Nothing’s more frustrating than getting eight hours of sleep at night but still feeling exhausted the next day. You should feel great, considering you made sure to get a full night’s worth of beauty sleep, right? So why do you still feel so tired?
Unfortunately, it’s not just how much sleep you are getting that makes you feel more or less awake during the day. Certain daily habits can make you feel constantly tired, and many of them have nothing to do with sleep. To help you regain your energy, we’ve come up with seven unsuspecting reasons why you might be feeling tired all the time.
Eating foods high in sugar, carbohydrates, or caffeine might give you a temporary energy boost, but these foods also cause your blood sugar to plummet, leaving you lethargic and energyless. Studies have shown that eating junk food leads to fatigue. Stick to complex carbohydrates and unprocessed food to optimize your energy levels.
If you’re not drinking enough liquids throughout the day, chances are you will feel more exhausted than if you were fully hydrated. Studies show that even mild dehydration can cause energy loss, so make sure you load up on liquids such as water, juice, or even tea to stay hydrated and energetic. Most health experts recommend consuming at least eight cups per day.
You use technology before bed
Many of us watch TV or check emails before bed, but this habit can prevent you from having restful sleep. The stimulation from technology causes our brain activity to increase before bedtime when it actually should be starting to slow down. The artificial light from cell phones, computers, and TV screens also suppresses production of melatonin, the neurotransmitter that is essential in regulating our sleep and wake cycles.
Try shutting off all electronics an hour before sleep so your body can get into proper sleep mode and help you feel more restful in the morning.
You're not exercising enough
Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercising actually helps you feel less fatigued. Studies show that regular exercise helps boost overall energy levels in those who felt chronically tired. Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym daily, taking a quick 20 minute walk or doing a short yoga session can help raise your energy levels.
You're low in iron
A potential cause for your low energy levels could be an iron deficiency, also known as anemia. A major symptom of anemia is fatigue, but just because you’re feeling lazy doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t getting enough iron. Anemia is common in vegetarians and vegans, people with thyroid problems, or people with very heavy menstrual flows. If you suspect low iron may be the cause of your exhaustion, go to your doctor to get your iron levels tested, or try loading up on iron-rich foods such as meat-based proteins or leafy greens.
All that worrying can actually make you feel tired, as a symptom of long-term stress is fatigue. When your body is constantly in fight or flight response, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure rises, and your digestive system slows down. Over time, this exhausts your body’s functions, which in turn exhausts you. Sleep and stress can be a vicious cycle, but try to get adequate amounts of sleep to let your body recuperate, or try meditation, which has been proven to help with stress.
You have a drink before bed
Many of us like to have a glass of wine before bed to relax. Although a little bit of alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, it actually reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the deep, restorative sleep we get in when we start dreaming. Getting less REM sleep can cause drowsiness and exhaustion during the day, so try to avoid drinking alcohol before hitting the sack.