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Are You Tired Of Looking Tired All The Time?

April 20, 2017

According to a recent SingHealth Polyclinics Study released in early January 2017, more than 40 percent of Singaporeans are not getting enough sleep on weekdays. The study, which surveyed 350 adults at two polyclinics from February to June 2015, reported that a sleep time of less than seven hours per night was considered insufficient. In the long run, this lack of sleep can affect the body’s immune system, memory, concentration, and daily functioning. The study also looked at the factors that contributed to this decrease in sleeping hours. It found that respondents who used the computer or laptop to surf the web or play games in their bedrooms were more likely to clock less sleeping hours.

However, electronics aren’t the only culprit when it comes to chronic fatigue. According to Dr Kenny Pang, Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist at Asia Sleep Centre, the most common sleep disorder he sees at his clinic is snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In a March 2016 study funded by the Jurong Health Services Research and Quality Improvement Grant, it found that one in three Singaporeans suffer from moderate to severe OSA, with one in 10 suffering from the severe form of the disorder.

 

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

Dr Pang explains, “Snoring is an ‘alarm’ to indicate one might have OSA. Snoring is due to vibration of soft tissues in the mouth and often due to nose blockage as well.

Due to these excess tissues in the nose and or mouth, the upper airway is narrowed, hence, during sleep when the person is completely relaxed, the airway will collapse and obstruct, leading to low oxygen at night. This could lead to the patient experiencing choking or gasping at night; the bed partner may also notice loud snoring with pauses in breathing.”

While some may brush off snoring as a nuisance, the truth is, OSA can be dangerous, as recurrent low oxygen at night can lead to hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks. During the day, the patient will feel tired, sleepy, lethargic, and experience poor concentration, poor memory, short temper, and have poor reflexes. All these could lead to unnecessary arguments, decreased work performance, and even traffic accidents.

The best way to find out if you’re suffering from OSA is to get a sleep test done. These home-based tests monitor your sleep in your regular environment, which helps yield a more accurate result. From there, your doctor will be able to best advise on the treatment plans for your condition.

 

Other Reasons For Chronic Fatigue

Apart from OSA, insomnia is another common complaint seen at sleep clinics. Dr Lim Li Ling, neurologist and sleep physician at Singapore Neurology and Sleep Centre, Gleneagles Medical Centre, says, “Insomnia is often related to lifestyle factors such as stress, lack of exercise, as well as irregular meal and sleep timing.”

However, if you find yourself still struggling with unrefreshing sleep and constant tiredness even after adjusting your lifestyle, the problem could run deeper below the surface. Dr Lim says, “Apart from sleep disorders like insomnia and OSA, there are other factors that cause fatigue. For example, mood disorders such as anxiety or depression as well as metabolic disorders like thyroid, liver, and kidney problems, low blood count, and heart issues can all contribute to poor sleep.”

Depending on the root cause of your tiredness, your doctor will then prescribe a suitable treatment plan. Dr Lim says, “If the cause of tiredness is depression, it can be treated with antidepressant medication or counselling therapy. If it is a hormone deficiency, supplements may be needed.”

 

How To Look Less Tired

Girl smiling

Even as you embark on a treatment plan, there are some hacks to help you look a little less haggard. For one, try to drink more water throughout the day. Keeping yourself hydrated is important in keeping eye bags at bay. That’s because the space below our eyes can accumulate fluid, which can cause your under-eye area to appear puffy or swollen. In addition, as we age, the tissue structures and muscles supporting our eyelids begin to weaken. When our skin starts to sag, the fat that is normally confined to the area around our eye starts to shift into the area below our eyes.

The appearance of eye bags tends to be hereditary or due to allergies, but it can also be caused by fluid retention due to changes in weather – for example, when it’s hot and humid. Fluctuating hormone levels, eating too much salty food, and not getting enough sleep can also aggravate the situation. So while you can’t completely eradicate the appearance of eye bags, there are several lifestyle adjustments you can make to appear fresher and more revitalised.

In the mornings, try to take a cold shower or at least, wash your face with extra cold water. Cold water causes your blood vessels to constrict, reducing redness and swelling, so your face looks more rested.

Use an exfoliating scrub to get rid of the surface grime from the night before and to help brighten your complexion. Once your face is cleansed, apply a good moisturiser to keep your skin looking dewy fresh.

To get rid of puffy eyes, press a cold spoon (curved side in) to your eye sockets. These spoons should have been placed in your freezer while you’re in the shower. It may sound strange, but the combination of the cold and the pressure can help de-puff your eyes and make you look more awake. Keep the spoons on your eyes for about five minutes, or until they are no longer cold.

From there, you can further minimise the appearance of dark eye circles and fake a natural radiance with the clever use of concealers and makeup highlighters. With the highlighter, use it across your cheekbones, nose bridge, cupid’s bow, and the underside of your eyes and brow for a brighter, more luminous complexion.