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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

Sleeping Too Much but Still Exhausted? Why You Can’t Sleep Well At Night

Sleeping Too Much but Still Exhausted? Why You Can’t Sleep Well At Night

Can’t get yourself out of the ‘laze zone’? Simple, your aunt would say – you need more sleep. Well, what if you’ve been sleeping more than usual, and still can’t shake off that heavy sense of fatigue?

You’re not alone.

Scientific research amply showcases that fatigue is rooted in many core factors, and sleep deprivation is merely one of them. Fatigue, whatever its cause might be for you, will take your life for a toss.

National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) estimates that 7% of road accidents are caused because of fatigue.[1] Also, 1 in 5 Americans are affected by fatigue, the financial impact (lower workplace productivity) of which is estimated at $100 billion annually.

On a personal level, fatigue makes you cranky, demotivated and unproductive. Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to improve the real quality of your sleep, keep fatigue and tiredness at bay, and get more done, every day.

Are you sleeping for the right duration?

The general belief that adults need 8 hours of sleep to maintain healthy lifestyles is, well, a bit of an oversimplification. 8 hours – that’s what works for most people. It’s reasonably likely that it won’t work for you.

During sleep, the average human goes through multiple sleep cycles, of primarily two kinds of sleep – non-REM (shallow sleep) and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) or deep sleep. It’s better to wake up between two sleep cycles rather than in the middle of a cycle. The duration of a sleep cycle for a human varies between 90 and 110 minutes.

It’s easy to understand why 8 hours could be lower or higher than your ideal sleeping duration. Use a sleep tracker application to measure your ideal sleep duration. Or, keep on adjusting your sleep durations by 15 minutes (continue with a duration for a week) until you find your sweet sleep duration.

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Heard the phrase ‘body clock’? It’s closely tied to your sleep cycles and how you can tune your body to wake between REM sleep cycles. More on this, and many more methods for improving sleep quality, in the next sections.

How to tune your body’s internal clock

1. Follow sleep-discipline

Sleep researchers agree – sleeping and waking at the same time, even during weekends, helps set a sort of internal clock in your body, scientifically known as circadian rhythm. This rhythm affects your body, your brain, and your hormones, regulating when you feel like sleeping or waking up.

When you regulate the circadian rhythm, your body becomes naturally tuned to the idea of expecting sleep at a certain hour, and to wake up fresh and eager at a specific hour in the morning.

Try to follow this clock as regularly as possible because it takes time for it to take control of your sleep routine.

Natural light has an important role to play in setting the internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle. If you can ask your partner to part the curtains, so that daylight seeps into your room before you awake, nothing like it.

Also, make it a point to take sun-breaks during the day (at least twice) if you work mostly within the confined of a closed office space.

2. Reduce exposure to blue light after evenings

Exposure to a lot of light can have negative effects on your ability to sleep well. Light impacts the body’s circadian rhythm, makes the brain believe that it’s daylight, and regulates body hormones such that the amount of melatonin is reduced, which in turn reduces the body’s inclination to sleep.

Blue light is the worst offender, and sadly, that’s what comes out of all your electronic devices.

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Because of the modern lifestyle, it might not be entirely practical for you to let go of electronic devices after evening. Try these options:

  • Use an app such as f.lux, which blocks out blue light from electronic device screens
  • Use spectacles with lenses that block out blue light
  • Reduce the brightness of your laptop and television screens
  • Try out screen protectors to filter out the harsh light, if you just can’t keep devices out of your pre-sleep routine

3. Avoid consuming chemicals that impede sleep

Nicotine, caffeine, alcohol – all these are known defaulters, as far as your sleep quality is concerned.

Caffeine, for instance, is a stimulant that is almost certain to keep you awake. It’s not only in coffee; caffeine is present in tea, colas, chocolates, and even some pain reliever medicines. Smokers should refrain from consuming tobacco products post evening.

People believe that alcohol helps them relax and fall asleep quicker than otherwise. This may be true, but the implications are bad for sleep quality. Alcohol makes you wake up more often during the night.

Limit your alcohol consumption to less than two drinks, if you are a regular drinker. Or, better still, don’t drink at all!

