Fatigue and advice for your customers

In a pharmacy setting, you may find that your customers will approach you and ask advice about their fatigue levels. We know that there are a range of underlying lifestyle factors that cause fatigue, which may include lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle, or stress and burnout.1

Every year, more than 1.5 million Australians take a trip to a doctor to ask about fatigue levels1, with 35 per cent waking up feeling tired and in need of rest2

Dr Ross Walker, an integrative cardiologist and host of 2UE’s Healthy Living radio program, provides some lifestyle pressure points that regularly emerge in conjunction with fatigue around which you can advise customers.

  1. Is your customer sleeping well? It very much seems like common sense, but you cannot underestimate the impact that a good night of sleep can have on lifestyle and overall health. Your customer may think that they are sleeping well, but bright screens, going to bed at different times each night, and staying up later than intended may have an impact on overall fatigue levels. As a rule, ensure all screens are switched off and powered down at least an hour before lights out, and ensure that the customer is getting at least six to eight hours of sleep per night.
  2. Is your customer taking supplements? Ubiquinol is an antioxidant found naturally in the body that begins to deplete as we age. It is vital to the production of energy, with low or deficient levels causing symptoms such as exhaustion after exercise, mental fatigue and irritability.
  3. Is your customer following a healthy diet? Food is quite literally fuel for our body, so it’s always important that your customer is consuming the appropriate type and amounts in order to function at an optimal level. Fresh food, lean protein and plenty of fruit and vegetables will ensure that your customer is supercharging their body. Steer clear of what I call ‘white death foods’ – sugar, rice, white bread, pasta and potatoes. The more processed the food is, the worse it is for you.
  4. Is your customer getting the recommended amount of exercise? When your customer is tired and run down, the last possible thing on their mind might be to get out and get moving. They might believe that exercise will, in fact, make them wearier. This is not the case, with plenty of studies demonstrating that exercise will provide a boost of energy, as well as improving the working efficiency of heart, lungs and muscles.
  5. Is your customer stressed out? We know that burning the candle at both ends has never done any favours. Your customer may be stressed out overwhelmed, or under pressure from work. The fact is, fatigue may be the result of stress over a long period of time.

It is also important to remember that fatigue may also be a major presenting complaint for many common illnesses. So it is important to point out to customers that if the simple measures suggested do not alleviate their fatigue, it is vital that they have a thorough check up with their doctor.

References
  1. Better Health Channel, Victoria State Government, Sleep Basics – ‘Fatigue’. www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue (accessed 16/8/16).
  2. Sleep Health Foundation, Australia’s Sleepiness Epidemic – ‘Time to stop dying from lack of sleep’. www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/media-centre/media-releases/130-time-to-stop-dying-from-lack-of-sleep-australia-s-sleepiness-epidemic.html (accessed 16/8/16).