Are you consistently exhausted — even when you’re getting enough sleep? If so, there might be a few not-so-obvious reasons you’re so sluggish. Lucky for you, there are also a few pretty easy fixes!
1. YOU’RE NOT WAKING UP EARLY ENOUGH.
Take your hand away from the snooze-button. While it may seem counter-intuitive, sleeping until the last possible second might actually be harming you more than helping you! “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy and wise” isn’t just a cute rhyme. You really do need to get up and take some time for yourself to de-stress before heading out for the day. Don’t believe us? A 2008 Harvard study showed that morning people better anticipate problems than night owls and are more proactive, which is linked to better job (and life) performance and success.
Complaining coworkers and whining pals can actually make you tired. “People you allow into your life not only have the power to affect you emotionally, but can also take a toll on you physically,” explains Vicky Vlachonis, osteopath and author of The Body Doesn’t Lie. “If people that are cynical and tend to complain surround you, they can be draining your energy.” So how do you fix it? Vlachonis suggests getting “rid of time-wasters and move forward with feelings of positivity and gratitude — feelings of happiness bring your body lots of energy!”
3. YOUR SEX LIFE IS A SNOOZE.
Most people complain about being too tired to have sex, but guess what? Intimacy can actually help you get a better night’s rest. This is because an orgasm releases prolactin, which is naturally higher when we sleep. And if a morning quickie is more your style, there’s good news: Highly active sex can actually make you feel more energized than sleepy. So maybe stick to a more subdued session at night — or get frisky when you wake up!
4. YOU’RE MAGNESIUM-DEFICIENT.
Yes, it sounds weird, but think of magnesium “as the relaxation mineral,” explains Dr. Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. Why? It helps improves how effective your sleep is, how long it takes you to fall asleep, and how long you’re out, according to the National Institutes of Health. To make sure you’re getting a healthy dose, Jaclyn London, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, suggests foods like nuts, seeds, beans, avocados, and leafy greens. (Note: Just remember that this magical mineral can sometimes have a laxative effect!)
5. YOU HATE YOUR JOB.
Let’s be honest: Waking up day in and day out for work already can take a toll, but that’s exacerbated when you hate what you do or are surrounded by challenging coworkers. If you’re always feeling sluggish, it may be that you need a change of office scenery. Need proof? Multiple studies have shown that people who hate their jobs have trouble falling asleep or sleeping deeply, mostly because of stress.
6. YOU’RE SKIPPING THE GYM.
If you’re in a slump, you may want to get moving. Regular physical activity can “reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It doesn’t take much: Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week can make you 65% less tired during the day!
7. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SUNLIGHT.
It’s all about the circadian rhythm. “When people are exposed to sunlight or very bright artificial light in the morning, their nocturnal melatonin production occurs sooner, and they enter into sleep more easily at night,” wrote M. Nathaniel Mead in an article in Environmental Health Perspectives. (This is also why you should shut off screens long before bed.) And while too much unprotected exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer, you should definitely aim to get an hour or two of sunlight each day. Bonus: Sunshine also offers a free dose of Vitamin D, which helps fight against diseases — and nothing brings your energy down like getting sick.
8. YOU’RE A BALL OF STRESS.
Everyone knows that anxiety isn’t good — especially because it causes ulcers, gray hair, and exhaustion. Stress is also the top cause of insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic. And it’s a vicious cycle: The lack of sleep leaves you more irritable and anxious, making problems loom larger and it more difficult to sleep the next night. So take some time for you to de-stress, and try to put problems in perspective.
9. YOU MAY HAVE AN AUTO-IMMUNE DISORDER.
Yes, they are known to cause fatigue and tiredness, the U.S. Department of Health of Human Services reveals. And since women are three times more likely than men to suffer from one, be sure to speak to your doctor if you’re always tired. There may be a much deeper health issue that you’re not paying attention to.
10. YOUR BEDROOM IS A DISASTER.
If it’s a mess of clothes, shoes, and piles of papers, you’re not doing yourself or the quality of your sleep any favors. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your bedroom should be clean, comfortable, and conducive to rest. So, burn some scented candles (lavender will do!), use some dim lights, tidy up, and create your own calming sanctuary. Your brain will thank you.
11. YOU EAT TOO MUCH PROCESSED FOOD.
We’re talking about high-carb foods like burgers and fries, white rice, pasta, and bread, which usually cause a not-so-fun energy crash. Instead, you want to load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein, “which can boost energy by giving you the vitamins and minerals — not to mention antioxidants! — you need,” says London. “And since fruits and veggies are mostly water, the hydration may help give you a boost as well.”