Why am I always tired? Tips to improve daytime tiredness
Tiredness is no stranger to any of us. From working late shifts to being woken up by a new-born bab, many of us fail to get the sleep we need and as a result, experience fatigue during waking hours.
Despite getting your 40 winks of sleep, you might still struggle to stay alert throughout the day, particularly when that afternoon slump hits.
However, there are ways to combat your tiredness!
TEMPUR looks at why you might feel tired during the day, and ways you can boost your energy levels…
What is causing your tiredness?
More often than not, you will experience a brief period of daytime sleepiness, and you’re not the only one! Different sleep cultures around the world even embrace the mid-afternoon slump, taking siestas at midday to re-energise themselves for the second part of the day.
Even when you get eight hours sleep, your body can naturally experience symptoms of tiredness for a number of reasons. Some common reasons include:
- A poor diet which is made up of foods rich in caffeine and sugar, giving you a short but unsustainable burst of energy
- Dehydration is another common cause of fatigue, so remember to keep yourself full of H2O
Fatigue can also be a result of an underlying health problem:
- Anaemia – iron deficiency anaemia causes tiredness and a lack of energy, and is most common in women with heavy periods and pregnant women. This lack of energy is due to there being an insufficient amount of red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body
- Sleep apnoea – this occurs when airflow is obstructed during sleep, causing a loss of breath and regular awakenings throughout the night. This can lead to daytime tiredness
- Underactive thyroid – this is where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, resulting in symptoms such as tiredness and muscle aches. This is easily treatable, just contact your GP for more information
- Mental health – mental health problems can come in many shapes and forms which often go hand in hand with a disrupted sleep cycle, consequently making us feel tired the following day. Remember, the importance of sleep on mental health shouldn’t be underestimated!
An alternative theory to explain why you are always tired is suggested by Dr Fiona Kerr, a neuro specialist, who explains that humans are ‘built for two sleeps a day’:
“A major reason for this is that human beings are biphasic (physically designed for two sleeps a day), with two major bodily rhythms (homeostatic sleep drive and circadian arousal) which pull us in different directions in terms of staying awake or sleeping, but they fascinatingly align in the middle of the day to create a ‘nap zone’.”
How to stay awake during the afternoon
- Afternoon nap – take the professional’s advice and take an afternoon nap! This seems to work in Japanese culture where naps during work hours (an inumeri) are encouraged
- Proper diet – ditch the quick energy boosts such as coffee and invest your time in creating a healthy, balanced diet plan rich with proteins, slow release carbs and at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. Never miss breakfast and cut out those sugary snacks!
- Visit your GP – if you believe that your tiredness has a more serious root, contact your doctor for advice. Many problems with tiredness as a symptom can be diagnosed by a simple blood test, and treated with the correct vitamins or supplements
How do you combat tiredness? Share you tips in the comments below…