Fatigue means being tired all the time, feeling like you have less energy and being exhausted physically and/or mentally.

By Wallace Health I Medically reviewed by Adrian Roberts.
Page last reviewed: October 2018 I Next review due: October 2023


Feeling tired is a normal part of life, which can simply be due to a few too many late nights, not sleeping well or working too hard.

However, if tiredness persists and doesn’t improve with sleep or rest, it can affect your daily life and may be a sign of an underlying problem.

Causes of fatigue

There are many causes of fatigue:

  • Psychological causes – such as stress, depression or a bereavement
  • Physical causes – early pregnancy, an underlying condition such as anaemia or something more serious
  • Lifestyle causes – such as work and family problems, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, not eating a healthy diet or exercising too much or too little

The menopause can also cause fatigue, and having your period can make you feel more tired than usual. These hormonal changes can affect your mood and energy levels, and make it difficult for you to sleep at night.

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about symptoms

You can book an appointment with a Spire private GP today.

Conditions related to fatigue

Conditions which commonly cause fatigue include:

  • Anaemia – one of the most common causes of fatigue is iron deficiency anaemia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Glandular fever
  • Underactive thyroid

Getting a diagnosis for fatigue

Your GP will discuss how you feel and any other symptoms you may be experiencing. They may ask questions about your mood and other aspects of your lifestyle to determine if you may be suffering from anxiety or depression.

They may recommend a blood test to check for anaemia, vitamin B12 deficiency and an underactive thyroid as well as other possible conditions.

If they suspect a more serious underlying cause, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, they’ll probably refer you to a consultant.

Treatments for fatigue

Treatment depends on the cause of your tiredness. Lifestyle changes which can help reduce tiredness include:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Cutting down smoking
  • Reducing how much alcohol you drink
  • Trying to reduce stress
  • Exercising – although over-exercising can make you feel more tired
  • Trying healthy sleeping habits

If an underlying condition is causing your fatigue, your doctor will recommend appropriate treatment. This could include medication, vitamin injections or psychological therapy.