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How many of you wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after 8 hours of sleep? Good for you. This post isn’t for you. This post is for the rest of you that are sitting at your computer, half-reading this while you drink your second cup of coffee. Or maybe you stumbled across this post during a late-night Pinterest session. Either way, you’re tired of being tired. Now you want to know why you are tired and what you can do to fix it.
Let’s start by briefly sharing my I’m so tired story. I have two toddlers, a husband that works a lot, and a business (yes running a blog is a business). I was finding that I was tired, grouchy, and sick all of the time. One way I’ve been trying to deal with that is by getting more sleep and having a good bedtime routine. Unfortunately, getting 8 hours of sleep didn’t end my exhaustion. So, obviously, something else was contributing to why I was feeling tired all the time.
We are going to stop right here for a second. If you are exhausted, the first thing you need to do is try to get more sleep. There is no super-ninja-secret that will make you feel well-rested without actually sleeping. Sorry.
If you’ve slept the recommended amount of time, it can be frustrating to feel exhausted. I want you to know that you can get your energy back once you have identified the reason why you are tired.
**Please note that some of these can be easily fixed but some of the more serious causes may require help from a medical professional**
1. You’re Not Getting Enough Exercise
It seems kinda strange to say you need to exercise in order to feel less tired. Most people think exercise leads to exhaustion, but that isn’t always the case. Light to moderate exercise can actually make you feel more energized during the day and sleep better at night.
2. You’re Drinking Too Much Coffee
It really hurts me to say this because I love coffee, but you really need to watch your caffeine intake. Did you know that caffeine has a half-life of 4-6 hours? That means your afternoon double shot latte will be in your system longer than you thought. Make sure to cut the caffeine off, at least 6 hours (ideally 8) before bedtime.
3. You’re Consuming Alcohol Before Bed
If you’ve had a hard day at work or a hard day at home with the kids, it can be tempting to pour yourself a glass of wine. While a glass of wine may make you feel relaxed and sleepy, that glass of Merlot is doing more harm than good. Not only does alcohol of any type dehydrate you, but it messes with your sleep cycles. So while you think you had 8 hours of sleep, you didn’t actually get good sleep.
4. You’re Dehydrated
Being dehydrated can have a real effect on your mood and energy levels. Did you know that without adequate hydration your blood pressure drops and less oxygen gets to your brain? Tiredness and brain fog are a direct result of this oxygen loss. You don’t even have to be severely dehydrated to feel the effects. Even mild dehydration can cause you to feel sluggish.
5. You’re Not Eating Right
This is such a huge factor in why you feel tired. A diet that isn’t well-balanced can lead to a variety of deficiencies that can make you feel tired. If you are not eating enough iron you can feel tired all of the time. You could also be suffering from either a vitamin B or magnesium deficiency, both of which would leave you feeling lethargic. Other diet issues that can leave you feeling tired are food sensitivities, consuming too many carbs, not consuming enough calories, and not consuming enough protein.
6. You Have Allergies
Just like being sick, suffering from allergies can leave you feeling lethargic. Allergies cause inflammation in the lungs which reduces the flow of oxygen causing you to feel tired.
7. You Suffer From Anxiety or Depression
Suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression is going to leave you feeling exhausted no matter how much sleep you get. Please pay attention to how you are feeling. If you are having a small bout of stress, you can likely improve your mood and energy with just a bit of time and relaxation. However, if you are chronically stressed, anxious, or depressed; you may need to seek counseling or even need to start taking medication.
8. You May Be Diabetic
when your exhaustion is paired with thirst, blurred vision, and headaches you could have diabetes. If you think you may have diabetes and/or diabetes runs in your family, you should get your A1C levels tested. Left untreated diabetes can lead to severe health issues like kidney and nerve damage.
Related Reading: Gestational Diabetes Sample Meal Plan
9. You Have Thyroid Issues
When you have an underactive thyroid everything can seem more difficult and the simplest tasks can make you feel tired. Thyroid issues can also cause you to oversleep making you feel overly tired and groggy when you are awake. Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid include weight gain and water retention. Testing and treatment of thyroid issues is easy and only requires a simple blood test and medication.
10. You Have A Sleep Disorder
Only a small percentage of people suffer from sleep apnea. If you are overweight, snore, or wake up with headaches you could have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea left untreated can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Talk to your doctor and they may have you do a sleep study to see how often you quit breathing during the night. If you suffer from sleep apnea you will need a CPAP machine or possibly surgery. The sleep study may also be used to diagnose other sleep issues like insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy.
Related reading: Hacks For A Better Night’s Sleep
As you can see, there are many reasons why you are tired. It is important to rule out serious health-related issues such as diabetes and sleep apnea which will require a visit to a medical professional. Thankfully, if your tiredness is due to something like poor eating habits or stress, you may only need to make a few lifestyle changes in order to feel well-rested.