How often do you say you’re tired? At on point, it was my most commonly used phrase. Even though I’ll never be a morning person, I also wasn't a 2:00 pm person, a 5:00pm person and definitely not a Mondays or Wednesdays person. If this motto sounds familiar, and you're always dragging yourself through the day, I’ve found solutions. After consulting with medical doctors and naturopaths, I’ve created the go-to list of reasons for why you’re tired.
1. You’ve got anxiety
Anxiety is the ultimate energy-sucker. We spend too much time obsessing over what hasn’t happened or what needs to happen, instead of reaching our goals step-by-step. Controlling this habit of worrying is simply a matter of changing your state of mind. The best medical advice I’ve ever received was this: “don’t obsess over things outside your control”.
If you can’t change a situation in the present moment, rather than getting anxious, refocus that energy into the accomplishing the task at hand. Nutrition Specialist Dr.Axe calls this strategy cognitive behavioral therapy. You're changing your anxious way of thinking by diverting your focus away from the negative possible outcomes that are outside your control. Instead, only focus on what you can control: a calm mental state.
2.Your hormones are whacked
Our hormonal balance is like a Jenga game. It’s a delicate tower of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone--and while a few lapses won’t damage the balance, too many chemical disturbances will leave your hormones tumbling into chaos! Fortunately, there are ways to put the pieces back together so you don’t feel tired.
The main solution is stress-management and exercise. As Dr.Axe explains, these strategies help balance our cortisol, the hormone that keeps us alert and ready for action. Yet, when you have too much energy at night, you’re not hormonally balanced and can’t fall asleep soundly.
PMS is another cause of hormonal imbalance that leaves you feeling tired. As your estrogen levels drop, you feel exhausted. Here are some strategies to keep your hormones as balanced as possible (health.com):
3. Too many stimulants
Sorry to all you coffee addicts but you’re making yourself tired. Caffeine stimulates you by forcing your adrenaline to spike for a few hours and then leaving you sleepy later on. Think about it this way: everything comes with a catch, right? So if you push your adrenal glands to squeeze out more energy, they’ll have less energy to give afterwards-- hence the crash.
To get a boost in the morning, you’re better off having lemon water. Hydration and electrolytes is all you need.
4. You eat junk
I won’t say I don’t eat junk... because I totally do. But instead of having the age-old lecture on "everything in moderation", let's look at a new solution. Focus on the timing of your junkfood choices.
We all know that too much sugar and carbs (similar to caffeine) will spike your adrenaline and leave you feeling tired later on. So if you’re going to have some chocolate, treat yourself in the afternoon instead of at night. Eating sugary treats late in the day will boost adrenaline, causing a hormonal imbalance that'll leave you restless at night.
5. You use your phone at night
Your phone, like coffee, is a stimulant. When texting or watching YouTube, your brain is active, which prevents you from unwinding before bed. Remember what I said about the dangers of spiking your adrenaline at night? Same idea with the phone-- it can cause a hormonal imbalance. Your cortisol rise and prevent a deep sleep.
What’s worse, your phone’s light tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime by decreasing your melatonin (the sleep hormone). Try your best to avoid using your phone after 9:30 at night.
6. Poor sleep
Finally, your sleeping habits might be causing you to feel tired. The average person needs 7-8 hours of sleep per day, but I learned (the hard way) that this rule isn’t the only factor. Other than getting enough sleep, you also need to sleep deeply and at the right time. For example, if I went to bed at 1:00 am, I’d sleep in to recover, but surprisingly, this doesn’t make you feel better!
Our bodies have an internal clock, which controls our hours of wakefulness and sleepiness. You can’t beat this system overnight! So even if you only slept 5 hours, you’re better off waking up at 7-8 am according to your body’s natural time of wakefulness. Sleeping in just confuses your body’s internal clock and you could wake up feeling even more tired. The best solution is to sleep on time, ideally at 10pm.