sleeping on the couch

Why am I so tired?

One question I get frequently from family and friends is, “Why am I so tired all the time?” Turns out, it’s also one of the most asked questions on the web. Let’s take a look at what could be causing your tiredness and how to fix it.

Not Enough Vitamin D

Interestingly, northern states asked Google the “Why am I so tired” question more than their southern neighbors. Perhaps northerners don’t go outside as much as southerners during the winter months, which makes sense–it’s freezing up here! This may result in a deficiency of Vitamin D, which can definitely cause fatigue and even depression. Other people who are at risk include those who work indoors, those who don’t spend much time outdoors, and vegans. If you think this could be the reason why you’re so sleepy, check with your doctor to check your vitamin D level and then get a good supplement.

Not Enough Iron/Anemia

Not having enough iron in the blood can leave you falling asleep randomly throughout the day. Besides extreme fatigue, other symptoms include body weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, and a crawling feeling in the legs. If you’re having any of these symptoms, definitely contact your doctor to get a diagnosis. People who have autoimmune diseases should especially ask to have their iron levels checked periodically.

Too much screen time

If you’re playing games on your phone or watching TV during the hour before you go to bed, this might be the reason why you’re not resting well. The lights from electronic devices keep your brain stimulated, making it think it can’t slow down enough to sleep. Try avoiding all electronic use before bed and instead listen to white noise or a fan in a pitch black bedroom starting twenty minutes before you want to fall asleep.

Thyroid issues

Hypothyroidism is a very common reason why people experience fatigue. Hypothyroidism is where your thyroid doesn’t produce enough important hormones. This can cause many things in your body to slow down such as your metabolism and heart rate. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include sensitivity to cold, thinning hair, dry skin, and painful joints. If you think you may have a thyroid issue, let your doctor know as soon as possible.

Not sleeping enough

We all know that not sleeping enough can cause fatigue, but how do you know how much sleep you actually need? Jennifer Hines of Alaska Sleep Clinic writes: “If you find yourself waking about 10 minutes before your alarm goes off, you’ve found your perfect bedtime. If however you’re still relying on your alarm clock to wake you up, try moving your bedtime back 15 minutes every 3 days until you find yourself waking just a few minutes before your alarm goes off.”

Not exercising enough

A body that’s not used to physical activity will naturally feel sluggish. To increase energy, start exercising daily (with your doc’s permission), even if it’s a thirty minute walk. You’ll find yourself sleeping and feeling better, thanks to those positive endorphins your body releases while exercising.

Eating too many carbs or processed foods

Food that is processed and heavy on the carbs can cause you to feel heavy and sluggish. Typically, these foods don’t contain many nutrients your body needs and only makes you feel energized for a short time. When you eat these foods, prepare for a “sugar high” and then a “sugar crash.” Try to avoid processed food and empty carbohydrates and instead fill up on nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, along with plenty of protein and healthy fats. Your body might go through a junk-food detox, but after a few days, you will more than likely experience a surge of energy.

Sleep disorder

Sometimes, feeling fatigued might be because of a sleep disorder. If you think your problem might be related to a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy, tell your doctor to have a sleep study scheduled.

Tips for good sleep

  1. Sleep in a cool, dark area.
  2. Try to listen to guided sleep meditations to help you relax.
  3. Practice yoga an hour before bed.
  4. Drink a herbal tea, such as Nighty Night tea.
  5. Avoid caffeine, sugar, and heavy carbohydrates before bed.
  6. Don’t use electronics during the hour before bedtime.
  7. Try using essential oils in a diffuser such as lavender and chamomile.
  8. Exercise daily.

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