Being tired and experiencing fatigue are two different things

Published 10:00 am Sunday, April 24, 2022

WASHINGTON – Are you tired? Or are you suffering from fatigue? They are two different conditions that require different treatments. If you are tired, all you need is a good night’s sleep. But sleep is not going do much if it’s fatigue or exhaustion that is holding you down.
According to WebMD, “Medically speaking, tiredness happens to everyone — it’s an expected feeling after certain activities or at the end of the day. Usually, you know why you’re tired, and a good night’s sleep solves the problem … Fatigue is a daily lack of energy; unusual or excessive whole-body tiredness not relieved by sleep. It can be acute (lasting a month or less) or chronic (lasting from 1 to 6 months or longer). Fatigue can prevent a person from functioning normally and affects a person’s quality of life.”
If you believe you are suffering from physical or mental fatigue, it’s a good idea to have a visit with your healthcare provider. He or she can help determine the cause and provide a specific method of dealing with your condition.
Dr. Nisha Jackson is a functional medicine specialist who has written extensively on the subject of fatigue. In her most recent article on the subject, 6 Steps to Fight Fatigue & Boost Energy, she outlines basic methods of dealing with the condition.
If you get up in the morning with the intention of getting as much done in the shortest span of time, Dr. Jackson suggests slowing down. “Instead of burning through your energy in the first two hours of the day, consider stretching your list throughout the day. Make a list of AM and PM tasks and work through them at a realistic pace – with rest and meals (meals rich in nutrients, not just food) in-between to keep your blood glucose and mental energy in an optimal range.”
So, what kinds of foods might help you enjoy a fatigue-free day?  Dr. Jackson suggests, low fat, low sugar yogurt with nuts and raisins, scrambled eggs with spinach, slow-cooked oatmeal, green salad with chicken and a turkey sandwich with a lettuce wrap instead of bread. “Your body will take in the mixture of unrefined carbs, protein, and fat slowly, allowing your energy to stay up over longer periods of time. In addition, do not skip meals and do not over-eat at any meal. Try to stop eating two hours before bed so that you can sleep more deeply, allowing your system to work on restoration and not digestion.”
She also suggests that you drink plenty of water, noting that it’s essential that you replace the water your body expends in the course of a day. Otherwise you will feel drained and fatigued. Replenishing the water your body needs helps you maintain a proper level of energy.
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