Struggling to find a solution to the UK’s acute fatigue | sleep
Aberdeen GP Rosalind Adam and her colleagues are seeing more people than ever report extreme fatigue, even taking into account the increased workload. The problem is we’re seeing too many patients a day right now.
Studies show that between 5 and 7 percent of people who see their family doctor complain about fatigue, says Adam. Adam, given the 300 million GP bookings in the UK each year, that’s already a huge number, but I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. The patient will focus on other complaints first. And that’s not including soldiers on duty from home or busier GPs who have to deal with more patients.
Everyone is completely shattered and doesn’t seem to be helping us at all. We know we need to exercise and eat well to stay healthy and get a good night’s sleep, but according to a survey released this week, one of the main reasons Brits aren’t living a healthier lifestyle is, ironically, that they’re too tired. no see.
Fatigue is important. Economically, sleep deprivation costs the UK economy $40 billion a year. The number of Britons too ill to work at all has hit an all-time high, ONS figures released this week have revealed, boosted in part by people suffering from prolonged COVID-19, which is often characterized by debilitating chronic fatigue. The cost of living crisis means more and more children are attending school tired and hungry. Nearly 9 out of 10 teachers said their poor students were too exhausted to pay attention in class.
For individuals, sleep-deprived fatigue can be devastating, says Lisa Artis, vice president of The Sleep Charity, which runs a national sleep helpline. Sleep has such a huge impact on your physical, mental and emotional health and well-being, she says. It can affect relationships or relationships between partners, it can affect families, and it can affect friends and colleagues.
what’s the matter? One of the difficult things about talking about or measuring problems is that not all fatigue is the same. Suffering from severe insomnia due to extreme stress is very different from exhausting months of raising a young child alone. Neither has much in common with chronic fatigue, which is often not relieved by rest. But all can be devastating to those who experience it.
Extreme fatigue can be a symptom of many conditions, including heart disease, head injuries, cancer, and depression, so you should see a doctor if it doesn’t resolve, but in many cases, lifestyle is also important. Adam said being able to get organized with someone and contribute could be really helpful for them.
But medically speaking, fatigue is so poorly understood that doctors don’t even have a consensus definition, she says. They also offer few options to treat problems that, for many people, don’t go away with a lavender-scented bath or going to bed an hour earlier.
For this reason, Adam, along with Aberdeen University and others, is leading a major new study of the daily life experiences of people suffering from fatigue. . [Our patients] You want to gain insight into the patterns of fatigue and the causes of it.
It may be impossible to identify a single cause for our collective burnout, but there are several surprising causes. Serious mental health problems related to extreme anxiety and insomnia have exploded in adults and children in recent years, with pandemic and cost of living factors identified as major factors. Poverty matters where people in the poorest neighborhoods are more than twice as likely to need mental health services as people in the wealthiest neighborhoods.
There is also plenty of anecdotal and scientific evidence for a link between screen time and tiredness. The chaos of everyday life and our constant connection to technology means we really struggle to decompress at the end of the day, says Artis.
But long-term changes to the way we live and work also play a role. A recent study by the Resolution Foundation found that while UK workers have become more positive about various aspects of their jobs, the proportion of people who say their work is always or often stressful has risen sharply, from 30% in 1989 to 38% in 2015. Nearly one-third say they feel exhausted by the end of the workday, with that share nearly halving between 1992 and 2017.
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Could the pandemic-induced change in work patterns for many provide an opportunity to alleviate workplace fatigue? Researchers at the London School of Economics are examining how a hybrid job that relieves many workers of the need to be in the office five days a week affects well-being, fatigue and burnout levels. Even not commuting a few days a week can be important, says PhD researcher Alexandra Kirienko.
If someone could go straight to a client meeting from home in the morning, she says, it would definitely reduce fatigue, as commuting is a huge cause of stress and fatigue, rather than 30 minutes into the office. Some people view commute time as a buffer between home and work, but studies show that the ideal is just 16 minutes. Even an extra 20 minutes drastically drops measurable well-being standards.
Advice on what to do about our fatigue in the absence of other important factors remains unchanged and fairly boring, says Artis. Eat well, exercise during the day if possible, think about your alcohol and caffeine intake and screen time, and what helps you relax. If you’re struggling, ask for help. remain.
The best tip I can give anyone is to not think too much about sleep. Because the more you think about it, the more stress and anxiety you feel at bedtime. And going to bed should be one of the loveliest things you do.
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