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Coping with tiredness

Everyone feels tired sometimes, but usually you will feel better after resting. However many people living with a long-term chest condition can feel extreme tiredness (or fatigue) for a lot of the time. This can leave you with little energy for everyday tasks such as getting dressed or cooking a meal.

Why do I feel so tired?

There are many reasons you may feel more tired than normal if you have a long-term chest condition.

Physical reasons include:

  • You may be having difficulty sleeping at night and this will make you more tired during the day.
  • Physical changes may mean that you are learning to do things in a different way and this can be tiring mentally and physically.
  • Damage to your lungs can mean that less oxygen gets into your blood.

Emotional reasons include:

  • If you are feeling stressed, frustrated, angry or depressed, these emotions can make you feel extremely tired and cause sleep disturbances.

Your medication:

  • Tiredness can be a side effect of some medicines. Discuss this with your doctor if you think your medicines are making you feel tired.

What can I do to help me feel less tired?

There are many things you can do to help restore your energy levels if you are feeling tired:

  • Keep active
  • Get  good-quality sleep
  • Cut out caffeine
  • Eat regular meals and healthy snacks
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Lose weight (if you are overweight)
  • Pace yourself
  • Plan ahead
  • Relax

What can I do to conserve energy?

Things that can help you to save energy and feel less tired include:

  • Try to do a little each day rather than a lot in one go.
  • Sit down for as many activities as possible. For example, when you are preparing food or getting dressed.
  • Spread housekeeping tasks across the week and ask for help if you need it from family or friends or be hiring a cleaner.
  • Do your shopping online if you can or if you have to go shopping, go at less busy times.
  • Try to avoid unnecessary walking or carrying around the home by having things you know you are going to need throughout the day nearby.
  • Try to make sure you relax regularly. This might be by going for a walk or listening to music. Anything that helps you relax and reduces stress will help you feel less tired.

See the CHSS factsheet Coping with Tiredness (PDF) for more information