4 Surprising Reasons Why You’re Always Tired
Do you ever notice that people think being tired all the time is just a part of life or something that comes with the natural aging process? The thing is, this doesn’t have to be the case! Many don’t realize the massive impact that their specific lifestyle is having on their sleep quality and energy levels.
Here are Four Reasons why you may feel like you “Never Have Enough Energy” or “Always Need More Sleep”…and What to do Instead:
1.) Poor Sleep Habits
Most of us know we should be getting between 7–9 hours of sleep a night, but what you do before going to bed could actually have the biggest impact on your sleep quality. Avoid blue light at all costs! Blue light is the light emitted from our phones, computers, TVs, and other electronic devices. Blue light has been shown to have a significant negative impact on sleep quality and melatonin production. The body produces melatonin to help us sleep — and allow us to get good quality sleep.
If the brain is picking up on light from our electronic devices, it thinks that it’s still daytime and will not send the proper signals out to start producing melatonin. If you’re browsing on your computer or phone right up until you lay down to go to sleep, your brain still thinks it’s the middle of the day, and your sleep will be affected whether you get your 8 hours or not. Sleep quality is just as important as the amount you get.
If your melatonin production is suffering because of blue-light exposure, then so is the quality of your sleep, and this might be the PRIMARY REASON why you’re still:
- Getting a full night of sleep, but still waking up exhausted
- Unable to function in the morning without that cup of coffee
- Crashing in the afternoon/evening right when you need that extra energy the most
Better yet, lack of QUALITY sleep over time, or not consistently getting 7–9 hours will be compounded and could lead to many other health problems down the line. It has been linked to the development of many health conditions and an increased risk of developing cancer.
When melatonin production gets thrown off, so can a lot of other hormones, as well as your immune system. If you think taking a melatonin supplement is going to fix this, I would certainly not advise doing this long-term, for many reasons that I will save for another day.
Here’s what you can do instead:
- Avoid cell phone, computer, TV, and electronic usage within 30 minutes to an hour before going to bed
- If you use these devices near bedtime, wear a pair of blue light-blocking glasses to offset the effects. Blue light in general is not good for the body in high exposures and some even wear these glasses regularly when using their phones or computers.
- Work towards having a consistent sleep schedule — even on the weekends! This will allow your body to get into a routine and help regulate your sleep cycles to improve the quality of your sleep and leave you feeling rested when you wake up, instead of groggy.
A quick way to tell if you’re getting good quality sleep is simply testing to see if you’re dreaming. You should be dreaming (almost lucidly), and be able to remember at least part of your dreams when you wake up. Frequent dreaming with vivid dreams is a good indicator that melatonin is being produced at a reasonable level.
2.) Poor Diet & Nutrition
If you eat crap, you feel like crap. Think of your body like a Ferrari…it’s advised that you fuel the Ferrari with premium fuel to keep it running optimally, but if you fill it with regular gas it’s not going to run well.
The same thing goes for your body; caffeine may temporarily get you back on track or wake you up, but it’s not doing anything to fix the reason why your energy is so low in the first place. Over time, you’ll end up crashing and getting burnt out if you keep relying on caffeine to keep you running. Not to mention, over-consumption of caffeine could actually be the main reason you’re so tired in the first place!
Every time you consume something unhealthy or eat a very large portion, it requires more of your body’s energy to digest and process it through your system. If you’re using more energy stores to process your food, it will take it right from everywhere else that needs it, and may leave you feeling drained. For example, you may feel like you’re in a “food coma” when this is happening. This isn’t necessarily your body saying it needs a nap, it’s saying, “stop feeding me crap”.
Eating too close to bedtime is not a good idea for a number of reasons, but one of the lesser-known ones is what it can do to the quality of your sleep. When you sleep, the body is supposed to be replenishing its energy, but if it’s trying to digest food at the same time, this is actually using energy! Furthermore, if you’re eating a bunch of crap before bed, the body could become overwhelmed with processing the toxins in the food, and this commonly results in insomnia or tossing and turning. If you’re waking up and still feeling tired, try and re-evaluate how close you’re eating to bedtime.
3.) A Sedentary Lifestyle
To simply put it, what you get out of life is what you put into it. Even small changes to your daily habits can have a significant impact on how energized you feel. Aim to get 10–15 minutes of AM sunlight, as early as possible after waking up. There are many benefits to getting morning sunlight that may include:
- Improved hormone regulation
- Improvements in sleep & restfulness of sleep
- Improved healing ability
- Decreased stress
- Increased vitamin D levels
- Better mood and more energy throughout the day
Lack of vitamin D in particular is a common underlying cause of fatigue that goes undiagnosed for many! When the warm weather dies down, and we stop spending as much time outside, many people feel a drop in their energy, a lack of desire to “go out and do things”, or may even get seasonal depression. All of this can be due to a lack of sunlight or vitamin D, and these feelings are just the symptoms. Consider making sure you’re still getting outside daily and/or supplementing with vitamin D during these upcoming fall and winter months to keep this from happening.
We all know the importance of exercise for our overall health and energy levels, but what if exercising is making you feel tired instead of energized? Well, it could be that you’re doing too much exercise at one time when your energy stores are already depleted, burning more energy than you have fuel for, or even that you’re mental energy is being drained from doing a form of exercise that you don’t enjoy! To combat this, consider exercising at a time when you feel like you have the most energy so that you’ll have plenty of energy to expend on exercise. Be sure to do a form of exercise that you enjoy and make it fun! :)
The human body is meant to be moving. Sitting or laying down for hours at a time can significantly decrease our circulation over time. It’s no coincidence, that a lot of people are most tired first thing in the morning after spending hours stagnant in bed — making it harder for us to get the blood flowing to our brains, muscles, and vital organs. If you’re feeling this morning fatigue, or if you’ve been experiencing brain fog, you may need to think about moving or exercising more both in the morning and possibly even throughout the day.
If you have a desk job or are sitting for long periods throughout the day, your lack of movement could be draining you of the energy you need to be more productive. If you’re in this situation, try to get up and move at least once per hour, even if it’s a walk to the bathroom. If possible, also consider doing some sort of movement (yoga, dynamic stretching, etc…) or exercise-based routine during your lunch hour to keep the blood flowing to your brain! Especially if you work remotely… get moving!!
4.) Too Much Stress
Try to keep your stress levels low so your body can heal better, and your energy stores stay higher! The higher your stress levels, the lower your immune system's functional ability. If you have a problem going on with your body (i.e. pain or fatigue) and your immune system isn’t working very well, the body will have to devote more of its energy stores toward trying to heal that ailment. This will almost certainly leave you feeling drained and “foggy-headed” even after getting a full night's sleep!
Keeping stress levels low is extremely challenging in today’s relentlessly demanding and fast-paced world. Allocating some time to breathe, decompress, and meditate is a good place to start. After a long day at work, I like to just close my eyes and sit in silence for 10–15 minutes to “turn off the outside noise” so to say. Try practicing different relaxation techniques and see what works best for you!
Start with making one simple change today for each of the four reasons outlined, and it will have you feeling more energized from the second you wake up, to the time you go to bed. Not only will you feel refreshed, but you will feel ready to conquer the day ahead.
Thank you for reading! Please let me know your thoughts in the comments, and check out some more of my articles below.
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