by Caitlin A Fowler CNE / Certified Nutritionist and Yoga Instructor
Why Am I Always Tired?
Being tired all the time sucks! Here are 5 reasons you might be constantly dragging despite getting 8 hours of sleep.
1. You’re dehydrated.
Your body needs water for literally everything it does. Every single cell needs water. Allowing yourself to become even a little bit dehydrated can cause you to experience symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and muscle weakness.
Before you drink any beverage other than water, have a glass of water. It’ll help offset the escalation in dehydration caused by consuming sugar and caffeine in soda, fruit juice, coffee, and tea. And for goodness sake, don’t drink energy drinks! The dehydrating effect of these types of drinks are severely underestimated. Most nutritionists agree you need to drink between 24 and 40 ounces of water just to break even after consuming a 12oz can of Coke.
2. No really, you’re dehydrated.
The importance of hydration cannot be stressed enough. Almost no one drinks enough water, so this really isn’t something you can afford to ignore. Find a way to make drinking water a habit. Set time limits, like “I’ll finish this 24oz bottle before my lunch break,” or use a tally sheet to keep track of how many glasses you’ve had so far. Reward yourself, even, but try not to use a Frappachino as your prize.
3. Your quality of sleep is poor.
Researchers prove again and again that the number of hours you sleep are virtually meaningless if you’re tossing and turning the whole time. But you knew that. There are tons of things that can affect the quality of your sleep, and you have control over most of them.
Don’t use anything with a backlight (computer, TV, cell phone) at least an hour before bed. Don’t eat or drink alcohol within 2 hours of bedtime. Make sure your room is very dark, quiet, and not too warm. Choose activities to help you unwind before bed, like reading, taking a bath, or gentle yoga.
4. Your diet is poor.
This one’s a no-brainer. If your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs to function, even basic activities like sitting at a desk or taking the dog for a walk will feel exhausting.
Make sure you’re getting enough healthy fat, which is the most energy-dense macronutrient. Combine protein with fibre for a more satisfying, sustaining meal. And you really can’t eat too many vegetables. Choose dark leafy greens like Swiss chard, spinach, and Brussels sprouts and other richly coloured veg like carrots, yams, and purple cauliflower.
5. You’re not getting enough exercise.
While it’s normal to feel tired after a workout, regular exercise will help you stay more alert during the day and sleep better at night. Our bodies are made to move, so if you spend most of your time sitting (at work, in the car, on the couch) your body isn’t being stimulated enough. When your muscles aren’t working and your heart rate and circulation aren’t kicking during the day, you can end up sleeping poorly at night because you’ve got stored up energy you didn’t burn. A pattern of sedentary habits also beget sedentary feelings: the more of a couch potato you are, the more your body gets used to not having to do anything, so even a little bit of physical activity can seem exhausting. Bonus: regular activity aids your digestion, helps regulate blood sugar, and improves your mood!