Monday, February 21, 2011

7 Avoidable Reasons You’re Waking Up Tired


If you’re getting the recommended seven to 10 hours of sleep, yet still can’t shake a lethargic feeling, your fatigue may have little to do with the amount of z’s you’re catching. Health conditions and factors in your waking life could be contributing to your general malaise. Before hitting the snooze button yet again, check out the following 10 potential reasons you’re waking up tired and learn how to restore your spark.

1.    You’re anemic.
 While there are several types of anemia, a condition that relates to abnormally low levels of red blood cells and hemoglobin, which prevent adequate oxygen from traveling throughout your body, the common symptom is often loss of energy and chronic tiredness. If you find yourself easily fatigued, you could have deficiencies in your blood. A blood test can determine if you are anemic and the condition can often be managed by taking supplements as suggested by your doctor.

2.    Your sleep schedule is inconsistent.
It may feel good to sleep in on the weekends, but if you go to sleep and wake up at different times throughout the week, you’re disrupting your circadian rhythms that are crucial regulators of your sleep cycle. Consistency is key in maintaining energy so sleep specialists suggest going to sleep and waking up within an hour of the same time each day.

3.    You’re bored.
Lack of stimulation can wreak havoc on your energy levels. If you find yourself bored with your job, consider taking on a new, exciting project. You’ll find that an active mind can do wonders for your energy.

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4.    You’re not getting enough sunlight.
Sunlight sends the signal to your brain to release serotonin, a naturally occurring feel-good chemical that makes you feel happier and more alert. Unfortunately, desk jobs and the use of unnatural light can mess with our circadian rhythms and the regulation of crucial alertness chemicals in our bodies. According to WebMD, spending at least 20 minutes outside can make you feel instantly more energized throughout the day and increase the quality of your sleep that night.

5.    You’re drinking too much caffeine.

It’s hard to break the cycle of over-indulging in caffeine when you lack energy, but whether or not you’re completely aware, caffeine can have negative effects on the quality of your sleep, which in turn can have you reaching for another cup of coffee. Break the vicious cycle by abstaining from coffee within six hours of your bedtime to ensure it does not affect your ability to reach and stay in REM sleep, the most restorative part of your night.  

6.    You’re stressed out.

Stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, initially rev you up, but if your inner alarm system is constantly on, it’s bound to wear you out. Chronic stress ultimately saps your body of energy and reduces your ability to cope with real or perceived stressors or dangers. If you find yourself anxious much of the time, consider meditation, yoga, or exercise to quiet your mind. Not only will your sleep improve, but you’ll literally free up your brain to focus on supplying your body with the energy it needs.

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7.    You’re not getting enough exercise.
Research indicates that regular exercise can increase energy levels in the long run. According to Patrick O’Connor PhD and co-director of the University of Georgia exercise psychology laboratory, 90% of exercise and energy-level studies showed that sedentary people who began exercising reported improved fatigue. Next time you’re tempted to take a 20-minute nap, opt for mild-to-moderate exercise instead.


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