Are you constantly tired and sluggish although you slept enough? Of course, some kind of deficiency or disease might be making making you feel like this, but all too often there are other reasons why you feel so lethargic. If you keep asking yourself “Why am I so tired?”, then check out the common causes of fatigue below.
1. Your sleep rhythm is disturbed
Often, we only focus on how long we sleep. You should try to get somewhere between seven and eight hours a night. This is very important because people who are continually sleep deprived tend to put on weight.
However, we frequently forget that our sleep rhythm also plays a crucial role. This means that if you constantly go to bed at different times (for example, because of shift-work), this can have a negative impact on your health (just like sleeping too little).
Calculate your bedtime
Do you want to find out more about your sleeping habits? Try our Sleep Cycle Calculator.
Do you feel especially wiped out in spring or fall? It could be due to daylight savings time. Give your internal clock time to get used to the time change – this can take up to two weeks.
2. You’re not eating right
Are there days when you forget to eat because there is too much to do? Eating too little leaves you feeling weak. But the same thing goes for eating too much, choosing unhealthy foods, or following the “wrong” diet. If we consume a lot of simple carbohydrates (like white bread, sodas, and sweets), this can rob us of energy. Why? These foods provide the body with “empty” calories. Your blood sugar levels rise rapidly for a short time because the pancreas is pumping out insulin like crazy. But soon they will fall as fast as they rose and this makes you sluggish. Fatty foods or meals place great demands on your body. Therefore, you should try to eat as balanced a diet as possible.
Did you know?
It’s not just simple carbohydrates that rob us of energy. Eating meat can also make us feel tired. This is caused by the amino acid tryptophan contained in meat, which is a precursor to the “happy hormone” serotonin and can make us sleepy. Our digestive system has to work hard to digest meat, which requires additional energy.
Another cause of fatigue could be that you are drinking too much coffee. Yes, it can make you tired! It’s true that coffee initially stimulates the production of adrenaline, but this only lasts a short while, leaving you feeling more tired afterwards than you did before the cup of coffee. A lot doesn’t always mean a lot more energy.
Note: There are some foods (like bananas and legumes) that help you sleep because they contain tryptophan. If you eat large quantities of these foods during the day, the sleep-inducing protein building block will make you feel sleepy.
3. You’re not drinking enough
Headaches or fatigue – these are just two of the effects of not drinking enough fluids. (And we are not talking about sugary sodas or coffee, but water and unsweetened tea). Did you know our body is made up of more than 50% water? If we drink too little, our metabolism slows down and our body shifts into low gear. So, it is no surprise that we feel dead tired.
4. You’re not exercising enough
If we want more energy, we have to produce it ourselves. Exercise gets the heart pumping, boosts the metabolism, and increases circulation. People who get too little exercise feel sluggish.
A consistent workout routine can also help you sleep better. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine(1) showed that regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep. So, get moving! Park your car farther away, take the stairs instead of the elevator or do some bodyweight exercises on your next lunch break.
Good to know:
Exercise has a lot of benefits: it gets the heart pumping, boosts the metabolism, and increases circulation. It also keeps you young.
5. You’re not getting enough light
In the summer, you are bursting with energy. But on grey & gloomy days, do you feel like just curling up in a ball on the couch because you’re constantly tired?
Maybe you are not getting enough light:
Darkness causes the body to release the sleep hormone melatonin.
Therefore, make sure to spend as much time outside as possible. Even on cloudy days, you will get more light outside than in the office or in your home. Go for a walk on your next sunny lunch break and refill your vitamin D stores, or hold a walking meeting outside with your coworkers. Another way to build up your energy reserves is to use a daylight lamp. And don’t close the curtains in your bedroom all the way: This will let some light into your room in the morning and help your body prepare to get up and start the day.
6. You are stressed
An email here, a call there, a notification on your cell phone… we are practically available all the time. And that is incredibly stressful! People have never been inundated with so many stimuli as they are today. This can really wear our body down.
Our brain has to constantly decide which sensory impressions are important and which can be ignored. Without this essential mechanism, we would drown in a giant flood of information. The problem is the more stimuli the brain has to process, the harder it has to work.
Thus, the next time you are feeling lifeless or a bit dull, try taking a break from the internet and all the media around you. Sometimes, it helps to schedule regular email times and turn your cell phone off in the evening.
Another great way to relieve stress is to get more exercise. Many people are not aware of how regular exercise can benefit their mental health. Can you find a way to fit 30 minutes of exercise in every day? Even if it’s just two 15-sessions, you will feel more energized, relaxed and probably end up improving the quality of your sleep as well.