Tired all of the time? Most often, fatigue is a result of lifestyle factors such as poor sleep, stress or a schedule that's too full.

The February issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter offers suggestions to fight fatigue:

Manage stress -- Learn to say no. Set priorities. Pace yourself. Take time each day to simply relax.

Be active -- Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day.

Eat well -- A low-fat, high-fiber breakfast prepares your body for the day's demands. Limit high-fat and high-sugar foods, which tend to make you feel sluggish later.

Avoid alcohol -- Alcohol depresses your central nervous system and acts as a sedative, making you tired for hours after consuming even minimal amounts.

Practice good sleep habits -- Avoid eating, reading or watching TV in bed. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. Set your alarm for the same time each day -- a routine will help establish a regular schedule. Naps are OK, but keep them short and early in the day.

Dramatic or prolonged fatigue may be the sign of an underlying medical problem. If lifestyle changes don't seem to help, see your doctor. Some common medical causes of fatigue are anemia, cancer, depression or other mood disorders, diabetes, infections, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, thyroid problems and even heart attack. A recent study found that the most common early warning sign that women experience before a heart attack is unusual fatigue.

This is a highlight from the February issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Also, you may reprint up to four articles annually without cost. More frequent reprinting is allowed for a fee. Mayo Clinic Health Letter attribution is required. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Call toll free for subscription information, 800-333-9037, extension 9PR1.

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