Less commonly, ongoing tiredness can be a sign of a underlying health problem, such as lack of blood, an underactive thyroid gland, or chronic fatigue syndrome, which is a condition that can severely affect people’s day-to-day lives.

Don’t worry: In most cases, tiredness gets better by itself, particularly if there’s a time-limited underlying cause such as a feverish illness.

What might make me so tired?

You may feel tired for all sorts of reasons to do with your body, your mind, or what’s going on in your life.
Here are some examples:

Anaemia (lack of blood): You don’t have enough blood, perhaps because of heavy periods (if you’re a woman), an unbalanced diet or another physical health problem

Chronic fatigue syndrome: You feel overwhelmingly tired and exhausted, and this is different to what you’ve experienced before

Hormones: You have an underactive thyroid gland, which is likely to give you other symptoms as well, such as feeling cold a lot of the time, putting on weight and feeling low

Lifestyle: You go to bed late and don’t sleep enough, exercise very hard, or you work or study long hours without getting enough rest

Long-term conditions: Sometimes, raised blood sugar (diabetes) or cancer will cause excessive tiredness

Medication: Some medicines can make you feel tired, such as beta blockers or anti-depressants

Mental health problems: You feel low, stressed or anxious, or you have a long-term mental health problem. Or you’ve lost someone close to you

Pregnancy: If you’re a woman, pregnancy and breastfeeding can make you feel very tired

Substances: You drink too much alcohol, or you take recreational drugs

Virus infection: You have a cold, flu or some other virus infection, such as glandular fever. These infections will usually give you other symptoms as well

Action: If you feel tired for more than a few weeks, can’t figure out what’s going on or you’re worried for any reason, see your doctor to get checked.

What are the warning signs?

A number of warning signs may suggest that an underlying physical or mental health problem could make you feel excessively tired.

Don’t worry: Having other symptoms doesn’t always mean that you have a significant underlying health problem. It just means that it’s best to see your doctor (GP) for a check.

Possible warning signs include:

Activities: You do fewer activities than you used to because you feel so tired

Appetite: You enjoy your food less, or you eat too much

Body symptoms: You also get other unusual symptoms, such as muscle or joint pain, headaches, painful glands, sore throat, feeling cold all the time, passing urine frequently, heavy periods (women only), being thirsty, or feeling dizzy and generally unwell

Brain power: You can’t think straight, find it hard to concentrate or don’t remember things as well as you used to, or you find it harder to plan and organise things

Duration: You’ve felt tired for weeks or months, and you don’t seem to get better

Effect on life: You feel so tired that it becomes disabling and impacts on your day-to-day life

Exercise: You feel unusually tired after exercise (especially if it starts after a delay of a day or so) and you recover only slowly over a few days

Mood: You feel low, anxious, or stressed

Onset: Your tiredness has started suddenly and for no apparent reason

Sleep: You also have problems falling asleep, sleep too little or too much, or you have a disturbed sleep

Weight: You’ve lost weight, or you’re putting it on

Action: If you feel tired and have other symptoms too, see your doctor  for a check-up and to rule out any health conditions.

 What can I do myself to feel less tired?

Your lifestyle may play a role when you feel tired all the time.

Tip: If you don’t have any underlying health problems, making some simple changes in the way you live can make a big difference to your overall energy levels.

Here are some tips for you to consider:

Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol if this makes you tired

Caffeine: Gradually reduce the amount of caffeine-containing drinks, such as coffee, tea or fizzy drinks, and then stay off them for at least four weeks

Fitness: Stay active and move your body regularly to boost your energy levels and feel less tired in the long run. Cycling, running or fast walking for example are great fitness boosters

Fluids: Drink glasses of water regularly throughout the day, so your body stays well hydrated

Healthy eating: Eat healthily and build up your energy levels by eating regular (and not too large) meals every three to four hours, and have healthy snacks, such as fruit

Sleep: Establish regular sleep routines and try to get enough sleep. Avoid using screens (TV, phone, laptop) for at least 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed, because this can make it harder for you to fall asleep

Stress: If stress makes you feel tired, try to reduce stress and relax by listening to music, seeing friends, or working out, whatever works for you

Warning: Stopping caffeine-containing drinks abruptly may give you a headache. If this happens, cut down more slow