If you find yourself regularly snapping out of a quick cat nap at work or you just feel too tired to engage in the activities that you used to love, then chances are that something’s wrong. While it’s easy to shrug off reasons of feeling tired as just a temporary thing, feeling tired all the time can actually be a symptom of a much bigger problem. From not taking care of your body all the way to actual medical problems, tiredness is a symptom that you shouldn’t ignore.
The Cause: You’re dehydrated.
The Cure: Make sure you’re drinking at least two liters of water a day.
Dehydration is a huge cause of both headaches and that tired, run-down feeling. Water is a huge part of your body’s make-up, and failing to keep it plumped up with the appropriate amount of liquid can result in feelings of fatigue and general crabbiness. Aim to drink at least two liters of water a day, or indulge in water-drenched foods like fruits and vegetables.
The Cause: You’re not getting enough quality sleep.
The Cure: Uncover why you’re lacking under the covers.
There can be a variety of reasons why you’re not getting the regular, snooze you need. This can range from outside noise, to a snoring partner or even too many electronic devices in your bedroom. Make your bedroom an oasis of calm, free from distractions other than sleep. Developing a bedtime routine, for example, going to bed at the same time every night, can help boost your sleep potential.
The Cause: You’re the coffee shop’s best customer.
The Cure: Knock off the caffeine after noon.
Most people love to start their day with a steaming hot cup of joe, but do you really need to down it throughout your day? Ramping up your caffeine intake during the day can have serious repercussions in the evening, and can make you a jittery, nervous time bomb. Try opting for water instead in the afternoon, giving your body a break from caffeine and paving the way to an easy bedtime.
The Cause: You’re out of shape.
The Cure: Aim for exercise at least three times a week.
You already know that exercise is important for your overall health and emotional well-being, but did you know that it can help improve your sleep patterns? According to a study by The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, those who regularly engaged in exercise slept more soundly, and generally for 45 minutes to an hour longer than their tubby counterparts. Getting your exercise in doesn’t have to take up tons of time, either. Try going for a brisk walk on your lunch hour, wearing a pedometer to get your 10,000 steps a day or just engaging in an activity you like, such as the company softball team.
The Cause: You’re a barfly.
The Cure: Take a step back from regular drinking.
While the odd glass of wine may make you feel snoozy and can appear to help you drop off to sleep, regular, heavy drinking can have a seriously damaging effect on your ability to engage in quality sleep. Multiple studies over the years have shown that moderate to excessive drinking habits can significantly decrease REM sleep — the most restorative type of sleep, not the band.
The Cause: You’re possibly anemic.
The Cure: Turn on the iron in your diet.
The feeling of chronic fatigue can come from a great many things, but one of the most commonly undiagnosed is anemia, or low iron in the blood. Without the appropriate amount of iron, your body is unable to produce that all-important hemoglobin, which results in chronic feelings of tiredness. If you’ve been diagnosed as anemic, try taking an iron supplement and increasing your intake of iron-rich foods such as spinach and steak.
The Cause: You’ve got the blues.
The Cure: See your doctor immediately.
While everyone has a bad day from time to time, feelings of depression are nothing to ignore. The sooner you see your doctor to discuss your fatigue and low-mood, the better. If you’ve found that you’re having feelings of “the blues,” your doctor will be able to help regulate you with either medication or suggest therapies to engage in.
The Cause: You’re a new parent.
The Cure: Make sure you’re getting adequate help.
From midnight feedings to the constant worry, being a new parent is a world that’s rife with little rest. While the first few weeks with a new baby are going to be emotionally and physically trying, it’s important to develop a routine as soon as possible. Take turns with your partner to do midnight feedings and changings; or ask a friend or family member to pitch in so you can get some extra space for yourself. Grabbing those much-needed moments of relaxation, no matter how short, can add up to feeling more energized.
The Cause: You’re stressed out.
The Cure: Teach yourself to relax a little.
Feelings of anxiety, stress and worry can certainly keep you up night, and the worse it becomes the more you’ll feel fatigue during the day. Learning new coping mechanisms, such as meditation and deep breathing techniques, can help enormously to make you feel both relaxed and refreshed. If the feelings persist, it’s important to pay your doctor a visit to ensure there aren’t additional underlying causes to your constant fatigue.
The Cause: You’re a vegetarian or vegan.
The Cure: Get your vitamins.
It’s a sad fact for the plant-eaters: the only way to naturally get your vitamin B12 is to eat animal protein. Having B12 deficiency — even at borderline levels — can cause you to feel run-down and tired. While meat alternatives on the market may be able to provide you with most of the nutrition you need, when it comes to B12 you’ll need a synthetic supplement. Many report feeing a significant boost once they start taking it.
The Cause: You have an undiagnosed medical condition.
The Cure: See your doctor regularly.
Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid conditions can leave you feeling wiped out. Once you start feeling constantly tired, take a look at what other symptoms you may be experiencing. It’s easy to overlook the most basic of symptoms, but these can often be your tip-off to a larger problem. Make a note of when and where you feel any symptom so you’re able to adequately communicate it with your doctor.
The Cause: You smoke.
The Cure: Stub out the butt.
While your sleep patterns can be slightly disturbed when you first quit smoking, your overall quality of sleep will actually improve after just a week or two of kicking the habit. Though you may have used to think of grabbing a smoke as a relaxing experience, nicotine is a stimulant that can easy interrupt your ability to relax and get the rest you need.
Featured photo credit: Sleeping Beauty/critiquemyphoto via flickr.com