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Blog Feature

By: Kevin Asp on June 8th, 2016

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Why Am I Tired All The Time? 5 Tips to Feeling Better!

Sleep Medicine

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I’m getting a full night’s sleep but I’m still exhausted. Why is that?

The feeling of everyday jetlag resonates with you. You got some sleep but you still feel exhausted.

So what is exactly making it hard for you to get through the day without feeling like your entire body is shutting down?

Here, sleep technologists reveal the most common reasons why you feel tired, plus easy to do lifestyle hacks that can help you transform from a zombie to your fully functioning self.

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1. You’re not following your body clock

Each of us has a personal “body clock,” or unique circadian rhythm. In broad strokes, these body clocks are usually characterized as early, intermediate or late, which is reflected by people's’ varying sleep habits. Some wake up early and go to bed early, while others either sleep during moderate hours or regularly stay up vampirishly late. So if you are forced to wake up earlier than your body naturally would, you will usually suffer from jet lag-like symptoms.

In other words, the urge to stay up late or wake up early is not so much of a lifestyle choice but something that is within you and controlled by your personal body clock.

Sleeping out of sync with your innate preferences can be detrimental to your health, especially for those who have late body clocks that makes them predisposed to waking up later than normal work schedules.  But does that mean you ask for your boss to shift your work schedule according to your late body clock start time?

Few people actually have the luxury to work around their body clock. But you can fine tune your circadian rhythm by establishing better sleep habits, which will be explored in our next point.

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2. You have bad sleep habits

If you find yourself having a hard time sleeping at night, then take a closer look at what you might be doing that disrupts your sleep schedule.

Drinking alcohol 3-4 hours before bed

A nightcap sounds like a good way to unwind before falling asleep, but it can easily backfire. Alcohol does have a sedative effect, but when it wears off it creates an abrupt surge in the adrenaline system. This is why you're more likely to wake up in the middle of the night after you've been drinking.

Checking your smartphone at bedtime

The glaring light of a tablet, smartphone, or your computer's backlit screen can throw off your body's natural circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles.

Each individual can respond differently to light exposure, but it’s generally a good idea to avoid technology before bed.

Can’t help but checking your phone before bed? Then hold it at least 14 inches away from your face to reduce the risk of sleep interference.

Relying on caffeine to get through the day

Starting your morning with coffee is not a big deal—in fact, studies show that up to three cups of coffee can actually be good for you.  But drinking caffeine even 6 hours before bedtime can affect sleep.

We recommend that you cut off all sources of caffeine by mid afternoon. So check the label of that coke you’re about to drink before you take a sip!

time-to-eat13. You’re eating poorly

Not surprisingly, what you eat can affect all aspects of your body.  When you start changing the way you eat to a healthier option, you’ll be surprised by how different you feel.  Here are some habits that can be detrimental to your sleep and health:

Living on junk food

Foods loaded with sugar and simple carbs spike your blood sugar level up and down, causing fatigue over the course of the day.  That’s why you can find yourself feeling a “sugar high” after eating loads of sweets, only to feel tired again a couple of hours later. 

Keep blood sugar steady by eating balanced healthy meals that are  comprised of lean protein and whole grain whenever possible.

Skipping breakfast

Every time you skip breakfast, you may find yourself feeling a bit more sluggish than usual. That’s because when you sleep, your body continues to use what you ate at dinner the night before.

So waking up and not eating breakfast is like forgetting to add fuel to your fire.  Even if you are short on time, we recommend that you grab a quick bite before starting your day.

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4. You’re literally working too hard

This might easier for some people than it is for others: taking a break from work is crucial.  Not only for your mind, but also for your sleep.

When you get time off or are off work, take some time to breathe and unwind by not doing anything work-related for a time.   Working through your breaks and vacations can put you at risk of burnout, the feeling of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest.

So unplug yourself from work and take a real break from work.  That way, you can return to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

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5. You’re committed to too many things

This goes along with the point that we made about overbooking yourself to the pathway of burnout.

If you have a problem saying ‘no’ to people, then you might often find that you’re not leaving enough time for yourself or to do everything you need to do.

Avoid spreading yourself too thin by thinking of what’s realistic, where your priorities are and how much time you actually have.  Map out your day if you have to and constantly keep in mind that you actually do not have to do everything people ask you to do.

But I already live a healthy, balanced lifestyle!

If none of these factors seem to be the reason that you’re tired, then the root cause of your constant exhaustion can may be a medical condition.

There are  many medical conditions that can cause a feeling of constant fatigue that include: obstructive sleep apnea, anemia, thyroid problems, depression, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, among many others medical conditions.  We recommend that you contact your local sleep  center to find out what’s causeing you to be so tired.

Make sure you remember the 6 things sleep centers should discuss with you about treatment.

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