Dr Rupal Shah, a GP in south London, says tiredness is one of the most common complaints she sees in her surgery. “I see loads and loads of patients who complain of feeling exhausted, even though they’re sleeping well. Often it’s been going on for several months.”
At any given time, one in five people feels unusually tired, and one in 10 have prolonged fatigue, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Women tend to feel tired more than men.
Dr Shah says she routinely takes a blood test from patients complaining of tiredness to rule out a medical cause, such as anaemia or an underactive thyroid gland.
“There’s more chance of a medical reason for tiredness if there are other symptoms as well, such as heavy periods, weight loss, a change in bowel habits, hair loss, extreme thirst and so on.”
If you want to work out how you became tired in the first place, it can help to think about: