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14 Reasons You May Be Tired

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tired-frenchie

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.



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Discussion

There are 20 comments so far.

    Tammy

    February 25, 2015

    It seems like I’m tired every day! Lately it’s been too cold or raining during the day to walk, so I take a power nap at my desk during lunch. I just close the door, turn the lights off, and lay my head down. I always wake up in 30 mins., turn my head to the other side, and nap 30 more mins. It keeps me from falling asleep in afternoon meetings. :)

      roni

      February 27, 2015

      I need to steal a nap too maybe it will help!

    Steph

    February 25, 2015

    Please forgive the unsolicited health advice, but have you had your thyroid levels checked? For me, that absolute bone deep exhaustion was the symptom that lead to me being diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. It’s super common.

    If it’s not that, I hope you get to the bottom of it soon!

    Steph x

      jess

      February 25, 2015

      i agree with the above. i’m a primary care provider who used to work in women’s health. i found it shocking when i moved from women’s health back to primary care, how few of my colleagues routinely screen for thyroid issues in women, especially age 30 and older. since you just had a physical, roni, i would suggest calling your PCPs office and asking them 1) did i have my thyroid checked (TSH and free T4)? and 2) was my hemoglobin normal? if your thyroid was not checked, i recommend it be done. fatigue can also come from a virus (which it sounds like you have been exposed to plenty of) so, i would advise a visit to your PCP if this fatigue lasts longer than another week or so.

      roni

      February 27, 2015

      I don’t mind and it isn’t something I thought of although when I was younger I did have thyriod issues. I do think this may be a virus… if I’m still struggling in a few days I’ll have to call the doctor.

    cheryl

    February 25, 2015

    I am pleasantly tired after a 3+ mile run, and working with special needs kiddos all day. It’s a feel good tired. I don’t do any of the 14 things you mention above.

    Carolyn

    February 26, 2015

    Ok, so I haven’t read your whole blog, so I don’t know your whole life story, but…could you possibly be pregnant? It does happen :)

      roni

      February 27, 2015

      NOOOOOO lol I’m “fixed” anyway. Not that it’s impossible but highly unlikely. Plus, I just had my period. ;)

    Mitch

    February 26, 2015

    You made some good points for reasons of feeling tired. My main reasons of feeling tired is if I eat bad, and not sleep enough.

    Emily

    February 26, 2015

    I had a serious vitamin D deficiency (despite time outside- winter sun isn’t as potent as summer sun) and it made me super tired- didn’t even realize that was it until my Dr tested for it and put me on supplements…made a huge difference. It doesn’t seem to be something that’s always included in tests, so might want to see if your Dr included it in your last physical.

      Cate

      February 26, 2015

      I second the possibility of vita D deficiency. I live in the Northeast and have been diligent about my D supplements this fall/winter, and it has made a huge difference in my energy levels. I take the Carlson’s liquid D drops in water each day at a higher level than the RDA. Dr. Frank Lipman (who specializes in Integrative and Functional Medicine) has some really good info on his website, especially in this post:
      http://www.drfranklipman.com/vitamin-d-faq/

      roni

      February 27, 2015

      Funny you should say that. I just started taking a Vit D supplement. Hopefully it will help!

    Emily

    February 26, 2015

    P.S. Gastrontestinal issues such as IBD can prevent vit D (and other vitamins) from being absorbed as well as usual, which can also lead to deficiencies.

    Claude (Ironman) M.

    February 27, 2015

    Jeez, I’d love to pick apart this article point by point, because it’s right on. If I might venture, anyone and everyone will be dehydrated, hypoglycemic, and system-wide sluggish in the morning.
    Just as you might take a shower to wake up the outside, you have to wake up the inside (digestion, metabolic function, etc.)- IT’S FUEL TIME!
    I’ve been preaching this to clients for decades: don’t leave the house without eating- NO FUEL, NO GO! If you don’t start out the day fueled, you’ll play catch up all day!
    If the car is running on fumes, filling up on the way back from the gym might leave you stranded in the intersection.
    Forget eggs and bacon if you have no time, grab a 35 second shake with your favorite fruits and some protein powder or an egg. It’s always been one of my faves before a race.
    Roni, it sounds like everyday is a race for you.

    Samantha Vi

    March 2, 2015

    I thought I remembered that you were in perimenapause. If that’s the case, fatigue and tiredness is a huge symptom.

      roni

      March 2, 2015

      Ugh.. yes! I didn’t even think of that!

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