We’ve all been there, right? You wake up when your alarm goes off and all you want to do is roll over and go back to sleep. Sure, there’s the typical excuse that you didn’t get enough sleep, but what if that’s not the only factor? Sometimes, you wake up after a full night’s sleep and just ask yourself:
Why am I so tired?
Well, there are many reasons that don’t have to do with the amount of sleep that you’re getting that can cause you to feel drained in the morning.
Dehydration can feel like exhaustion
You probably already know this, but hydrating is super important for your overall health. Not only is hydrating important for your skin and keeping you from getting heat stroke, but it can also stop some of the symptoms that you may not want to be dealing with, like lethargy or depression. If you get to the point where your water intake is so low that it’s affecting your mood, it’s time to see a doctor. Also, it’s really important to drink WATER. Soda and coffee may contain water, but they’re actually not helping you with your hydration because of the other stuff in there. Make sure you get enough water every day to keep your body running smoothly.
How to watch your water intake: The most important thing for you to do is to monitor how much water you’re drinking. You should definitely be drinking water every time you’re thirsty, but sometimes your brain crosses your hunger and thirst signals, so if you’re having a hard time figuring out how much water to drink every day, try monitoring your intake with an app like Plant Nanny.
You’re not eating right
Food is your body’s fuel and crappy fuel can lead to crappy performance. Some foods are better for you on the fatigue front, and others can weigh you down. Like a hangover, that vacation where you binged on junk food can really take a toll on your body. Long term issues with your diet can even lead to disorders like anemia and diabetes, which can lead to serious complications (even worse than just being tired).
How to eat better: There’s not a “one size fits all” here. My body can’t tolerate gluten, but a lot of other people can and it’s good to keep in their diet. With this one, the main things you should keep in mind are balance, moderation, and listening to your body. Balancing what you eat and giving your body all the nutrients it needs will help keep it running, but you also shouldn’t starve yourself from the extras (like chocolate). Just eat the “junk” in moderation so you don’t feel the urge to binge on potato chips and soda later. Above all, listen to your body. If you’re feeling crappy after eating something specific, your body may just not like that particular food. You can start a food journal or do a (temporary) exclusion diet to figure out what’s making you feel not so fab.
You’re not sleeping in a dark enough place
Your body uses a kind of internal clock that we’ve termed the circadian rhythm to regulate when you sleep. Internally, that cycle takes somewhere between 24 and 25 hours, but there are only 24 hours in a day, so your body uses light to trigger the time to reset your cycle, so if you’re getting too much light or not enough, your body doesn’t know what to do. This can really mess up your sleep pattern, especially given the amount of light we now use on a regular basis in our households.
How to fix your light habits: First off, try to get outside during the day. On sunny days, take a quick walk on your lunch break or go to the park if you have the day off. This increase in light can help to wake you up in addition to jump starting your new cycle. Secondly, reduce the amount of bright light you’re taking in at night. Many of the lights we have now, especially your phone and computer, emit high energy light that causes more problems than lower energy light you might find in an old school incandescent light bulb. If you absolutely can’t give up your phone or computer at night (I’m totally guilty of this), download an app that helps to reduce the high energy bluer light that’s emitted. You can try the app f.lux, which is available for many different platforms. I’ve used it on my computer and can tell you it definitely helps, especially given the ridiculously large screen I have to deal with.
You’re waking up at the wrong time
Getting seven to eight hours of sleep is the ideal, but almost more importantly than that, you need to make sure you aren’t waking up at an inopportune time. Grogginess is more likely to kick in if you get woken up during deep sleep and you’ll end up feeling tired all day. A full sleep cycle tends to be 90 minutes, so waking up either 7.5 or 9 hours post bedtime (assuming you fall asleep quickly) is probably better for you than, say, 8.5 hours.
How to time your sleep cycles: You can definitely do it manually. Just count back from the time you want to wake up about 7.5 hours and go to bed at that time. If you want to get all fancy-like, you can download an app that tracks your sleep by listening to you while you’re resting. I don’t use one of these, so I can’t recommend one, but a quick google search for “sleep app” brings up a ton of choices.
So are you constantly feeling tired? How do you deal with it?