With our busy schedules and perma-connected lifestyles, it’s hardly any wonder that human fatigue has reached epic proportions. It has always been nature’s intent that we at least rest, if not sleep, while it’s dark outside and conduct our day-to-day business while it’s bright. Our minds and bodies are not designed to function at full capacity 24/7, reluctantly snatching a few hours here and there for some much-needed R&R, yet that’s how many of us seem to operate nowadays. But what if you’re getting the prescribed 7-9 hours of shuteye every night and still find yourself tired all the time? That’s a conundrum, and more sleep isn’t necessarily the solution. Here are five possible causes:
1. Digital Screens
Electronic devices emit a light that stimulates the photoreceptors in our retinas. At night, this sends erroneous cues to the brain. Put simply, the glare off your smartphone or tablet is confusing your natural time clock by signaling to your brain that it’s still daylight, and therefore, you should stay awake. You can easily remedy this by shutting down any device with an electronic screen at least an hour before you plan to go to bed, and banning them from bedrooms and rest areas completely.
2. Your Liver
An under-functioning liver — especially one that is overwhelmed by poor food choices or excess alcohol — is a real drain on energy as it struggles to detoxify the damage we inflict on our unsuspecting bodies. To assist a stressed-out liver, try to avoid or at least moderate alcohol consumption and make healthy food choices. Get some beetroot, onion, broccoli, garlic and artichoke in your diet, as these are foods that promote the health of this vital organ.
3. Magnesium Deficiency
A lack of magnesium can very easily be mistaken for chronic fatigue. This vital mineral can become depleted when you suffer from stress or consume too much processed food, alcohol and caffeine, leaving you feeling tired all the time. To raise magnesium levels, try boosting your intake of green beans, corn on the cob, broccoli, tuna and brazil nuts, all of which are excellent whole-food sources.
It’s surprisingly easy to become mildly dehydrated, especially if you’re not drinking sufficient fluids throughout a busy day. Dehydration reduces blood volume, which in turn causes your heart to work harder. Guess what? That makes you feel tired. To avoid this, get into the habit of drinking more water throughout the day. Keep a bottle with you at all times and sip away.
5. An Erratic Schedule
Going to bed and getting up at different times each day can have a major effect on how tired you feel, even if you’re getting exactly the same amount of sleep. That’s why we often feel groggy after lying in on a Sunday morning, having been up at the crack of dawn during the week. It might not be possible depending on your work situation, but try to set your alarm for the same time every day, even at weekends. Look at it this way — you’ll be getting the most out of your time off!
Q: Are you tired all the time? Do any of the reasons above resonate with you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.