Top 10 tips to beat fatigue (well, I’d call it 5… I should try some!)

Essential advice on how to avoid tiredness

How do you beat fatigue? We’ve all been there: those days when you wake up shattered, can barely drag yourself into work, and then struggle to keep your head off the desk. More often than not this is because you had a particularly late night which has left your body crying out for more sleep.

On the other hand, sometimes you may be getting to bed in good time, thinking you’ll get a good night’s sleep, and yet when the morning arrives you still feel like every waking thought and movement is a real effort.

So, how can you beat fatigue, regain your verve and put the spring back in your step? Simply check out the following top 10 tips — which aim to help you beat fatigue and ensure you get the most of yourself and your day!

Get enough sleep
It may be stating the obvious, but to avoid tiredness you should ensure you get enough sleep! Remember that your body needs sleep in order to recharge — and staying up and watching a movie which starts at midnight isn’t going to help! If you are having any trouble sleeping, then aim to have a better sleep routine such as going to bed and getting up at the same time. You could also improve your sleeping environment by making sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and comfortable. Also, by using your bedroom for sleep alone, your body will come to associate it with sleeping rather than reading or watching TV.

Try to avoid stress
Stress is one of the most common reasons for feeling tired — so beating stress will naturally help to alleviate your tiredness. There are several ways in which to tackle stress, but the most important thing to do is identify what is causing your stress in the first place. It may be work that is the main cause of your stress — perhaps because of bad work relationships, long hours, or an unfulfilling job. If that’s the case, then look at your options about how you can improve the situation. Also, make sure you switch off from work in your leisure time, and try out some relaxation techniques such as having a massage, taking a hot bath or listening to some music.

Eat well
Your diet can have a big impact on how you feel. Without a proper, balanced diet you can start to feel a bit sluggish and are likely to become fatigued — so ensure that you eat healthy meals and at the correct times. Skipping breakfast will ensure you start your day on the wrong footing and force you to run on empty until lunchtime! Eating ‘little and often’ can work for some people, as it means that they’ve got something to sustain them rather than going for longer periods between meals — which will help them to avoid the feeling of being hungry and tired prior to their main meals. Keeping blood sugar levels stable is also important to avoid fatigue — so make sure you eat enough carbohydrates.

Avoid caffeine in the evening
While caffeine might be great for giving you a boost in the daytime, and while some people just can’t do without their early morning wake-up cuppa, by the evening time you really need to start thinking about laying off the caffeine unless you want to get a restless night’s sleep! Caffeine — contained in things such as tea, coffee, chocolate and cola drinks — can cause restlessness and sleeping difficulties, which will only add to your tiredness the next day. It may also result in you needing more caffeine to keep you going — so it’s best to try and break the cycle by cutting down on the amount of caffeine you drink.

Slow down
People frequently get in the habit of trying to do too much. The demands they are putting on themselves may leave them feel fatigued — and if there are not enough hours in the day to juggle their job, family and friends, then they may end up not getting enough sleep either. On the other hand, having a more balanced lifestyle, making some time for yourself, and learning to relax and slow down sometimes will mean you’ll be more able to function efficiently. Think about what you could change to give yourself more time for relaxation. It’s also best to have realistic expectations about what you can achieve rather than running yourself into the ground!

Taken from realbuzz.

Sleep Cycle #iPhone app

Why Sleep Cycle?
For years I have complained of being tired, and have had all kinds of tests… but I think the general conclusion is that I just enjoying living life to the full too much, and consequently do too much (and I work best late at night too… why is culture built around morning larks rather than night owls)!! Recently, however, I have been waking up knowing that I have had a lot of disturbing dreams, feeling less refreshed than ever, and falling asleep in the middle of the day. Many years ago I stopped trying to get to sleep if my eyes weren’t closing on their own – either picking up a book, or watching a film I already know (or now, iPlayer, in the knowledge that I can finish watching the next day). Last night I went to bed at 1.15am, watched Casualty, and started watching John Bishop’s Britain… I had already set my phone alarm… and it looks like it woke me just as I’d slipped into the second super-deep sleep of the night…

The App
The app, which was only 59p, was recommended to me by a friend who had tried it for several nights. You need to be able to leave your phone plugged in all night, otherwise I suspect it sucks all that wonderful iPhone battery life… The app uses the iPhone accelerometer (used to sense orientation, acceleration, vibration shock, and falling) to monitor movement during sleep. The more you move, the lighter the sleep phase that you are in. As I already had the phone alarm set, I didn’t really test the claims of the phone that the best use of this phone is to set the alarm, and the app will sense which is the lightest part of your sleep pattern within a half-hour window around the alarm time, and wake you up, allowing you to feel more refreshed/less tired during the day…  maybe one to try tonight…  The phone keeps a record of all your statistics.. maybe one to take to your GP to discuss… Note: Don’t put the phone under your pillow, not good for the phone or the accuracy of the app.

