Dr. Barb

Fatigue and Your Body

“Gosh, I am so tired.”  

Is this a common response from you on a regular or daily basis when someone asks how you are doing? Did you get enough sleep last night? For many people the answer is probably “Not even close!” which is something many of us need to evaluate. 

Sleep and having good energy are critical components to good health. For any of us, lack of sleep can cause confusion, poor decision making, and changes in mood and behavior. If we are healthy, these impact not only our own lives but those around us. If we were to become ill, lack of sleep can change how we heal and fight the illness.

Sleep issues can take many forms:

· Difficulty falling asleep

· Difficulty staying asleep

· Waking up early

· Not getting enough sleep

And….all of this leads to fatigue and endless issues for our health and well-being. We underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep and not slogging through our day exhausted. We push onward when we are tired. Our immune systems are compromised from lack of rest. We are more susceptible to illness and disease without proper sleep. Your brain needs time off. 

How can we make sure we acquire the required sleep our bodies need? As our mission states, we are all about prevention and MANY issues can be prevented simply by sleeping. Here are a few tips to get you started on the right path to a more restful lifestyle. 

1)  Make sure your bedroom is your place of slumber. Too often we have TVs or other distractions that impact sleep. Ability to darken a room and have little (soft music or a sleep noise machine) to no noise is best to allow your body to start the sleep cycle.

2)  Have a regular bed time schedule. Our body’s rhythms depend on that natural and regular cycle for proper sleep. Choose a regular bed time and stick to that. If you have a dog you may know what I mean – they alert you to when it is dinner time and even when it is time to wake up. They let their natural rhythms dictate how they function. 

3)  Turn off electronic devices an hour or more before you go to bed to sleep. I would even suggest turning them off sooner! Read a book, meditate, engage in yoga, or write in a journal to begin to calm your mind and body.

4)  End your daily eating hours before bedtime. Do you eat dinner at 6PM then find yourself having a late snack? Late eating not only can impact our health (and perhaps our waist line) but it can interfere with our sleep cycles. 

5)  Seek help if you have sleep issues. Insomnia is a common issue for many people so find someone who specializes in sleep disorders and tackle the problems. The sooner you can get sleep issues under control, the better it will be for overall health.

Remember fatigue is not fun for anyone. We cannot function at our best and we do put ourselves at risk for illness and/or disease. 

The sooner you can find your sweet sleep spot, the easier it will be to fend off that nasty fatigue monster!