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Combat Fatigue: 10 Effective Tactics by Dr Jacinto Valverde

Combat Fatigue: 10 Effective Tactics by Dr Jacinto Valverde

Published: 21 March, 2024 | 7'

Struggling with a lack of energy or extreme fatigue that doesn't improve after getting enough sleep? You might be experiencing fatigue. It's more common than you think, especially during certain times of the year, such as seasonal changes like spring asthenia, or as a symptom of acold or flu.

Fatigue is characterised by a feeling of extreme exhaustion that doesn't improve with the necessary rest and can occur for various reasons. Discover how to combat fatigue and how it differs from tiredness with the help of Dr. Jacinto Valverde Navas, head of the Internal Medicine department at the Hospital Beata Maria Ana de Jesus.

Fatigue or tiredness?

Fatigue or tiredness

Since the physical sensation is similar, fatigue and tiredness are often confused. Thus, it's important to distinguish between them to understand how to alleviate them and know when it's necessary to visit a specialist.

The term tiredness describes an inability to maintain activity after performing continuous physical, intellectual or emotional work. "This sensation is temporary and energy reserves are restored after resting appropriately, proportionate to the work exerted," explains Dr. Valverde.

Fatigue is known as the physical feeling of being too tired to carry out daily activities under standard conditions persistently, and it doesn't go away after getting enough rest or sleeping the usual required hours each day. "This indicates a sustained lack of energy, unlike tiredness, which is temporary," he continues.

The state of fatigue can affect our daily rhythm and our quality of life. It most commonly presents as part of a complex of symptoms, but whether it occurs alone or with other symptoms, it is advisable to discuss it with your general practitioner if it persists for several weeks, as it could indicate a more serious health problem.

Types of fatigue

Fatigue is often accompanied by general weakness, extreme tiredness, and lack of energy which can affect both physical and mental levels. Therefore, depending on its cause and symptoms, fatigue can be divided into several types.

  • Acute, persistent or chronic fatigue

Fatigue can be classified according to its intensity and duration. Acute and persistent fatigue lasts anywhere from 1-week to over a month, which can disappear with rest or, on the contrary, be a symptom of some transitory situation affecting the functioning of our body, generally not needing clinical intervention. Chronic fatigue (known as chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS) is the only type that's treated as a clinical condition, as it entails a state of prolonged fatigue for at least 6 months without an apparent cause, with symptoms like concentration disorders, non-restorative sleep, discomfort following physical effort and headache, among others.

  • Physical fatigue

Physical fatigue appears after a high-intensity physical effort, resulting in a sense of constant weakness and physical exhaustion , accompanied by discomfort and/or muscle pain, even with difficulty in relaxing. Physical fatigue can manifest at a cardiorespiratory, muscular level, etc.

  • Muscle fatigue

Muscle fatigue occurs when we subject our bodies to very intense muscle effort or push to the point of failing, affecting the muscle's ability to contract and leading to an energy reserve deficit. As a result, we lose physical capacity and can't continue with our usual performance.

  • Mental Fatigue

Mental fatigue is defined as areduction in the functional efficiency of our cognitive and emotional abilities, high variability with the intensity, duration and schema of the activity being carried out. This type of fatigue can manifest as difficulty paying attention, concentrating or, in general, poor performance after undertaking prolonged mental effort; or it can be directly related to feelings of stress or anxiety, since it represents extreme emotional exhaustion which usually occurs during periods of overload (work, intense emotional situations, among others) and a fast-paced lifestyle.

Symptoms of fatigue

In general, fatigue is characterised by the main sensation of low energy both physical and mental. This state can in turn affect other derived symptoms such as chronic tiredness or drowsiness, muscular weakness,, trouble sleeping or achieving restful sleep, lack of concentration and even bad mood and lack of motivation.

Causes of fatigue or extreme tiredness

Fatigue can be a normal response to physical effort, emotional stress, or lack of sleep. “It is not usually treated as a clinical condition since it, in general, subsides in a few days or weeks after getting adequate rest, maintaining a correct diet rich in essential nutrients or having low stress levels, says the doctor. 

When this does not happen or the symptoms persist, fatigue can be caused by other conditions such as:

10 things you can do to say goodbye to fatigue

extreme tiredness

“Today, the pace of life is generally accelerated”, says Dr. Valverde, “we undertake many activities without considering the necessary rest, so this additional expenditure from our body results in a state of mental and physical fatigue as we try to meet all work and personal commitments”.

