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10 Reasons You Feel Tired All of the Time

It’s a problem many of us have to deal with—feeling tired in the middle of the day. It’s a costly problem. Not only can it prevent us from doing the things we love (like exercising and visiting friends and family) and the things we need to do (like work), but it can pose a danger to our health. In fact, every year fatigue results in about 100,000 automotive accidents. Sometimes the impact of sleep deprivation is even more significant: the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the Exxon Valdez oil catastrophe, the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown—all were caused by sleep deprivation.

So, what’s causing you to feel so tired?


1. Skipping your Workout

Feel a little tired? It’s no excuse to skip your workout. In fact, a study from the University of Georgia shows that failing to exercise on a regular basis can actually make you feel more tired. The trick is to devote at least a brief amount of time—between 20- and 30-minutes—to relatively intense exercise (such as running or cycling) on a regular basis. You don’t have to run a marathon to keep your energy levels high.

Just get out there and do something physical. After all, regular exercise has been shown to boost strength and endurance, making your entire body run more efficiently, meaning you won’t feel so tired so often.

2. Not Drinking Enough Water

Dehydration can be directly linked to fatigue. Medical experts from Tufts University estimate that just 2-percent fluid loss can have a significant impact on our energy levels because it causes a visible reduction in blood volume.

The research explains that dehydration makes the heart pump blood less efficiently. In turn, this restricts the speed at which oxygen and nutrients get to your muscles and vital organs. It’s a recipe for exhaustion. So make sure to get lots of water in you as the day goes on!

3. Failing to Consume Sufficient Iron

You probably know someone who has an iron deficiency problem. If you do, you know they frequently complain about feeling tired, weak, and unable to concentrate on anything for an extended period of time. Well, we can all suffer the consequences of failing to get enough iron. Without sufficient iron levels in our blood, less oxygen makes its way to the muscles and cells in our body.

The good news is that you can change this by consuming more iron-heavy foods, from lean beef to kidney beans, tofu, eggs, dark and leafy vegetables, and nuts. Here’s another tip: consuming foods rich in vitamin C can help your body absorb iron-heavy foods. So, pair your steak and kale dinner with an orange juice the next time you start to feel a little run down.

4. Sweating the Small Stuff

It may surprise you, but worrying too much can have a detrimental effect on your physical health. It’s called stress, and it can leave you feeling both mentally and physically exhausted.

It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious and stressed out from time to time and in these cases the key is to simply take a deep breath and think about a) how reasonable your concerns really are, and b) what’s the worst that could happen. Chances are, reality is not nearly as catastrophic as your concern. Of course, if you find yourself feeling this way all of the time, it’s important you consult your doctor about the issue.

5. Blowing Off Breakfast

Let’s assume you’ve gotten a normal night’s sleep for an adult—about seven to eight hours. Chances are you didn’t get up in the middle of the night for a snack, which means your body has gone quite a while without any kind of sustenance.

According to Dr. Mark Flannery, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine, that’s why it’s imperative you don’t blow off breakfast. Give your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. If you struggle with the idea of eating so early in the morning, try having something small, like an energy bar. If that’s too much, try a fruit and veggie smoothie.

6. Eating Too Much Junk Food

There’s a reason nutritionists refer to candy and salty snacks like potato chips as “empty calories.” It’s because junk foods contain very few components that your body can put to work, like vitamins and protein, according to recent research published in the journal, Physiology & Behavior

Worse still, these foods rank very high on the glycemic index, which means they can cause your blood sugar to spike. That’s fine in the short term, but will eventually lead to a system crash, leaving you feeling more tired than before. That’s why it’s important to eat fiber- and protein-rich foods, which will keep your body feeling energized for a longer period of time.

 7. Taking on Too Many Responsibilities

If you’re a hard-working, ambitious person, chances are you have a hard time saying “no” when the boss comes to you with a new task. But sometimes saying “yes” can be bad for your health and particularly your energy levels, according to a study published by the National Institutes of Health. The issue can be really troublesome if it means you’re skipping meals and workouts and failing to get to bed at a reasonable time.

Experts suggest making a list of tasks and determining which ones are the most important to carry out. Then make sure your boss knows that you just don’t have time to do everything. If necessary, explain to them why—chances are, they don’t fully appreciate how much is on your plate and how it’s affecting your health. And the last thing they (should) want is a tired employee.

8. Your Environment is a Mess

Whether it’s at work or home (or both), clutter is mentally exhausting. It restricts your ability to focus on any one task and can even make you feel as though the whole world is coming down around you.

The mere sight of a messy desk or kitchen first thing in the morning can be overwhelming, according to this Princeton University study, making you feel as though it’s impossible to escape your stress. In contrast, a neat and organized space will make you feel more efficient, alleviating stress and keeping your energy levels up.

9. Drinking Before Bed

There’s no denying that having an alcoholic beverage after a long day of work can help one wind down. But it’s important to avoid having too many drinks before heading to bed because alcohol has a very visible rebound effect.

In essence, while having a drink or two can help you relax and may even put you to sleep, consuming alcohol can increase your chances of waking up in the middle of the night, says Dr John Shneerson, head of the sleep centre at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. That may leave you tossing and turning for hours, leaving you frightfully exhausted in the morning. That’s why doctors suggest ceasing your consumption of alcohol a few hours before hitting the hay.

10. Checking your Messages Right Before Bed

It can be tough to go hours without checking your emails, text messages, or social media accounts. But this can contribute to your stress levels, making it more difficult for you to relax and get to sleep, says Michael Woodward, Ph.D., Organizational Psychologist and author of the book, The YOU Plan.

Imagine there’s an email from your boss asking you to take on a new task. Won’t you be better prepared to address that concern first thing in the morning, after a solid 8-hours’ sleep, than right before bedtime? It’s something to keep in mind as you pick up your smartphone or tablet computer just as you settle into bed for the night.


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