Dear Doctor: ‘I’m exhausted all the time for no good reason. How can I get my energy back?’

Is it sleep quality? Are mental health issues contributing? Are you suffering from burnout? Are there rarer causes of fatigue we need to consider, such as autoimmune disease? Referrals or further tests may be needed to make sure we cover all bases.

In the meantime, there are a few things that may help get some of your pep back.

  1. Sleep routine: Be strict if you can (those with small children or on shift work may have to be a bit more flexible!). Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. 

  2. Sleep supplements: There is good evidence to show that magnesium, valerian root and ashwaganda assist in sleep quantity and quality. Melatonin used regularly can also assist those with sleep disturbance.

  3. Green noise: A quick search on Spotify will bring up a bunch of different green noise playlists. Emerging evidence shows that this helps people drift off to sleep and stay asleep.

  4. Move your body: This is so hard when you feel so exhausted. I recommend starting with just 10 minutes a day of gentle walking or yoga. Moving your body provides endorphins that help with alertness and energy.

  5. Reduce alcohol and caffeine: For any of my patients suffering fatigue, I recommend abstaining from alcohol until you feel your energy come back. Caffeine is much harder, as you probably find you need a kick to get through the day. If possible, have one or two cups in the morning and then nothing after midday.

As always, listen to your body and if things don’t feel right, let your GP know – and work together to make a plan.

Dr Rebecca Goadby is a General Practitioner who is passionate about the health of women through every stage of their lives. Her approach is compassionate and holistic, with a focus on preventative medicine and mental health wellbeing.

Information found in this column is not meant to be a substitute for proper medical advice – please contact your doctor or a health professional to discuss your own medical needs.

Do you have a burning question you’d love Dr Rebecca to answer? Send us an email ([email protected]) with the subject line ‘DEAR DOCTOR’ for consideration.

Feature image: Canva/Mamamia.

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