NHS lists seven fast ways you can stop yourself from feeling tired

Woman yawning at her desk
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The NHS has listed several ways people can make themselves feel more awake fast. It is normal to feel sleepy after you've woken up or before going to bed, but feeling tired during the day can be a pain.

It can get in the way of your work or stop you from doing things you usually would. If you are significantly tired the majority of the time, it would be wise to speak to your doctor, as there might be a root cause for it.

You may not be sleeping, eating or drinking enough, or you might have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. There are, however, more serious causes for long-time fatigue, including poor mental health, stress, anaemia, infection and heart failure, to name a few.

But if you are looking for a quick fix to test out first before speaking to your doctor, the NHS has listed several steps you could try.

What can help get rid of fatigue fast?

According to the NHS, the following are ways to fight tiredness and fatigue:

  1. eating regular meals and healthy snacks every three to four hours, rather than a large meal less often

  2. exercising regularly

  3. losing weight (if your body is carrying excess weight)

  4. sleeping well, which includes going to bed and getting up in the morning at the same time every day

  5. avoiding caffeine in the evening if you are having trouble sleeping

  6. reducing stress

  7. drinking more water

Eating often can beat tiredness

One way to maintain your energy levels throughout the day is by having regular meals and nutritious snacks every 3 to 4 hours, instead of having a big meal infrequently.

Exercise more

Exercise may be the last thing on your mind if you're feeling tired. However, incorporating regular exercise into your routine will eventually reduce fatigue and boost your energy levels.

Just a quick 15-minute walk can really help boost your energy levels, and the more you do it, the better the benefits. Begin with a bit of physical activity, then increase it slowly over time until you hit the target of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, like biking or brisk walking.

Lose weight

Carrying around extra weight can really take a toll on your body. Not only does it leave you feeling drained, but it also puts a lot of pressure on your heart, leaving you even more fatigued.

Shedding some pounds can do wonders for your energy levels. Besides eating well, the key to successful weight loss and maintenance is to get moving and engage in regular exercise.

Get good quality sleep

Many people don't get the sleep they need to stay alert through the day. Tips for sleeping well include:

  • going to bed and getting up in the morning at the same time every day

  • avoiding naps in the day

  • taking time to relax before you go to bed

Ditch caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that gives you a boost of energy, making you feel more alert. However, it can also mess up your regular sleep patterns, causing difficulties in falling asleep and resulting in feeling tired during the day.

Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, energy drinks and some painkillers and herbal remedies. The effects of caffeine on the body can last up to seven hours, so you may want to avoid it in the evening if you are having trouble sleeping.

Lower your stress levels as much as possible

Stress can really drain your energy levels. Finding ways to relax and unwind will definitely boost your energy. Try to introduce relaxing activities into your day. This could be:

  • working out at the gym

  • yoga or tai chi

  • listening to music or reading

  • spending time with friends

There's some evidence that talking therapies such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) might help to fight fatigue, or tiredness caused by stress, anxiety or low mood.

Drink more water

Feeling tired could be because you're slightly dehydrated. Just grab a glass of water, especially after a workout, and you'll likely feel refreshed in no time.

What foods are good for chronic fatigue?

According to a 2018 study, certain nutrients and dietary components may be beneficial for individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). This includes the following:

  • source of vitamin B12: clams, mussels, crabs, dairy products, eggs.

  • sources of folic acid: dark leafy greens, legumes, citrus fruits.

  • sources of vitamin C: strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, oranges, broccoli, tomatoes.

  • sources of magnesium: nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains.

  • sources of zinc: oysters, red meat, poultry, shellfish, legumes.