Do you find yourself dragging throughout the day without enough energy to do the things you love? There could be an underlying reason for feeling tired. Here are five of the most common reasons you’re exhausted:
- You’re Not Drinking Enough Water – Being even slightly dehydrated can take a huge toll on energy levels. Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume, which makes the blood thicker. Your heart then becomes less efficient at pumping, reducing the speed at which oxygen and nutrients reach your muscles and organs. To find out how much fluid you need, divide your weight in half (pounds) and drink that number of ounces of fluid a day.
- You’re Iron Deficient – Iron deficiency can leave you feeling tired, irritable, weak, and unable to focus. When you’re lacking in iron, less oxygen travels to your muscles and cells. Boost your iron intake to reduce your risk of anemia: load up on lean beef, kidney beans, tofu, eggs (including the yolk), dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and peanut butter, and pair them with foods high in vitamin C. Vitamin C improves iron absorption when consumed together.
- You Skip Breakfast – Food fuels your body. When you’re sleeping, your body continues using the food you ate for dinner the night before to keep your blood pumping and oxygen flowing. When you wake up, you need to refuel with a healthy breakfast. If you skip this important meal, you’ll feel sluggish. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and gets your engines running for the long day ahead. Aim for whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats. For example, a slice of whole grain toast with avocado or peanut butter. Steel-cut oatmeal is a great choice for those cold mornings.
- You Drink Before Bed – You may think that glass of wine is helping you to relax, but it’s really causing problems. Initially alcohol depresses the central nervous system, producing a sedative effect, but ultimately it sabotages sleep maintenance. Alcohol creates a sort of rebound effect as it’s metabolized, which is why you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep after you’ve been drinking. Try to avoid all alcohol three to four hours before bedtime.
- You Rely on Caffeine – starting your day with a nice, hot cup of coffee is perfectly fine. Studies show that up to three cups of coffee daily is actually good for you. But using caffeine throughout the day as a pick-me-up can seriously disrupt your sleep cycle. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that consuming caffeine even six hours before bedtime negatively affects sleep. So, skip that afternoon coffee and reach for a handful of almonds or a cup of yogurt. The protein will give you the boost you need to make it through the rest of the day.