Feeling tired is not only caused by lack of sleep

Sometimes you might feel lifeless and tired, even if you got enough sleep. There may be something else going on, because a lack of sleep is not the only thing that can make you feel tired.  Small things you do (or don’t do) can also leave you feeling physically and mentally exhausted. The habits below might explain why you always feel so tired. These 12 habits can zap your energy.

1. You skip exercise

Skipping the gym to save energy is actually counterproductive. Regular exercise increases your metabolism and endurance and feeds your system with oxygen and nutrients. This makes you feel more energetic! So next time, get off the couch for that workout or a brisk walk—you won’t regret it.

2. You drink little water

Even if you only lose 2 percent of the fluid in your body, that alone can have an effect on your energy level. Not drinking enough water reduces your blood volume and makes your blood thicker. This causes your heart to circulate your blood less efficiently and prevents the oxygen and nutrients in your blood from reaching your muscles and organs like they should. This will definitely make you feel tired.

3. You have an iron deficiency

Iron deficiency makes you feel sluggish, weak, tired, irritable and unable to concentrate properly. This is because less oxygen is transported to the muscles and cells. Being deficient in iron also puts you at risk of anemia, so it is important to get plenty of iron. You can boost your iron content by eating more lean beef, beans, tofu, eggs, nuts, and peanut butter.

4. You are too much of a perfectionist

Here’s what Irene Levine, professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, says about perfectionism: “Striving for perfection is of course impossible, because then you have to work much harder and longer than necessary. You set goals that are difficult or impossible to achieve, so there is no sense of satisfaction in the end.” Levine, therefore, recommends setting a time limit for everything you start with and respecting that limit. After a while, you will see that the extra time you took before did not necessarily improve your work.

5. You suffer from irrational fears

Are you afraid that you will get in an accident when you get on your bike, or do you automatically assume that you will be fired when your boss unexpectedly calls you to his office? Watch out—fear can mentally paralyze and exhaust you. When you have such thoughts, take a deep breath and ask yourself how likely it is that what you fear will actually happen. Another thing that can help is to talk to a friend about your fears.

6. You skip your breakfast

During sleep, your body burns the food you ate before bed. For your body to continue functioning normally, it is very important to take in new energy in the morning. Normal functioning, then, could prevent you from getting tired. Moreover, eating breakfast activates your metabolism.

7. You live on fast food

Foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. These sugar highs, interspersed with sharp drops, can cause fatigue throughout the day. Therefore, keep your blood sugar level stable with the right food. Good choices include brown rice, salmon, sweet potatoes and chicken.

8. You have trouble saying “no”

Always being busy pleasing other people can be at the expense of your own energy and happiness. It can also leave you feeling exhausted and angry. So remember, you don’t always have to say “yes” when someone asks you to do something. “Train yourself to say ‘no’ out loud,” advises psychologist Susan Alberts. “Practice it when you are alone in the car. If you hear yourself saying it, it’s easier to apply it next time.”

9. Your desk is messy

You can easily become mentally exhausted by a messy desk. Why? It keeps you from focusing on and processing information. Therefore, make sure you clear your desk at the end of the day. Clearing your desk means you’re also clearing your head, guaranteeing a positive start the next day!

10. You continue working during your weekend or holiday

Checking your e-mail when you should actually be relaxing, or working until late in the evening, increases the risk of burnout. It is important to give yourself moments of peace. This keeps both your body and mind young, and you’ll be more likely to return to work in a fresher and more productive way.

11. You drink too much alcohol before bed

Drinking a glass of alcohol before bedtime may sound like a good way to relax and fall asleep quickly, but nothing could be further from the truth. Alcohol affects the central nervous system and keeps you from sleeping. You are also more likely to wake up in the middle of the night when you have had a few drinks the night before.

12. You use your phone right before bed

The bright light from your phone or tablet suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep. Sensitivity to digital devices varies from person to person, but, in general, it is good not to use technology one to two hours before bedtime. Banish that smartphone from your bedroom! (Or, at least, keep it away from your bed.)


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