We have all been there. We wake up from an 8 hour sleep, hoping to feel rejuvenated, refreshed, and wide awake, but instead, we are exhausted. It can be frustrating that even though we received the recommended amount of sleep, we simply can’t function. Unfortunately, it happens too often and some of the reasons behind it are actually preventable. Here, we are listing 10 of the reasons you feel tired, even after sleeping well.
1. You’re severely dehydrated
Studies show that dehydration can affect your sleep, more often than we imagine. In fact, loss of as little as 2% of body fluid can take a toll on your energy and mental functions. An estimated 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Chronic dehydration reduces the amount of essential amino acids that your body needs to produce a natural chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is linked to a natural circadian rhythm – that is, a normal sleeping and waking schedule.
Being dehydrated affects your body’s production of melatonin, which makes it both hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Dehydration also affects the blood volume, requiring your heart to pump less efficiently. So, staying hydrated in not only important throughout the day, but also for a good night’s sleep. (source)
2. You’re someone who relies on caffeine to get through the day.
In order to stay alert throughout the day, most of us have the habit of consuming caffeinated beverages. By consuming the “stimulants”, we are blocking our body’s adenosine receptor from functioning. The adenosine receptor is responsible for us feeling sleepy and caffeine acts as an “adenosine receptor antagonist”. Even though we feel like a cup of coffee takes hours to kick in, the truth is that caffeine can reach a peak level in our bloodstream within 30-60 minutes and has a half-life of 3 to 5 hours. The half-life is the amount of time it takes for our body to eliminate half of the substance, so this means that there’s still plenty of caffeine left in our system.
Studies show that up to three daily cups of coffee is good for you but consuming more than that can seriously disrupt your sleep-wake cycle. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed that consuming caffeine even six hours prior to bed time affects sleep; so cut out caffeine by mid-afternoon. (source)
3. You’re depressed
Depression can make you feel exhausted, even after a good night’s rest. According to HealthLine, it’s possible for a person to have both depression and chronic fatigue. Not only can depression make you feel exhausted during day time, no matter how much you sleep during the night, you wake up feeling extremely exhausted. HealthLine says, “People with depression often feel very tired and aren’t interested in doing any activity, regardless of the task or the required amount of effort. Pay attention to how you’re feeling, and if you think depression could be the reason, consider getting help”. (source)
4. You’re a perfectionist
Being a perfectionist takes a toll on our bodies since it makes us work harder and longer than necessary. According to Irene S. Levine, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, “You set goals that are so unrealistic that they are difficult or impossible to achieve, and in the end, there is no sense of self-satisfaction”. Irene suggests that we set a time limit for our projects and do everything to stick with it. The extra time we spend on making everything perfect only clutters our minds, making us stressed and tired. Studies also show that certain dimensions of perfectionism are associated with insomnia. (source)
5. You have the habit of skipping breakfast
Skipping breakfast might not seem like a huge thing but studies show that it causes our metabolism to slow down. In an effort to conserve energy, our bodies slow down the overall process to compensate for calorie restriction. When we wake up in the morning, our metabolism has already been slow during sleep. So, prolonging the process of fasting only reduces the body’s willingness to burn calories. This could also make you feel sluggish throughout the day since you have less energy to work with.
Besides, food is our fuel. When we are sleeping, our body works with the food we consumed the night before, in order to maintain blood and oxygen flow throughout the body. Skipping breakfast means we are skipping the process of fueling ourselves. The overall process could make us extremely exhausted during the day, as well as when we finally get some rest. (source)
6. You have the habit of munching on too much fast food
The type of food we consume can play an important role in the amount and quality of sleep we receive every day. Carl E. Hunt, MD, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., explains to WebMD, “We know that certain foods that we consume can interfere with sleep.”
Certain fast foods are loaded with sugar, simple carbs and rank high on the glycemic index (GI). When we consume them, we feel energetic but over the course of the day, it can drop and we feel extremely fatigued. According to experts, the only way to maintain a steady flow of energy is to eliminate fast foods and to consume a lean protein along with a whole grain at every meal. (source)
7. You have the habit of spending too much time on your phone or computer
Studies show that over-use of technology can disrupt our sleep-cycle. According to Dr Lipman, author of Revive: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again, “Exposure to electromagnetic fields too close to bedtime stops the sleep hormone melatonin from being secreted as you fall asleep, which means you never reach the deep, restorative type of sleep we all need”. In order to achieve a fully refreshing sleep-cycle, Dr Lipman suggests that we turn off any electronics two to three hours before our intended bed time. “Total darkness helps you fall into a deep restorative sleep”, he says. While it’s hard to detach ourselves from electronics in this technology era, it’s definitely worth a try. (source)
8. You have a hard time saying ‘no’ to others
It’s understandable that you want to help and always be there for your friends and family members. However, people-pleasing often comes at the expense of your own energy, happiness and sleep. As you strive to keep others happy, stress can build over time, making you more resentful and angry. Whether it’s your dear friend who is always in need of a ride or your boss who is always wanting you to cover for them on your day off, learn to say ‘no’. According to Susan Albers, a licensed clinical psychologist with Cleveland Clinic and author of Try it alone in your car, “Hearing yourself say the word aloud makes it easier to say it when the next opportunity calls for it”. (source)
9. You are surrounded by clutter
Whether you have a cluttered office or house, it can cause mental exhaustion. By surrounding yourself with clutter, you are restricting your ability to focus, as well as limiting your brain’s ability to process information correctly, according to a study conducted by Princeton University. This causes many of our feelings to be suppressed and come out at a later time when we are resting our minds; thus disrupting our chances of getting any rest. In order to eliminate this, make sure your work and personal items are organized and put away at the end of the day. This will provide you with a positive start for the next day. (source)
10. You take minimal vacations
Every now and then, we need a chance to forget all of the stress related to work and personal life. Vacations play a crucial role when it comes to our happiness as well as quality of sleep. Living a life where all we do is work and stress about things causes burnout, which reduces overall satisfaction in life. It also increases your anxiety levels, and makes you feel as if you have no control over your life. So, experts suggest that we take vacations to unplug and unwind our minds and bodies to rejuvenate and return as a stronger and healthier person. (source)