We’ve all had those mornings where you wake up and maybe you’re a little groggy because you stayed up late the night before. But what does it mean if you’re always tired?
While there are many contributing factors to chronic fatigue, there are three key areas to look at first when getting to the root of the issue — your nighttime routine, diet and exercise, and underlying health issues.
How long did you actually sleep last night? Most people would say around 7 or 8 hours, but a study by the University of Chicago proved that many people misjudge the amount of sleep they get each night. Those studied did not take into consideration the time it takes to fall asleep and more importantly, stay asleep throughout the night.
You can improve the length and quality of your sleep by turning off your phone and TV before you get ready for bed. Light from screens like your phone reduces the amount of melatonin your body naturally produces, which in turn makes it more difficult for your body to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. So be sure to turn off those devices when you start your bedtime routine.
Additionally, you can block out any lights with blackout curtains and drop the temperature of your room to a cool 65 degrees, described as the “ideal” sleeping temperature, according to Chris Winter, MD.
If you feel stressed throughout the day, you may also be carrying that stress into the night which in turn impacts your quality of sleep. Try breathing exercises or take time and meditate before heading to bed to lessen that stress and clear your mind.
DIET AND EXERCISE
What you eat has greater impacts than just weight loss, as it could be the reason you feel sluggish throughout the day. Even though reaching for a sugary snack when you are tired in the morning may give you a quick boost, that energy will soon crash back down to lethargy due to the refined carbs in those snacks. Instead of a donut or a soda, try something healthier like fruits and water.
Caffeinated drinks or alcoholic drinks also could add to your drowsiness since they both reduce levels of hydration in the body. To combat this, try drinking a glass of water or two before bed to help refuel your body overnight.
We get it, you’re tired and you don’t have the energy to exercise, but did you know that a regular exercise plan can also help give you energy and reduce fatigue? Even just 20 minutes of moving at a low or moderate intensity can help you get going in the mornings and keep that energy throughout the day.
A proper diet and exercise can also help with bodily functions and health that may be causing your chronic fatigue.
Beneath the surface of the previous contributing factors lies health problems that you may not know you have. Millions of Americans are impacted by diabetes, food sensitivities, and/or an underachieving thyroid which may all lead to chronic fatigue throughout the day.
Whether Type II or pre-diabetic, those with diabetes report feeling fatigued throughout the day due to uncontrolled glucose levels. The fatigue can also come from dehydration or kidney disease caused by diabetes. Blood glucose level tests can help determine whether you are diabetic which would require further testing for side effects such as kidney disease and anemia.
Sensitivity to certain foods can not only upset your stomach or cause cramps, but it could also add to your fatigue according to one study. If you experience bloating, cramps, headaches, nausea, or even rashes after eating certain foods, you may have a food sensitivity that is causing your fatigue. Understanding what cooperates with your body can go a long way to help you feel better and have more energy consistently.
Lastly, a sluggish thyroid may be to blame for a lot of problems such as weight gain, dry skin, in addition to your chronic fatigue. The thyroid is directly responsible for producing the thyroid hormone which regulates your metabolism. When the thyroid isn’t producing enough of this hormone, the body naturally slows down its functions and makes you feel tired. Adversely, the pituitary gland will produce more TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) which may lead to lower testosterone, hair loss, and weight gain. Having a regularly functioning thyroid is key to living a healthy lifestyle.
It’s not all bad news though, as all of the health issues stated above can be tested for, and the results can paint a picture as to what is causing your tiredness. If you would like to get tested in person, ARCpoint Labs has locations near you.