Asthma UK community forum

i'm tired!

I need so much sleep a day, that it's becoming a bit of a joke!

I have to have 10 hours sleep at night, and a nap at some point during the day, normally the moment I get in from placement or whatever else I'm doing. Yesterday I got in and didn't make it past the front door I was that tired, so had an hour nap by it...... my housemates are starting to suspect I'm turning into a cat!

I am reasonably anemic and take iron for it, but this doesn't seem to improve it much. Does anyone else suffer from being tired all the time? I spoke to a GP about it, and he just made the standard 'i'm not surprised, maybe it's the drug's maybe it's the impact on your body from your lungs' comment.

If anyone has any advice on dealing with tiredness than that would be amazing... or in a similar position?

I try to be healthy, I try to exercise to make it better, but going running when your exhausted isn't much fun. I also eat a mountain of dextrose tablets walking around placement, which I'm guessing isn't doing me a lot of good - the sugar dips? but they keep me awake, so I keep taking them...

help please!


8 Replies

Hi Ally,

I am a person who needs lots of sleep - 8 or 9 hours a night and I could still have a siesta! Just a few things I thought of on reading your post. What quality of sleep do you have? Definitely cut out the dextrose and replace with bananas, nuts, dried fruit (is dried apricot good for iron? can't remember). Also cut out any caffeine other than the first one or two drinks of the day. I am on uniphyllin, 200mg twice a day and this is really affecting my sleep. I have found cutting caffeine even more than I usually do has really helped. Also try to have 6 - 8 glasses of water a day as this can increase energy if you are dehydrated. If I think of anything else I will add it. I prioritise my sleep now, especially as I work nights as I am like you, could sleep for England!! lol

Let me know how it goes.




I am also tired all the time. I sleep for between 8 and 10 hours a night and literally cannot function on less. I am 26 and am doing better now than i used to. When i was 17-20ish i could hardly ever go out with friends, a day at work or college would leave me so tired that i was really miserable and took it out on everyone around me. At this point i hadn't been diagnosed as being asthmatic and i was sent to a neurologist who told me it was part of who i was and to get used to it. Since getting treatment for asthma it has improved, i was told it could be something to do with oxygen not getting to my brain as much as in other people (don't know if this is true).

I was also anemic and take iron tablets intermittently now along with a iron rich diet but don't think it helps much as i have a reasonably healthy diet anyway.

Hope yours improves.



They should really check!

Hi Ally,

I wonder if you might have sleep apnea (and are inable to breathe properly at night) or have some other condition. I think you should go back to your practice but make an appointment with another GP- tell them about the whole falling asleep on the doorstep thing and needing 11+ hours sleep altogether- this is pretty unusual and it's better for them to eliminate all other issues before assuming that it's your asthma/meds



Do you have good quality sleep, or does your asthma wake you at night? Even if you don't wake up with coughing/breathlessness it can still disrupt your sleep. I find it amazing the difference between OK and good control! I had a few stable weeks recently with very little variation in peak flow and I felt fantastic and slept like a log.

It could be just your asthma and meds but it would be good to exclude other things I guess. Maybe even a blood test to check iron, potassium etc?

I was listening to a radio programme the other day, I think it was on radio 4, but I couldn't find a podcast of it. There was a dr who ran clinics for teenagers who were chronically really really tired but no medical cause could be found. She recommended not getting too much sleep i.e. don't spend hours in bed just a 'normal' amount of hours, and trying to keep to a routine.

I agree that the dextrose tablets won't help, my swimming coach used to say that the corresponding dip is bigger than the peak with these type of energy tablets. Low GI snacks are good. Apparently apple juice is better at waking you up than caffeine might worth a try? If you can't run a swim or a walk might be good!

Hope it improves



Sorry can't help too much, but just wanted to let you know I'm the same. I seem to need 10 hours' sleep and to have awoken naturally to function properly. I think with me it is the quality of sleep as I don't think I fall into a proper deep sleep and I often wake up (only for a couple of minutes) earlier in the morning then doze off again.

I agree that eating healthily and trying to do as much as possible helps - but I can only do those things when I'm not tired so it's a vicious circle until I get a holiday and have enough time to have a proper sleep.


I'm tired

That's such a shame. You sound quite young and you mention a placement, so it sounds as if you are in some kind of study, which takes a lot of energy as you cope with something new every day.

All my life I've had less energy than other people my age and along the way I've learned how to cope with it. Asthma makes you tired, so does anaemia, some drugs, and maybe the dextrose tablets are giving you a high, then a low. And good for you for getting the exercise, it's not easy. Here are some things I've found that help. I have to do a number of things every day, which is a pain, but better than being ill or exhausted. So here goes:

meditation/relaxation techniques

work on breathing - through the diagphram (or however you spell that!), and breathing through the nose to avoid hyperventilation

pacing myself - taking regular breaks

going to bed by 11 pm or so and not oversleeping (ironically this can make you more tired)

regular meals with low sugar, some protein and slow-release carbs - to keep your blood sugar level instead of soaring and dipping, which is exhausting

saying no to extra work/outings when I am tired

having some down time about 5 pm or when I get in from work

regular exercise without overdoing it (you can check this by taking your pulse)

watching comedy or being with people who you can laugh and relax with - a great stressbuster

I wonder if there's someone on your course or at work that you can speak to, to say that you are finding the workload exhausting (you may have to be careful here - not all working environments are supportive). And maybe you need to go back to your doctor -or another one who would be more supportive. Sometimes you can get them on a bad day. I write down my symptoms before I go to the doc, because I find myself getting anxious in the waiting room, then forgetting half of them.

I hope you find something that works. Good wishes,


I am beginning to think that if I could afford it I would go part time so I could have a day off just to sleep every week! I am always tired but have a very busy lifestyle anyway so I am never sure if I am just ""doing too much"" as my Nan says, suffering from the side effects of the various drugs I am on or just getting older! I feel I don't get good quality sleep, very disturbed, waking at the slightest noise. I wish I was the sort of person to nod off within minutes of hitting the pillow, but I never have been. I also prefer 10-12 hours kip to feel refreshed but hardly ever get that, there's just not enough hours in a day. I sympathise a lot with you but the only advice I can give you (and do as I say not as I do) is to make sure you get some ""you time"" if not every day then at least every week, to just chill out and unwind, especially before trying to sleep. Easier said than done I know.



Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm on iron supplements for my anemia, think I will get my levels checked again. I do eat a lot of iron rich foods to try and keep my levels as high as poss naturally.

Will also try some meditation, and maybe try some yoga.

I shall be throwing my dextrose tablets in the bin (tho I will miss them a lot!!) and discussing my sleeping with my resp con to rule out any other problems. I'm a medical student so my placement involves a lot of walking around the hospital to find patients. I can discuss problems with my pt, but I'm not sure there's much she could do, and I think my asthma's enough for her to deal with, bit if it gets worse or carries on I will discuss it with her. Will defs try and up my exercise to as much as poss. My asthma's still 'out of control' as such so I'm sure that has something to do with it.

Thanks for all your replies guys, it's good to know I'm not alone, and to have lots of ideas to try.

Cheers Ally


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