4. Nurture a healthy pre-sleep regimen

The transition from your wakeful hours to sleep hours can massively improve sleep quality and help you wake up fresh and alert. Try these options:

  • Engage yourself with a good book
  • Stay away from your electronic gadgets for at least one hour prior to sleep
  • Try out relaxation exercises to help your brain stop overthinking on personal problems
  • If you’re troubled by thoughts, write them down and put the notes away
  • Take a bath because sudden change in body temperature induces drowsiness
  • Instead of coffee, drink a cup or two of warm herbal tea

5. Make your bedroom’s environment conducive for sleep

Improper room ambience can not only delay the onset of sleep, but also cause you to wake often. On the contrary, salubrious room environment promotes sound sleep.

Here are some tips:

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  • Maintain a dark, quiet and cool environment
  • Use high quality curtains that block out outside light
  • Use a white noise appliance to shut off your brain from paying attention to outside noises
  • Use an eye mask if you’re unable to ensure complete darkness (because of your partner’s preferences, for instance)
  • Keep the room well ventilated, and the temperature regulated between 60 and 75°F
  • Get yourself a comfortable mattress, and change the bed linen often
  • Keep the wall-clock’s face away from yourself, and replace it with a quieter clock if the tick-tock is too loud

6. Use power naps judiciously, if at all

The idea of short day-time naps works well for many individuals. However, if you’ve been waking up groggy in spite of sleeping adequately, chances are that your regular power naps are to blame.

In a research study, participants who took power naps felt sleepy throughout the day, after taking their daytime naps.

7. Understanding your meds and their impact on sleep

The meds you take could have a major impact on how well you sleep and how well you wake up. Here are a couple of important pointers to keep in mind:

Avoid sleeping pills. Your sleep issues don’t warrant the use of sleeping pills. These medicines are known to interfere with your deep sleep (REM) and create several long-term health problems. A 2012 study published in BMJ Open goes as far as suggesting that people taking sleeping pills are at 4 times likelier to die as compared to those who don’t take these pills![2]

Know when to take your medicines. Some medicines tend to make you feel drowsy. Well, drowsiness isn’t the equivalent of sleepy.

So, refrain from deciding based on your opinions. Instead, consult with your doctor, as to when you should take specific medicines, if you are also facing sleep issues. Even if you are taking beauty-related medicines or weight loss medicines.

Your dietary habits have a strong role to play in deciding how well you sleep and how fresh you are on waking. Here are some dependable food practices:

Never skip your breakfast. Without fuel, your body will be lethargic, and you’ll just carry it through your sleep and to the next day. Also, skipping breakfast invariably causes overeating during dinners, which gives your body a tough time trying to find rejuvenating sleep.

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Eat judiciously after evenings. Research shows that people who eat reasonably fulfilling dinners after 8.30 pm have trouble digesting the food. Their body keeps on working to digest the food even while they’re asleep, which takes the sleep quality for a toss. Try as hard as possible to eat light and early dinners.

Eat melatonin-rich food. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness in humans. Your lifestyle and diet choices could help you build up melatonin, which in turn induces sleep. Tart cherry juice is a time tested, science backed, and proven effective drink to consume a couple of hours prior to sleeping.

The bottom line

Sleeping too much is not enough. Sleeping adequately and waking up with a feeling of enthusiasm and freshness is more important.

The quality of your life depends on how you feel throughout the day, and that’s where you need to realize your responsibility of taking your sleep seriously.

So if you find yourself sleeping too much but still feeling exhausted, it’s time to work on your daily habits and tune your internal body clock.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Robin Williams

Business Professional, Writer and Blogger

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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

7 Signs of a Thyroid Problem That You Should Not Ignore

7 Signs of a Thyroid Problem That You Should Not Ignore

An estimated 20 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid problem. It may be a sad surprise, but approximately 15 million people are silent sufferers of thyroid disease.

This is quite unsettling for anyone who is taken unaware by a thyroid disorder, as it can lead to some serious health complications, such as weight loss or weight gain, infertility, mood changes, etc. If you’re a female aged 35 or above, you have greater risk of acquiring the disorder. What’s more, an underactive thyroid in children can be life-threatening. 

That all sounds like bad news, but a thyroid problem does have solutions once you know what’s going on. 

Huge Responsibility for a Tiny Gland

Breathing, central and peripheral nervous system regulation, heart rate, muscle strength, body weight, menstrual cycles, cholesterol levels, body temperature, and the list continues—this small, butterfly-shaped gland has got a huge job description that includes regulating numerous body systems and releasing hormones.

