Being tired is the familiar aftermath of physical exertion, prolonged labor or lack of sleep. When does being tired become a symptom of a cond...

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To be tired is to be lacking in strength and energy

Alternative Names

Weary, exhausted, tiredness


Being tired is the familiar aftermath of physical exertion, prolonged labor or lack of sleep. When does being tired become a symptom of a condition? Fatigue, malaise, lassitude, exhaustion are all subtle variations of the same subjective feelings of not having enough energy to meet the demands of one’s life. If one is chronically tired (more than two weeks) and unable to meet one’s obligations, it is time to seek professional help. Your doctor will know the right questions to ask, proper examination and tests to determine if there is an underlying serious cause (such as diabetes) of your condition.

Sometimes a simple lifestyle adjustment is all that is needed –

  • Getting more sleep, working less. Perhaps a change in sleep pattern will help. If you are waking up in the middle of the night worrying – middle insomnia- try staying up later. Go to bed really tired to make sure you sleep through the night.
  • If you are a menstruating woman, there is a chance that you are anemic. Consult your provider about taking the appropriate blood tests to determine if you are anemic. Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter iron supplements along with a multi-vitamin with folate.
  • Eat a healthy, vitamin rich diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of liquids throughout the day to avoid dehydration
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplements may be a good supplement to add to your diet – discuss it with your primary care provider.
  • Get regular exercise to promote sleep and decrease stress.
  • Take stock of your relationships – reach out to people who make you laugh and feel good about yourself. Weed out the relationships that drain your energy and resources.
  • Assess your job – is there a work-related cause for being tired? When was your last vacation? Do you need some time need to regroup!
  • Assess your intake of alcohol or other recreational drugs. Try meditation to relax instead!
  • Drink caffeine in the morning only. If you drink it all day long, it will actually deplete your energy and keep you up at night!

Associated Diagnoses

  • Stress
  • Overwork
  • Insomnia and sleep disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anemia
  • Heart disease
  • Headache
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Leukemia
  • Cancer
  • Infections
  • Mood disorders
  • Drug abuse
  • Common cold
  • Grief
  • Pregnancy
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Chronic liver or kidney disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep apnea, narcolepsy


Rest, adequate sleep, hydration, relaxation, relaxation technique, treat underlying illness.

Call your provider

If you are chronically tired (more than two weeks) and don’t feel you have the energy to keep up with your obligations, it is time to seek professional help.

If you have had:

  • Depression
  • Weight loss or gain without dieting
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Sweating, night sweats
  • Unexplained headaches
  • Vision changes
  • Problems sleeping
  • Snoring that wakes you or others
  • Leg pain
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Sleeping spells or extreme drowsiness while driving.

Review thoroughly with your primary care provider your work, play, sleep and drinking habits. Review all of your medications, including supplements and herbal treatments. Review your family history for any risk factors for underlying diseases. If you have not had complete blood work done in a while, consult your provider.

Written by: JC Jones MA, RN
Reviewed by: Paul Auerbach, MD
Written: September 5, 2007
Last Updated: September 30, 2007
Published By: Healthline Networks Inc.
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