Why Am I So Tired?
It’s quite common for people to feel sluggish at some point during the day. While you might be tempted to turn to a cup of coffee or a bag of sugary snacks to feel better, it’s important to understand why you’re feeling tired and discover healthier solutions. Your lack of energy can oftentimes be attributed to your lifestyle or simply your body’s natural, internal clock.
Your lifestyle plays a big role in your energy levels, from diet to exercise habits. Here are four reasons why your lifestyle may be weighing you down.
Eating foods high in saturated fats, carbs, and sugar can slow you down. A spike in your body’s blood sugar increases your insulin, which in turn rapidly lowers your blood sugar level. This process can leave you feeling tired and cranky.
Deficiencies of vitamins C, B12, and B9 are also linked with feeling tired. Vitamins are crucial to producing healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen from your lungs to other parts of your body.
Eating a big lunch can also result in postprandial somnolence, aka “food coma”,. Various chemical reactions produce melatonin (the sleep hormone) after a big lunch, making you very drowsy.
Not Enough Exercise
Regular exercise helps you feel less tired. Your body becomes weaker if you are not active, making it challenging to complete simple tasks and ultimately impacting your energy levels.
Lack of Quality Sleep
Going to bed late and waking up early creates poor sleep habits that don’t allow you to feel refreshed in the morning. This lifestyle can lead to constant crashing in the afternoon.
It’s also been scientifically proven that the blue light emitted from phones, tablets, and other devices make it harder to fall asleep at night. This light suppresses melatonin in the body more than normal light, shifting your sleep schedule and making it difficult to get a good night’s rest.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Being dehydrated severely impacts energy levels. Your cells are unable to perform normally when they lack adequate fluid. While your cardiovascular system will try to maintain a healthy heart with an optimal blood pressure, this often results in an increased heart rate and lowered blood pressure, leading to fatigue.
It might not just be your lifestyle making you sleepy. Your body has two systems that regulate sleep: sleep/wake homeostasis and circadian rhythm. The sleep/wake homeostasis controls the amount of sleep you need to make up for the time spent awake. This restorative process causes you to slowly get tired throughout the day.
The circadian rhythm controls when you feel sleepy and awake during the day. It rises and falls with varying intensity throughout the day, and typically you’ll feel the sleepiest between 2-4am and 1-3pm. The more sleep you get the less intense the dips will be.
Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is critical to regulating your sleep/wake homeostasis and circadian rhythm, allowing you to have more energy throughout the day.
Possible Medical Condition
While your lifestyle and internal clock are usually the culprits for why you feel tired, a medical condition may sometimes be the reason. Possible causes for chronic fatigue include: anemia, depression, anxiety disorder, sleep apnea, heart disease, and urinary tract infection. Some medications also cause fatigue. We recommend consulting a doctor if you suspect you have a possible medical condition.
How Do I Stop Being So Tired?
While there are various reasons why you may feel exhausted, don’t feel discouraged! Here are 5 natural ways to help increase your energy levels.
Eat Foods that Give You Energy
Make sure you maintain a healthy diet with foods rich in vitamins since vitamin deficiencies are linked with feeling tired.
Certain vitamins have been proven to increase energy levels and provide lasting focus. Foods rich in vitamin B6, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber (to name a few) can give you the energy you crave. Here are foods you should reach for when you need a boost:
Bananas, apples, goji berries, strawberries
Quinoa, lentils, oatmeal, brown rice
Edamame, avocados, leafy greens, sweet potatoes
Eating smaller, more frequent meals will also provide more energy than large lunches that can leave you in a food coma.
Get Moving Several Times A Week
Exercising and moving your body will help increase energy levels. Staying active also boosts cardiovascular health which strengthens endurance throughout the day. Make sure to exercise a healthy amount, about 30 minutes a day, as over-exercising can be dangerous. With your endorphins pumping, you’re sure to be one happier, energized person ready to take on the day.
Develop Better Sleep Habits
Depending on your age, the recommended amount of sleep differs: babies need 14-17 hours, teens need 9.5, and adults 7-9 hours.
Here are some habits you can incorporate into your routine to help you get better quality sleep:
Limit use of any devices that emit blue light. You can also change your device settings to minimize the light or try blue light blocking glasses.
Set the temperature of your bedroom to 65 degrees, the ideal sleeping temperature
Don’t drink caffeine late in the afternoon
Exercise at least 3 hours before bedtime
Clear your mind by doing some meditation, journaling, or reading a book
You can also try taking a midday nap. Check out our tips on how to make your nap count.
Drink More Water
Stay hydrated with the recommended 8 cups of water per day! Water helps reduce dry skin, wrinkles, and acne scars while maintaining a healthy blood flow. Additionally, water helps you stay energized by providing necessary hydration to muscle cells. Not drinking enough water can fatigue the muscles, reducing performance.
To feel even more energy, try cutting out alcohol, a dehydrator. The more dehydrated you are, the more tired you’ll feel.
Drink Alternative Forms of Caffeine
While coffee and energy drinks can give you a quick boost, they’re known for causing jitters and crashes. Yerba mate and matcha are great natural alternatives but they may not give you the amount of energy and focus you’re looking for. Another alternative is guarana. Guarana is a great source of natural energy that provides a long-lasting lift without the crash. For a guarana-based energy drink try GO BIG, an all-natural shot that gives you smooth energy to get you through the day.
If you’re constantly feeling tired, try changing up your lifestyle routine and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. Developing better sleep and exercise habits along with maintaining a balanced, well-hydrated diet are simple but effective ways to re-energize your mind and body. You can also try alternative forms of caffeine like guarana.
We recommend seeking professional medical advice if none of these natural methods help you feel less tired. You may have a condition that requires additional diagnosis.
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