Do you feel tired all the time and you’re not sure why?
Not enough sleep and working too much are both really obviously reasons for feeling tired, but it turns out, there are also some less obvious ones.
Experts say we can be sabotaging ourselves by doing things that zap our energy without even realizing it.
Not Enough Water
Let’s start with water. Do you drink as much of it as you should? Most of us do not, and registered dietitian Leslie Bonci says that’s a big mistake.
“If somebody does not have enough fluid, it’s actually very taxing for the body,” said Bonci.
She says you will definitely notice a difference if you just drink more water.
“The good news about that, even slight changes in increasing the fluid, [can result in], ‘Oh my gosh! Who knew? There’s a little burst of energy that’s there.’”
A Messy Desk
Do you have a messy desk? A study from Princeton University found a cluttered desk can lead to mental exhaustion.
And Dr. Daniel Shade, director of Allegheny Health Network’s Sleep Center, says a messy desk may also be a sign of an overactive mind and that could keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.
“A messy desk usually can symbolize you have unfinished work to do,” said Dr. Shade.
Wine Right Before Bed
Do you have alcohol right before bed to help unwind?
“It will make you fall asleep quicker,” said Dr. Shade.
But it’s what happens a few hours later that can backfire on you. As your body begins to metabolize alcohol, you either wake up or just don’t sleep as soundly as you normally would.
“A lot of alcohol prior to bedtime will make you sleep worse than you think,” said Dr. Shade. “Sure, it’ll put you to sleep, but it then wakes you up more.”
Some experts say poor posture can put your stress on your back and joints and make you feel tired.
And Dr. Shade says a few studies have shown standing tall may even “…regulate some hormones in your body related to well-being. It may make you able to sleep better.”
Energy drinks may not help as much as you think. While you’ll get a boost of energy, some experts say it could backfire later.
Bonci says the caffeine in some energy drinks could actually cause fatigue.
“Somebody might find themselves needing to reach for another one or even being overly hungry or even having to take a nap, which sounds ridiculous,” said Bonci. “But you put your body through some degree of stress without necessarily giving it the substance behind.”
You might also get a boost from a sugary breakfast, but experts say you could crash soon after. Bonci says a sugary breakfast alone gives you nothing in the tank for the long run.
Greek yogurt with bran or a banana are better choices.
Do you have “toxic” friends? Negative people who seem to take something out of you.
Some experts believe these people can really take a toll on you. And Dr. Shade says “toxic” friends could prevent you from a getting a great night’s sleep.
“There may be something to that,” said Dr. Shade. “Certainly people in your inner circle who bring you down, that’s going to affect sleep.”
Too Little or Too Much Exercise
Exercise helps us feel more energized. However, if you exercise way too much, some studies have shown it can disturb your sleep or even impair your ability to handle stress. But in general, exercise will help boost your energy levels.
Fatty foods can make you feel tired, and here’s why: fried chicken and French fries take longer to digest.
As Bonci explains, “All the blood is diverted to your gut to help you digest, and at that point, you’re just ready to have a nap.”
Checking your cell phone or laptop before bed, even for a little bit, can actually hurt your sleep and possibly leave you sluggish the next day.
“The light that’s emitted by phones, iPads and televisions is a short wavelength called blue light,” said Dr. Shade. “And what it does is it inhibits melatonin.”
Melatonin helps us fall asleep. Apple unveiled a new night mode for devices earlier this year to cut down on blue light and hopefully allow you a better night’s sleep.
Not Getting Enough Iron
Doctors say not enough iron in your diet can definitely make you feel tired and sluggish. Red meat and dark green leafy vegetables can help.
Finally, sometimes a serious health issue will make you feel tired, and of course, for that you need to see your doctor.