You have already figured out that fatigue can be caused from sleep apnea but correcting sleep apnea does not automatically correct fatigue. You have been sleep deprived and had poor sleep for a very long time and you will probably need to take a look at several other things along the way to make sure you have the energy you want to have on a daily level. Let’s look at the main causes of this problem of fatigue and then we will discuss some creative solutions.
The first thing you should do is ask yourself when you are feeling the most fatigue. Are you tired when you get up, in the middle of the afternoon or possibly the early evening? Also does this fatigue last a long time or is it a short transient experience?
· Look at your medications and when you are taking them. If you are taking something for pain it can cause issues 20-30 minutes after you take it and may last several hours. You could also be taking an antidepressant that could be causing you fatigue. Are you taking a cough suppressant again that can be causing fatigue. If you are taking a stimulant too late at night that might preventing you from getting enough sleep.
· Do you have another condition that is robbing you of a restful sleep? Limb movements, GERD and bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, could be causing you to continue to have disrupted sleep and increase your level of fatigue.
· What are you eating and when are you eating it. Is the meal large and high in carbohydrates or protein or is it a moderate sized balanced meal? Do you have diabetes and have issues during certain times of the day or night? All of these could be contributing to your fatigue.
· Are you getting enough exercise?
· Do you have a history of a mood disorder? Many of them can cause issues with sleep patterns and levels of fatigue.
· Have you gotten enough sunlight and vitamin D? This can also contributed to afternoon and evening fatigue.
You have an idea of what could be contributing to your levels of fatigue now let’s look at some solutions to the tiredness you might be experiencing. Some of the solutions can be used as a stop gap to a specific experience and some are habit changes you might want to try and make to help you over the long term.
· Take a minute and do some deep breathing exercises. It can be diaphragmatic breathing or it can be slow inhale, hold and slow exhale. You can do an 8 count of a 4 count whatever deep breathing exercise you try will increase your oxygen level to the brain and help you to feel more energized and focused.
· Go for a walk. This can help with two of the issues. It will allow you to get some sunlight which will stimulate the brain that it is time to be awake and exercise helps to stimulate the body to have more energy. The other great effect is that exercise will allow a person to sleep better.
· Take a nap. A short 20 minute nap will allow you to recharge and reboot your brain so that when you wake up you are able to focus and learn more.
· Talk to your doctor about your medications. Sometimes you can be having a side effect not just to a single medication but it could be the interaction between two medications. Many people have more than one person prescribing medications. It is in your best interest to make sure that your primary care physician knows all the medications you take so they can make sure you’re at optimal health without side effects.
· Get enough sleep. We live in a 24 hour a day world and we are making sleep less of a priority. Some people say well I have never slept longer than 4-5 hours therefore that is all I need. This is just not true. Our body needs 7-8 hours of sleep. You need to plan for that long. If you do not get enough sleep the side effects to your body are significant.
· Get enough water to drink. Chronic dehydration will cause fatigue. A great example of this is that hot summer day at the beach where all you want to do is sleep as soon as you get home. Well imagine your body having that kind of stress all the time. That would cause a great deal of fatigue. So drink enough water you will have more energy.
These are just a few solutions. If you continue to have fatigue you should talk to your doctor. There can be some medical conditions that can cause fatigue. Your doctor can test you for low vitamin level, low iron levels, or anemia, or issues such as chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
No matter what the issues occasionally we all experience fatigue but do not let yourself or your goals get derailed because you continue to have problems with staying awake during the day.
There are many people who believe they can live on very little sleep. Although not everyone needs 7-9 hours of sleep there are very few people who can go on less than 7 hours of sleep. The fact is that lack of sleep has been linked to many health problems that you might not have initially associated with a lack of sleep.
According to the National Sleep Foundation approximately 1/3 of Americans are chronically sleep deprived. This sleep deprivation can be linked to things like daytime sleepiness and irritability as well as memory loss and the inability to concentrate. This can affect our day to day activities and make things like driving more dangerous than they have to bed.
It also had a strong effect on our weight. When we are sleep deprived we tend to eat more at a meal and we tend to eat more often to try and get over our fatigue. This contributes to obesity. It is something that is very common especially in night shift workers who usually only get 4-5 hours of sleep a day.
Sleep deprivation has also been associated with heart disease and early mortality. The thought is that the stress caused from the lack of sleep on our body contributes to these issues.
Why do so many people believe they can go without sleep? Many people do not understand the necessity of sleep for their body. Sleep allows people to reset their brain and health their body. They also do not understand that they will not feel tired if they are over stimulated or over exposed to light, two problems we have in the computer age.
How do you determine if you have a sleep issues? If you have health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease that takes more than 1 medication to control you might want to look at your sleep habits. If you have depression, daytime fatigue or fall asleep as soon as you get home these are good signs that you might want to go to bed a little bit earlier. Sometimes if we have an increase in our appetite although we have not changed our habits it can be a sign that we are actually tired.
The best way to evaluate if you really have a sleep issue is to do a two week sleep diary. This can be simple notebook that has the time you go to bed and the time you wake up in it. You should also include how much caffeine you have had during the day, any exercise you did any unusual activities such as parties or cleaning the garage. Looking at the patterns of sleep over two weeks can give you an idea if you problem is as simple as you do not have a regular bed time or that the television is keeping you awake or it can tell you if maybe it is time to talk to your doctor.
There are some people who may be able to get by on less sleep but if you want to stay healthy, and be alert getting 7-9 hours of sleep should be your goal. It may take some small changes in your daily habits but in the end the health benefits are worth it.