If you're feeling fatigued, the best place to start is pretty obvious: sleep. Without regular ZZZs, you're going to be tired. But the real secret is that your energy level is connected to a lot more than just your sleep.
In fact, the way you eat, move, and sleep all influence each other. Pulling on one thread pulls the whole thing apart. Maybe you forgo your relaxation ritual throughout a particularly hectic week and suddenly, you're skipping workouts and forgetting to put together your favorite nutritious breakfast in the mornings. And, oh yeah, you're still not sleeping that great.
These seemingly little things add up. But luckily, fixing one can set you in motion to improve them all — and get your energy train back on track. Ahead, here are 30 weird things that might be the true root cause of your urgent need to nap.
You aren't drinking enough water. When you're dehydrated, it's difficult for your body to function in many ways — including staying concentrated, energized, and in a good mood.
Your bedroom’s messy. According to recent research, being stuck in a cluttered room can make it hard to concentrate. As a result, you're wasting precious cognitive resources on being distracted by that mess. So clean it up, because you may feel better. Same goes for you very disorganized desk at work.
Your nighttime drink. Yes, an extra glass of wine will chill you out — at first. Unfortunately, later in the night, alcohol can interrupt the stages of sleep, causing you to toss and turn and wake up feeling unrested.
You skipped your workout. People who work out regularly also tend to consistently sleep better. On the other hand, working out too close to bedtime can leave you feeling too pumped up to fall asleep. So try to leave at least a few hours after your CrossFit session to wind down.
Your allergies are acting up . Feeling sluggish is one of the hallmark signs of allergies (along with runny nose, itchy eyes, and the other classic symptoms). If you've never had allergies before — and yes, unfortunately, they can crop up later in life — you might not realize that's what's going on. If it comes with sneezing or itchy, watery eyes, that's your sign to see a doctor for an allergy test.
Allergy meds can make you feel tired, too. To stay sharp, ask your doctor about non-drowsy formulas of your preferred meds.
You slept in last weekend. One of the best things you can do to get a better night's sleep is keep up your consistency. That means falling asleep and waking up at around the same time every day — even on weekends (sorry).
You can’t stop checking your phone. We know that blue light from your phone and laptop can interfere with your body's natural melatonin production and, unfortunately, keep you alert way past bedtime. If you really can't take a break from the screens, try using a program like f.lux on your computer or Night Shift on your phone to switch from blue to orange light. These aren't conclusively proven to help, but they're better than nothing.
You’re mad at your partner. According to new research, people who perceive their partners as being more responsive to relationship issues tend to get better sleep, because they aren't dealing with so much anxiety. Go figure!
Your period’s almost here Researchers haven’t totally pinned down the link between our cycles and our sleep. But some experts do think nodding off might be more difficult a few days before our periods, when estrogen levels are at their highest.
Your thyroid’s out of whack. For some women, being low on energy is a sign that something is off with their thyroid gland. In particular, having an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) is associated with a general feeling of fatigue. If you just can’t seem to shake that drained feeling, it’s worth checking in with your doctor, who can check your thyroid levels.
You’re not getting enough iron. Your body needs iron in order to keep your blood moving and carry oxygen to your muscles. So if you're feeling extra-tired, that might signal an iron issue. Fuel up on leafy greens, tuna, and legumes to get a little extra in your meals.
You watched too much AHS. What you do before you go to bed can set the tone for your night’s sleep. So if you spent a few hours catching up on the latest episodes of Quantico or American Horror Story, you might be a little more alert than you’d planned.
You just got back to town. Jet lag is a major cause of fatigue, but it's one for which you can plan ahead. Drinking tons of water, packing nutritious snacks, and keeping active while en route can all help.
You haven't seen your therapist in a while. Feelings of fatigue are common symptoms of many mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety. But poor sleep can also make the other symptoms of those disorders worse. Luckily, research has shown that just one session of cognitive behavioral therapy can be enough to get your sleep back on track. So if you're struggling with anxiety and some extra insomnia, checking in with your therapist could do even more good than you'd think.
You’re grieving. Everyone's response to trauma — including the loss of a loved one — is different. For some people, that includes feelings of fatigue.
You’re a smoker. The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant, so it does give you a fleeting sense of energy. But in the long-term, smoking makes it harder for your lungs and your heart to function, which can leave you feeling tired all the time.
It’s that time of the year Many of us feel a little extra sleepy when the weather changes for the gray and gloomy. But for some people, winter months bring seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The disorder can make you feel hopeless, irritable, and sluggish.
Your sleep routine is totally all over the place. Going to bed at the same time every night is one thing, but many sleep experts recommend implementing a whole sleep ritual to get your mind and body in the mood.
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By: Sarah Jacoby