1. An underactive thyroid
Did you know that your thyroid sets your metabolic rate (i.e. the rate that you burn food)? If your thyroid is out of whack, your energy levels will be too. An underactive thyroid slows everything down and can lead to fatigue, along with cold sensitivity, constipation, dry skin and unexplained weight gain. If this sounds like you, check in with your GP.
2. Obstructive sleep aponoea
If you wake up feeling tired and groggy, despite clocking up seven-plus hours of shut-eye, Obstructive Sleep Aponoea (OSA) could be the cause.
OSA is a sleep disorder where a person’s upper airway repeatedly collapses during their sleep, causing them to stop breathing for a period of 10 seconds or longer. (Yikes!)
In addition to daytime sleepiness, other symptoms include irritability, early morning headaches and poor concentration. During the night, symptoms include loud snoring, restlessness, choking or gasping for air, frequent bathroom visits and paused breathing (usually witnessed by a bed partner).
Sound familiar? Philips recently launched Pharmacy Sleep Services to help OSA sufferers get a diagnosis, fast. To kick off the process, take this sleep quiz, which takes 60 seconds. If the quiz indicates you might be suffering from OSA, visit your local pharmacy where you can collect a home sleep test. Following the test, return to the pharmacy and you'll get your results within seven to 10 days. From there, your pharmacist will organise a consultation if it looks like you have OSA and discuss treatment options.
Anaemia is a common condition where the blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells – this means the body has to work harder to get oxygen to organs. You’re probably most familiar with iron deficiency anemia which is usually caused by blood loss (often due to heavy menstruation), a diet lacking in iron, an inability to absorb iron or pregnancy.
Extreme fatigue is a symptom of anaemia, as well as weakness, pale skin, cold hands and feet, and brittle nails.
To get a diagnosis, book an appointment with your GP, who will organise a blood test.
4. Too much exercise
Exercise is good for sleep – when you get up and moving, your body releases serotonin and adenosine which helps to regulate sleep rhythms.
Too much exercise, however, is a different story. If you hit the gym too hard or too often, particularly at night, your body can get stressed out, which elevates your stress hormone cortisol.
5. You’re too wired
Are you guilty of scrolling through Instagram in the hour before bed? (C’mon, be honest.) Electronic gadgets, such as phones, tablets and computers, emit blue light which can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime and suppress the body’s sleep hormone, melatonin. The solution? Ban screens in the bedroom, at least one hour before bed.
Similarly, consuming caffeine late in the day can affect sleep patterns, as research has shown that on average, the half-life of caffeine in a healthy person is 5.7 hours. Try limiting caffeine after lunch to see if this has an impact on your sleep.
Brought to you by Pharmacy Sleep Services.