Almost everyone feels sleep deprived at one time or another. It’s not surprising considering the hectic pace of most adults these days. Demands of work, family, and activities can be a real drain on our energy stores. If, however, you find you are consistently tired, regardless of the number of hours you sleep each night, it may be time to investigate a little further.
Here are a few common reasons for exhaustion that you may be overlooking:
- Unhealthy Diet. Many people find themselves running from work to daycare to soccer practice, with only minutes to grab dinner. The same goes for the early morning rush when a cup of coffee and a muffin fills the gap. Skipping meals and eating on the run leads to blood sugar imbalances that have you feeling energy ‘crashes’ during the day and sleep interruptions at night. In the long run, these unhealthy eating patterns can also cause nutrient deficiencies that further impede your body functioning optimally. If you are constantly tired, evaluate your eating frequency and style. Consider picking a day on the weekend to prepare healthy meals and snacks that can be used throughout the week to avoid that last minute skip or scramble.
- Lack of Sleep. There is very little respect for sleep in our culture. Many people believe they should be able to survive on less sleep than their body needs. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night. If you are having trouble falling asleep, wake frequently, or wake feeling unrested despite being ‘asleep’ for long enough, you should check in with your health care practitioner as there are often simple solutions to correct your sleep and prevent the long term effects of sleep deprivation.
- Today stress has become more about the amount of things we need to juggle daily than difficult or traumatic experiences. High levels of daily stress interferes with our digestion, increases our blood sugar, increases inflammation, interferes with sleep, decrease our enjoyment of life, and imbalances our hormones. Long term stress can leave us with a fatigue that is deeper than a need to catch up on sleep. If this rings a bell for you, you should address these issues immediately. There are healthy ways to cope with stress that can help you feel like yourself again.
- Iron Deficiency. We often think of iron deficiency as an issue that exists for young women, but anyone can suffer from this condition. Low iron levels can cause many symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath, restless legs, anxiety, and hair loss. This problem can be treated over time with excellent results.
- Digestive Tract Issues. Most people would never connect their digestive tracts to their sleep but there are many ways that digestion affects sleep. If you are experiencing digestive symptoms, you may not be absorbing the nutrition needed for quality sleep, inflammation levels in your body could be interfering with staying asleep, and imbalances of your probiotics means you may not be making the neurotransmitters to put you to sleep.
If you are experiencing unusual fatigue, speak to your health care team to determine the underlying causes and get relief from your symptoms.