Do you ever catch yourself yawning in the middle of the day, even though you went to bed at a reasonable time? Do you need caffeine or sugar to make it through the afternoon? There may be multiple reasons why you’re not feeling well rested and ready to take on the day. Here are the top five:
You have an irregular sleep schedule.Your body works on an internal clock called a circadian rhythm, which controls hormones like melatonin that help you fall asleep and wake up every day. Sleeping at unusual times of the day, not sleeping enough or sleeping too much can cause a disruption in your circadian rhythm, making you feel exhausted. The National Sleep Foundationrecommends going to sleep at the same time nightly and aiming to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
Your sleep environment is uncomfortable or too stimulating. It’s important to have a relaxing, calm environment where you sleep. Your sleep may be poor because your sleep environment is too hot or too cold, or what you’re sleeping on is uncomfortable. Other sleep disruptors include loud noises and being exposed to bright lights around bedtime (this includes screen time before bed and sleeping with the television on). Get cozy and do something calming before bed like reading or meditating.
You have an unbalanced diet. Having a poor diet can leave you fatigued all day. An obvious nutrient associated with fatigue is iron. Iron deficiency may lead to anemia, whose symptoms include fatigue and shortness of breath. Low intake of magnesium-containing foods like spinach or almonds can also increase the likelihood of daytime sleepiness.
Drinking too much caffeine or alcoholic beverages can disrupt the quality of your sleep, making you feel tired in the morning, even if you spent nine hours in bed.
If you’re not doing any of the above, you may not be eating enough to fuel your body throughout the day. Make sure you are meeting your calorie needs regularly and aren’t cutting calories back too far.
You may have a chronic illness or condition. Fatigue is a common symptom of many diseases. Conditions causing inflammation or pain including fibromyalgia, arthritis or IBD can cause frequent waking during the night. Lung conditions like COPD or sleep apnea can make breathing difficult and reduce sleep quality. Other illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems or infections may also cause tiredness. Even the medications that treat these diseases may have side effects, including fatigue.
If you do have any of the aforementioned conditions, be sure to speak to your doctor about the fatigue you are experiencing. If you do not have any underlying condition, consider speaking to your doctor who can assess any potential underlying medical causes of fatigue.
You have constant stress or other emotions affecting your mental health.Stressful situations cause your body to release cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone. Increased cortisol leads to shorter sleep duration, poor sleep quality and increased risk for insomnia. Other conditions like depression, anxiety other mental health events can impact sleep. Adopting stress-management techniques or seeing a mental health professional can be helpful in managing stress and mental health conditions.
Feeling well rested and energized during the day involves more than just the hours you’re in bed. Addressing different environmental and lifestyle factors may help you start counting sheep in no time!