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Feel-Good Fixes Help Fight Fatigue

Simple lifestyle changes add energy to every day

SUNDAY, Feb. 20, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- Burdened by the "blahs"?

Lifestyle factors such as stress, poor sleep or a hectic schedule are the most common causes of fatigue, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic.

To get that zip back into everyday life, an article in the February issue of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers up the following tips:

  • Manage your stress. Do this by learning to say no to tasks that strain your schedule. Set priorities, pace yourself, and take time each day to relax.
  • Get moving. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.
  • Eat better. Sitting down to a low-fat, high-fiber breakfast helps prepare your body for the day ahead. Limit your intake of high-fat and high-sugar foods, which will make you feel sluggish later.
  • Avoid alcohol. Drinking depresses the central nervous system and acts as sedative. Alcohol can make you tired for hours after, even after consuming small amounts.
  • Seek good sleep. Developing good sleep habits is important. Don't eat, read or watch TV in bed, keep the bedroom cool, dark and quiet, and set alarms for the same time each day, if possible. Routine is important help you set a regular sleep schedule. Daytime naps are OK, the experts say, but take them early in the day and keep them short.

Dramatic or prolonged fatigue may signal an underlying medical problem. You should see your doctor if lifestyle changes don't seem to help your fatigue, the article said.

Common medical causes of fatigue include: anemia, cancer, depression or other mood disorders, diabetes, infections, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, thyroid problems and even heart attack.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about fatigue.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, February 2005
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