“Scientific” Review

“Actigraphy is the science of recording motion patterns during sleep. It is generally considered a more accurate means of monitoring sleeping patterns than a sleep journal or devices that can only record in short time frames, but not as useful as polysomnography, which encompasses the use of an EEG. For instance, it is very useful in collecting the night-to-night sleep patterns of patients diagnosed with insomnia or disorders with their circadian rhythms.

So in trying this app out, the graph is a little misleading. Since no motion occurs during REM sleep, the part of the graph that says “dreaming” is a misnomer. Perhaps a better term would be “wakefulness”. However, “deep sleep” works okay for the lower portion, but keep in mind that REM is when we are dreaming the most, and true “deep sleep” occurs in the latter two stages of Non-REM. More motion likely means you are not in REM, but for deep sleep you could easily be moving or not. The app builds on ideas that actigraphy utilizes, which is a good test for basic sleep cycle pattern testing, but should be used for novelty purposes only and to get a GENERAL idea of how you tend to sleep. The fact is, you could lay still during Non-REM just as you do in REM, so if you are truly having sleep issues, polysomnograph performed at a sleep clinic is the way to go.” (Review by a physiology instructor)

Timothy Boon: ‘Film and Contestation of Public Health in Interwar Britain’

Boon, T., ‘Film and contestation of public health in interwar Britain’
PhD Thesis completed, 1999. Wellcome Institute

Abstract: This is the first study to analyse and list the approximately 350 health films distributed in Britain in the interwar period. It provides a social-historical explanation for their existence, and grounds its account in the history of public health and the highly associative culture of the period. The first part establishes the context within which they were produced: Chapter one introduces the notion of the contestation of public health, first demonstrating the widespread agreement about the importance of public education in health. The main players are then introduced: the local authorities, the voluntary associations, and the Ministry of Health. Chapter two proposes that the health education policy established by the new Ministry of Health in 1920 was created and sustained in the context of a mixed public and private model of health care. Within this, first voluntary associations, and later organised Medical Officers of Health, contested the sanction of responsibility for health education in general (as opposed to that on single disease categories). Part two devotes a chapter each to the film making activities of voluntary associations, local authorities and documentarists. The style of films produced is, in each case, explored in the context of the cultures of the different organisations involved. Voluntary associations tended to prefer ‘moral tales’, fiction films with a health message, whilst local authorities mostly subscribed to a type of naive realism. Documentarists introduced a new type of realist cinematic literacy deriving from the Russian montage tradition. The final chapter returns to the policy issues introduced in part one, and explores changes in policy at the Ministry of Health which led to an increased concern with film making. The study concludes with a detailed discussion of the Ministry’s 1939 documentary film, Health for the Nation, the culmination of many long term trends.

Published Works:

Health Matters: Modern Medicine and the Search for Better Health, (London: Science Museum, 1994) (co-editor with Lawrence, G.)

Holiday Health and Hygiene on Vacation

‘Coughs and sneezes spread diseases. Trap them in your handkerchief!’ This slogan from a 1942 British government poster was aimed at reducing absenteeism from serious war work, but it caught on, and encouraged more hygienic habits in the population as a whole. No surprise then, to find it revived to combat the latest threats from various kinds of flu and the norovirus with added instructions about binning tissues, then washing hands thoroughly.

For travellers confined in aircraft cabins, buses, rail carriages and cruise ships, this is particularly good advice. Air-conditioning has many advantages, but one of its problems is that air-borne germs can circulate very quickly. No one wants to be responsible for spreading coughs and sneezes, or any kind of flu, over several continents in the process of one long-haul flight or ‘cruise of a lifetime’.

Visual Culture and Public Health Posters

This online exhibit is designed to introduce you to the history of images used in public health posters in the twentieth century. It utilizes the world’s largest collection of poster art dealing with questions of health in the United States, housed at the National Library of Medicine. Many of these images can also be viewed through the Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) homepage. The exhibit is divided into two sections that focus on infectious diseases and environmental health concerns, revealing how posters provide an effective medium for communicating information about disease, identifying risk factors, and promoting behavioral change. Two sections on HIV/AIDS education and anti-smoking campaigns provide expanded examinations of public health campaigns that have used a variety of political, psychological, moral, cultural, and economic strategies to achieve their desired aims. By examining the history and function of public health posters, the exhibit suggests that social, biological, and cultural factors have collectively influenced the design of public health campaigns throughout the preceding century.”