Sometimes, I find myself lacking energy in a big way. Walking into the kitchen to get a glass of water becomes a huge chore, and I feel physically and mentally weak. I’m sluggish and it’s just not fun.
Usually, when I feel tired, it’s not because of a lack of sleep. Sure, I have insomnia some nights, but generally I get at least 6 hours of shut eye every night, and stick to my routine quite religiously. Most people assume that exhaustion is about lacking sleep, or at least deep sleep, and try to battle it by getting more sleep, which can actually be counterproductive and is often not addressing the issue. There are several reasons why you may be exhausted that may not be linked to your sleeping patterns.
When you are stressed, you may sleep quite well due to physical exhaustion, but you will likely wake up after what was supposed to be a long, refreshing deep sleep still tired.
Stress can mess with your hormones and with your brain, causing exhaustion regardless of how much sleep you are getting.
Believe it or not, caffeine can very much effect how much energy we have, but in the opposite way than you’d expect. Caffeine can spike your energy in small doses, but it also has the ability to make your energy levels crash and stay there if you over-do it. One or two servings of a caffeinated beverage per day should be more than enough to keep you energetic.
Diet or Nutrient Deficiencies
There are a few different nutrients that you can be lacking which will make you feel sluggish and exhausted. Women tend to feel this way when they need to add more iron back into their diets. Most people will feel burnt out if they aren’t eating enough protein, because that is what gives you energy and keeps you full throughout the day.
Believe it or not, but being dehydrated will also wear you out. It’s important to drink enough water to keep your energy levels up.
I remember moving to the town I live in now from about 5 hours away, and the climate was vastly different (it happens in BC). I all of a sudden had onset allergies to the environment, particularly in the earlier months of spring.
I was tired all the time, my eyes were swollen, my ears were sore, and I was getting big headaches. At first I thought it was the flu, because of my exhaustion, but when I went to the doctor I was told that I had a common hay fever. She prescribed me some allergy medication and sure enough, as I took the medication, I got my energy levels back.
Unfortunately for all of those weekend sleep warriors, you aren’t catching up on your sleep when you sleep in, sometimes you are over sleeping. Our bodies don’t work in a way where you can sleep little during the week and make up for it on the weekend; in fact, it’s better for you to have the same schedule day in and day out whether or not that’s sleep deprivation.
Oversleeping can be very damaging to our energy levels and our hormones, as well.
Notice how your teenager never wants to get up? (S)he is always tired, always yawning, telling you they are too tired to do chores or pick up their room or play a sport? Well, there is merit to that. Their hormones are going nuts, and unfortunately that really effects their energy levels.
It’s not just teenagers that have hormones, though, we all do. Depending on what stage in your life you are at, hormones can make you feel exhausted.
Next time you feel tired and run down, consider that sleep may not be the problem and look at your other options.