Everyone is tired from time to time. Fatigue could be described as a lack of energy. You no longer manage to do what you would like or need to do. You don't feel as fit as you could be. About a quarter of the Dutch people suffer from fatigue. Women more often than men, and young people more often than people over 50. When you are tired, for example after a late party or young children keeping you awake at night, or after a night shift, it usually fades away after 1 or 2 nights of good, long sleep. If you are tired for a longer time and it starts to greatly affect your daily life, then fatigue is a real problem. 



Where does fatigue come from?

Fatigue usually comes from sleeping problems. And those sleeping problems are often again related to mental issues, like: stress, being too busy, sadness, pain, concerns etc. Physical causes are also possible, including: itching, pain etc. How can you tell that someone is tired? The symptoms of being tired are:

  • Seeing pale, circles under the eyes
  • Regular yawning and rubbing of the eyes
  • Drowsiness or listlessness
  • Occasionally nodding off or falling asleep

When you are tired, you may experience concentration problems. During a conversation, not everything that is said gets through and you are less able to pay attention. For example, in traffic or at work. Other complaints are: 

  • Quickly agitated or irritated
  • Quick to cry or quick to anger
  • Not feeling like doing anything
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Stumbling more easily or dropping something


What are psychological causes of fatigue?

Psychic causes of fatigue have to do with how you feel or what you think about. For example:


At home and at work

  • Problems at home or at work make it harder for you to relax. You feel stressed and may run around all day worrying. Being tense all day makes you extra tired. Arguing can worsen the tension. At night, you can't get the problem out of your mind. As a result, you sleep worse and fatigue increases.
  • You work hard and take too little rest. You go on and on, going to bed late and getting up very early again. Working hard is not a bad thing per se, but sometimes it can be just too much and real fatigue strikes.
  • The problems, fatigue, and tension can be so heavy that you become overworked. A key characteristic of being overworked is severe fatigue.
  • Passive activities, such as watching television and playing computer games, can even be very tiring and increase your fatigue.


Phone & Social media

  • Social media itself may not be a bad thing, but the number of hours we spend on social media on our phone is, and especially before bedtime. In the two to three hours before bedtime, the body produces melatonin. This hormone makes you fall asleep and sleep through. Blue light from the smartphone disrupts this process.


Blue light screens

  • In recent years, more and more blue light screens have been developed. Not only TVs but also computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Recently developed screens emit more blue light than traditional sources because they use LED technology. It is known that blue light influences our biological clock, and thus can disrupt sleep.


A profound event

  • For example, you are moving or your house is being remodeled. You have a serious leakage at home and at the same time the boiler breaks down mid winter. There are a lot of expenses and you can't pay it all right away. All reasons to get very exhausted.
  • A major loss of a loved one and the grief, and all the feelings this brings, can exhaust you.



  • Fatigue and lethargy are important features of depression. People who are depressed, sometimes prefer to stay in bed all day. When they get out of bed, they are often still tired.


Anxiety and panic

  • If you are constantly anxious or have a panic disorder, anxiety and panic can begin to control your life. You can become totally exhausted from this.


What are physical causes of fatigue?

Physical causes of fatigue have to do with how you treat your body. How much you exercise, how much and what you eat, and what stimulants you use, it all affects your fitness and condition and thus determines whether you feel tired. In addition, almost all diseases cause fatigue.


Important physical causes of fatigue

Body condition 

  • The less you exercise, the worse your condition. You are then more likely to be tired on a regular basis.
  • People who eat unhealthy foods (fatty meat, fries, mayonnaise, sweets, few fruits and vegetables) are more likely to be tired regularly.
  • People who are overweight are more likely to be tired.
  • People who eat almost nothing and are extremely thin are also more likely to be tired.



  • Smoking reduces blood flow to all your tissues and organs. It also releases toxins into the blood. People who smoke a lot and for long periods of time are often very tired.
  • People who drink more than 1 or 2 glasses of alcohol daily may suffer from fatigue. In addition, people who drink a lot of alcohol sleep poorly. They often fall asleep like a log, but wake up very early and don't sleep a wink.
  • Drugs, such as cannabis, XTC, and cocaine, can cause fatigue. Fatigue immediately after use, but also fatigue from long-term use.


Medicines and diseases

  • Several medications can cause fatigue. For example, anti-allergy drugs (antihistamines).
  • People who are seriously or chronically ill or those who experience long-term pain are often tired for long periods of time.


What can you do when you are tired?

  • A power nap, or short nap, can help get rid of the worst of the fatigue for a while. Find a quiet, preferably dark, space where you can lie down for a while, even if it's on a couch, and try to sleep for 20 minutes.
  • Caffeine is one of the few substances scientifically proven to positively affect the areas of the brain and nervous system that improve focus and energy. An energy gum, chewing gum with caffeine, not only helps you get over your fatigue at a certain point, but by chewing it, your brain is activated which provides improved memory function, extra focus, and less stress.
  • Take frequent short breaks while at work. Take a walk at noon. If possible, don't work in the weekends. Do things you enjoy that are not related to your work.
  • Sit behind a TV or computer as little as possible and put your smartphone away more often.


What should you change structurally to combat fatigue?

  • See if you can change certain sleep habits so you sleep better.

Try to stop habits that can cause fatigue. That generally means:

  • Stop smoking (if you smoke).
  • Drink as little alcohol as possible, or preferably nothing at all until the fatigue passes.
  • Try, if you use drugs, to minimize the use.
  • Try to lose some weight if you are overweight.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Try to actively exercise at least 5 times a week for half an hour. It doesn't matter if you exercise for half an hour every day, 2 times for 15 minutes or 3 times for 10 minutes. Active exercise includes brisk walking, biking to work or the store, doing intense housework such as washing windows, or working in the garden.
  • Try to solve problems at home or at work. Engage in conversations and speak up about your problems. If you are overworked, take a period of rest and then gradually try to return to work. Agree on your tasks and pace of work.
  • If you suffer from too much tension, anxiety or depression, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor or a psychologist. Your doctor can advise you about this. More information can be found in the topic: psychological complaints. 


Test how much energy you need

If you have too much energy, you become restless and if you lack energy, you become tired. That's why finding the balance is so important. Don't know exactly how much energy you need? Then take the test now and find out within 1 minute!


Take the test
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.