Words: Sophia Moir
Skip the caffeine, quit snoozing the alarm and unplug your headphones because there’s a real reason you’re tired all the time – and it costs nothing to fix.
A survey of 300 GPs in 2015 found that a fifth of all doctor’s appointments are down to tiredness and fatigue, a syndrome which is known as TATT (Tired All The Time).
But it’s easier to combat than you might think. As well as getting a decent night’s kip, have you taken a minute to look at your hydration levels?
Of these consultations where patients say they’re absolutely knackered all of the blimmin’ time, docs say one in ten of these patients are suffering from dehydration.
And the figure is even higher for Londoners, where a fifth of patients who are Tired All The Time simply aren’t drinking enough H2O.
“I see many people in my surgery who are feeling tired all the time. There are, of course, several reasons that could be causing this, but a surprisingly common cause is that they are dehydrated,” said Dr Roger Henderson, GP in Shropshire and adviser to the Natural Hydration Council.
Dr Henderson says that many of his patients believe they are dehydrated only when they’re thirsty – although they were probably in need of water WAY before that.
“Many of my patients do not drink enough fluid each day and only believe they are dehydrated when they start to feel thirsty,” he explained.
“Yet other symptoms of dehydration appear before this, including fatigue and tiredness, headaches and poor concentration.”
The survey revealed that when GPs had linked tiredness to dehydration, almost half of patients (49 per cent) were surprised by the diagnosis – but more than a third felt less tired after upping their H2O intake.
So how much water should you be drinking? Well, let’s start by saying 60 per cent of the UK drink less than one glass of water per day, which is WAY too low.
NHS guidelines state adults should drink 8-10 200ml glasses of fluid per day, and children 6-8 glasses. To avoid confusion, any fluid does count towards this target, but water is best as it’s sugar and calorie-free.
Here at Yahoo HQ, we fill up an empty 1.5 litre water bottle every morning and make sure to drink it all up by lunchtime, and then fill it up again for the afternoon. It’s a quick and easy way to keep an eye on your fluid intake.
If you find that your symptoms continue after upping your hydration levels, your tiredness/fatigue could be down to other causes, such as anemia, diabetes, anxiety, insomnia or thyroid problems – so it’s best to book an appointment with your GP ASAP.