To confront this situation and regain energy, there are healthy habits that we can incorporate into our daily lives. Here are ten guidelines you can follow at home to feel less tired:

1. Exercise daily

Conduct moderate physical activity daily, such as walking for half an hour, is a good way to activate endorphins to improve mood and help establish a healthy routine.

2. Get sufficient sleep

Try to organise your schedule so you allow for 7- 8 hours of bed time. Even if you don’t sleep the entire time, avoid staying up late and get into the habit of going to bed at the same time to establish this routine and associate being in bed with sleeping.

3. Eat Correctly

Making some changes to your diet might help you feel more energetic. Aim to choose foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like seafood or nuts, and in B-group vitamins, such as eggs and lean meat. Introducing proteins and carbohydrates to your breakfast will help kick start your day energetically, such as having toast with an egg.

4. Hydrate

Occasionally, sudden fatigue might be a sign of dehydration. Drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid daily: water, broths, infusions or juices.

5. Start your day energetically

Avoid going to bed late so you can get enough sleep and thereby be able to wake up early, making your day more productive. A tip for doing this is to switch off the alarm and instantly get up, this small gesture will help you avoid negative thoughts and get moving for your day.

6. Try to establish a daily routine

Fatigue often causes us to not feel like doing daily tasks, but following a routine will help keep us active and our minds occupied with common tasks like going to work, exercising, cooking, etc.

7. Relax and give yourself some "me time"

Commit only to activities that you genuinely care about and are of your interest. This will give you some free time to pursue activities you enjoy alone and find a hobby that excites you.

8. Learn to manage stress

Set priorities, wanting to "do it all" is sometimes not possible if you are not feeling energised enough. Start with the most important tasks and perform the rest based on how you feel, without forcing them into obligations, this will help you feel less overwhelmed and stressed.

9. Supplements to combat fatigue

A diet rich in essential nutrients is the foundation for having enough energy that our body needs, however there can be times like more demanding periods in the workplace or in personal life when supplementing our diet with dietary supplements can be very helpful.

10. Listen to your body and consult your doctor or healthcare professional if there are no improvements

 When fatigue does not decrease after a few weeks of following the three main guidelines - sleeping well, eating well and maintaining a low-stress environment, it's advisable to consult your healthcare professional. There may be other more significant reasons why you feel this extreme tiredness.

Supplements for Battling Fatigue

The foundation for providing our bodies with sufficient energy to combat fatigue is a suitable nutrient intake of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats through diet. Furthermore, we can turn to dietary supplements during periods of high demand such as seasonal changes, stress, or intense physical exercise, among others. 

These situations require our bodies to have a high demand for nutrients, particularly for the correct functioning of the immune system and energy metabolism. You can cope with this strain with a varied and balanced diet, and supplement with dietary supplements.

  • Vitamin B12, Iron and Magnesium

Certain vitamins and minerals such as the vitamin B12, Iron and the Magnesium have a direct part in energy metabolism, helping to reduce tiredness and fatigue. 

  • B Vitamin Complex and Vitamin C

Additionally, the B vitamin complex as a whole and the vitamin C are also recommended during these stages as they aid energy metabolism and help decrease tiredness and fatigue.

  • Ginseng, Guarana and Maca

Other natural ingredients that are useful for reducing fatigue include Guarana, which aids in reducing fatigue, Ginseng has invigorating properties and contributes to physical performance, along with Maca, traditionally used in its ability to boost energy levels.

  • Royal Jelly and Pollen

Other natural active ingredients such as Royal Jelly and Pollen have been traditionally used in combination with other supplements that include vitamins, minerals or amino acids to help alleviate fatigue.


This article was produced in collaboration with Dr. Jacinto Valverde Navas. This article is informative and does not replace consultation with a specialist.

Doctor jacinto valverdeAbout the specialist

Dr Jacinto Valverde Navas

With more than 30 years of experience, Dr Jacinto Valverde Navas is head of the Internal Medicine service at the Beata Má Ana de Jesús Hospital in Madrid, where he provides clinical, complete and scientific patient care from an integrated perspective.

Healthcare Professionals