The one thing that confuses people (and sometimes even doctors) when identifying thyroid disorders is the variety of signs and symptoms that can develop. This makes it tough to detect the root cause of any thyroid problem[1].

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Anatomy of the thyroid

    Are you experiencing sleepiness, a foggy brain, or weight loss? You could be one of the 20 million people with a thyroid problem. If you are nervous about a potential thyroid disorder, these symptoms should ring the alarm for you.

    1. No Sex Drive

    Hypothyroidism is a killer of sex drive. Low libido is often linked with too little thyroid hormone, as the thyroid shares a connection with adrenal glands, as well as sexual hormones. Complaints of low testosterone levels have also been resolved through thyroid treatment.

    Thyroid problems have also been linked to vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable for women. For men, a thyroid problem can cause hormonal imbalances that can lead to erectile disfunction. Basically, a problem with your thyroid is a problem for your sex life[2].

    2. Dry, Itchy Skin

    Rashes may appear as poor thyroid function weakens your blood circulation, changing the appearance of your skin. Moreover, less sweat is a result of a slow metabolism, which can make your skin dry and flaky due to a lack of moisture.

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    3. Lazy Digestive Tract

    You could be constipated due to the slowing down of your bodily functions because of hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, can force you to visit the restroom very frequently, or you may even suffer from diarrhea.

    Furthermore, you may experience chest pain due to a change in stomach acid. Nausea and vomiting can also occur, so don’t take these symptoms lightly[3].

    4. Irregular Body Temperature

    It’s simple: hypothyroidism will always lower the body temperature, while hyperthyroidism will always increase it. Correct amounts of thyroid hormones regulate body temperature by increasing available energy in the body, and they also increase appetite, pulse, the levels of oxygen delivered to different body parts, and fat buildup, depending on your level of activity.

    Thyroid hormones are also in charge of regulating ATP, which is the energy currency in a cell. This is why your body temperature changes: too much ATP (hyperthyroidism) will cause the body to produce too much heat, and too little (hypothyroidism) won’t produce enough[4].

    It’s important to note that menopause can cause such changes as well, so you’ll need to confirm a thyroid problem with your doctor.

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    5. Unexplained Pain

    Are your muscles causing you pain for no reason? It could be a sign of low thyroid function. Hypothyroidism means less metabolism-controlling hormones, which causes disruption in metabolism activity, which can cause nerve damage.

    6. Fatigue and Forgetfulness

    Are you feeling down and experiencing a constant lack of energy? A lack of hormones may be the reason. This hurts your brain and neurological functioning and causes sleeplessness, constant tiredness, and fatigue. An underactive thyroid turns your mood down as many bodily functions slow down.

    Are you experiencing symptoms of depression? This may be the time to get your thyroid tested.

    7. Weight Gain/Loss

    You are eating the same foods, in the same amounts, but you are still gaining or losing wait. If you can’t button up the same size pants you were wearing before, or your clothes seem to be falling off you, you may have a thyroid problem that’s throwing your metabolism off.

    This has everything to do with the way your body uses energy. We talked about ATP above. If you’re body isn’t using the energy it’s receiving, you will begin to gain weight. If it’s using too much, you will lose weight[5].

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    The Bottom Line

    If you suspect you may have a thyroid problem, having a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test done will help you boil things down to a clear and accurate result. Blood tests and physical exams will help your doctor determine if you have a problem with your thyroid.  

    If your thyroid reports reveal that you have a problem, you descend into depression or panic. Exercise has proved to be quite effective; besides, you can normalize your thyroid functioning by eating the right foods[6].

    Your doctor will aim to bring your thyroid activity back to a normal pace—not too fast or too slow. You must cooperate with your doctor, as negligence can make the disorder lifelong. Medications are helpful in most cases. Either way, waste no time and get diagnosed early—the faster you’re treated, the better you will recover.

    More on Overcoming a Thyroid Problem

    Featured photo credit: engin akyurt via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Office on Women’s Health: Thyroid Disease
    [2] Penn Medicine: How Thyroid Problems Might Be Hurting Your Sex Life
    [3] Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: The thyroid and the gut
    [4] Boost Thyroid: Basal body temperature and thyroid function
    [5] British Thyroid Foundation: Thyroid and weight – the science
    [6] Bel Marra Health: Hypothyroidism diet: Foods for underactive thyroid

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