Despite going to bed earlier and earlier this week I’m still really tired, like first-trimester pregnancy tired. Remember that feeling? I just can’t get the thought of a nap out of my head, yet if I actually indulge in a nap I feel MORE tired afterwards. It’s weird.
I found an article on Health.com called 14 Reasons You’re Always Tired and I’ve decided to explore each one.
1. You skip exercise when you’re tired
Skipping your workout to save energy actually works against you. In a University of Georgia study, sedentary but otherwise healthy adults who began exercising lightly three days a week for as little as 20 minutes at a time reported feeling less fatigued and more energized after six weeks.
This is not a problem for me. I rarely miss my morning hour at the gym because it’s so ingrained in my routine. Actually it’s the only hour I feel my best! I have been taking it easy these past few days because I have been feeling fatigued, but I’m still moving and that’s good.
2. You don’t drink enough water
Being even slightly dehydrated — as little as 2% of normal fluid loss—takes a toll on energy levels…
All I drink is water but my consumption does vary from day to day, and I have been feeling a little dehydrated lately. I’m going to up my consumption to see if makes a difference today.
3. You’re not consuming enough iron
An iron deficiency can leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, weak, and unable to focus.
I eat red meat usually once a week, a lot of spinach and eggs so I don’t think I have a iron deficiency but you never know. I have been diagnosed with low iron in the past but I just had a physical and my doctor didn’t mention it when my blood work came back.
4. You’re a perfectionist
Striving to be perfect — which, let’s face it, is impossible — makes you work much harder and longer than necessary…
Guilty as charged but I’ve been working on this! Have you read the article on Huffington Post by Elizabeth Gilbert? It’s SO good and it was a great reminder to stop all the self-inflicted pressure I put on myself. Here’s an excerpt…
… it breaks my heart to know that so many amazing women are waking up at 3 o’clock in the morning and abusing themselves for not having gone to art school, or for not having learned to speak French, or for not having organized the neighborhood scavenger hunt. I fear that — if we continue this mad quest for perfection — we will all end up as stressed-out and jumpy as those stray cats who live in Dumpsters behind Chinese restaurants, forever scavenging for scraps of survival while pulling out their own hair in hypervigilant anxiety.
5. You make mountains out of molehills
If you assume that you’re about to get fired when your boss calls you into an unexpected meeting, or you’re too afraid to ride your bike because you worry you’ll get into an accident, then you’re guilty of “catastrophizing,” or expecting that the worst-case scenario will always occur. This anxiety can paralyze you and make you mentally exhausted….
As much as I don’t want to admit it, I do this. Case in point, last night I woke up around 3 and noticed The Husband wasn’t next to me. The first thought that popped into my head was that something happened (like a heart attack or a stroke) and he was downstairs all alone needing my help. I know it’s not healthy but I’m not sure how to shut it off either.
6. You skip breakfast
The food you eat fuels your body, and when you sleep, your body continues using what you consumed at dinner the night before to keep your blood pumping and oxygen flowing. So, when you wake up in the morning, you need to refuel with breakfast.
I always eat breakfast although I do it after my workout because 5 a.m. is just too early to whip up some eggs. Maybe I should be more diligent about getting something in me before the gym.
7. You live on junk food
Foods loaded with sugar and simple carbs (like the ones you’ll find in a box or at the drive-thru window) rank high on the glycemic index (GI), an indicator of how rapidly carbohydrates increase blood sugar. Constant blood sugar spikes followed by sharp drops cause fatigue over the course of the day…
Nope. Actually I’ve been really proud of myself lately for my food choices. I’m consuming less junk and fewer processed foods overall!
8. You have trouble saying ‘no’
People-pleasing often comes at the expense of your own energy and happiness.
But… but… I’m getting better! It’s true, I’m a people pleaser but I’m learning and I’m getting better at drawing lines in the sand.
9. You have a messy office
A cluttered desk mentally exhausts you by restricting your ability to focus and limits your brain’s ability to process information…
Yes! Normally my desk is a mess but I just cleaned it this weekend for the photo shoot so I don’t think that’s it.
10. You work through vacation
Checking your email when you should be relaxing by the pool puts you at risk of burnout, says Lombardo. Unplugging and allowing yourself to truly unwind allows your mind and body to rejuvenate and return to the office stronger.
I have been learning to disconnect more and more because I noticed this myself. I rarely take time away from everything even when I’m on a vacation because I fear the build-up that will inevitably happen. I dread that full inbox and all the nagging maintenance stuff on the sites that will need to be addressed when I get back.
11. You have a glass of wine (or two) before bed
A nightcap sounds like a good way to unwind before falling asleep, but it can easily backfire. Alcohol initially depresses the central nervous system, producing a sedative effect… but it ultimately sabotages sleep maintenance.
I’ve actually decreased my alcohol consumption and really don’t drink much except for a few days a month when I’m out with friends, so I doubt this is it.
12. You check e-mails at bedtime
The glaring light of a tablet, smartphone, or your computer’s backlit screen can throw off your body’s natural circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles…
Ugh. I’m on my computer ALL. THE. TIME. I was trying to log off and do some foam rolling before bed but truth be told I haven’t been keeping up with it.
13. You rely on caffeine to get through the day
Starting your morning with a java jolt is no big deal — in fact, studies show that up to three daily cups of coffee is good for you — but using caffeine improperly can seriously disrupt your sleep-wake cycle…
I don’t drink coffee, I enjoy tea but mostly herbal and I gave up my nighttime chocolate habit. It can’t be caffeine.
14. You stay up late on weekends
Burning the midnight oil on Saturday night and then sleeping in Sunday morning leads to difficulty falling asleep Sunday night — and a sleep-deprived Monday morning…
Again, guilty as charged. The weekends are reserved for staying up late and watching movies with The Husband. I also get up about an hour and half later than I do during the week but I still have no problem falling asleep Sunday night earlier again so how much can this really be affecting me.
I’m know I’m not the only tired person out there. Talking with friends it almost feels like an epidemic! Every once in awhile it’s a good idea to step back and assess what small shifts we can do differently that may help.