We all feel tired from time to time, but if you feel tired most of the time you might have fatigue. Fatigue is a feeling of overwhelming tiredness, weakness or exhaustion that can be mental, physical or both.
When you have epilepsy, you are more likely to be affected by fatigue than other people. Having disrupted sleep, because of seizures or the effect of epilepsy medicines, makes fatigue more likely. You are also at more risk of being affected by fatigue if you are depressed.
Managing fatigue and tiredness
If you think you have fatigue, talk to your doctor. They can help you to find out what may be causing your fatigue, and suggest ways to help.
The NHS also gives advice to help everyone with tiredness and fatigue:
Eat regularly: Eating regular meals, with healthy snacks in between can help to keep your energy levels up.
Get active: Regular physical activity can help you feel less tired over time. If you’re not used to exercising, start with small amounts of gentle exercise and build up slowly.
Lose weight: If you’re overweight, gradually losing weight can help you have much more energy.
Ask your GP about talking therapies: there’s evidence that talking therapies can help some people with fatigue.
Cut down on caffeine and alcohol: Drinking too many drinks containing caffeine (such as coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks) can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. And drinking alcohol before bed can make you sleep less deeply, so you’ll feel more tired in the morning.
Have a good sleep routine: Try to follow a relaxing bedtime routine and go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
If you would like to see this information with references, visit the Advice and Information references section of our website. If you are unable to access the internet, please contact our Epilepsy Action Helpline freephone on 0808 800 5050.
Epilepsy Action would like to thank Professor Markus Reuber, Professor of Clinical Neurology at theUniversityofSheffieldand Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for his help in producing this information.
Professor Reuber has declared no conflict of interest
This information has been produced under the terms of Epilepsy Action's information quality standards.
- Updated December 2016To be reviewed December 2019