Do you find you’re often tired and lack energy? There are lots of things that can contribute to fatigue and low energy, and you may not even realize that some common habits and practices can make you tired. Here are 10 things that sap your energy and make you tired all the time. Some of them may surprise you!
Top 10 Things That Sap Your Energy and Make You Tired
- Using your smartphone before bed. We recently wrote about two studies that found that people who use smartphones after 9:00 PM have more trouble sleeping and feel “more tired and less engaged” at work the next day. The mental engagement prevents you from winding down and getting to sleep, while the “blue light” of the screen disrupts melatonin production.
- Mild dehydration. Even slight dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume that makes the blood thicker and more difficult to pump. That can slow blood flow to your brain and body and make you tired. So how much water is the right amount? Many dietitians suggest taking your weight in pounds, cutting it in half and drinking that number of ounces per day. (Example: if you weigh 100 pounds, drink 50 ounces of water a day.)
- The clutter on your desk. A study from Princeton recently found that a cluttered workspace not only negatively impacts productivity, but also causes you to expend mental energy and focus while increasing stress and exhaustion.
- Your evening nightcap. While we may feel that drinking alcohol before bed has a relaxing effect, it can actually disrupt sleep. That’s because as the alcohol metabolizes in your system, it can cause an adrenaline surge that can wake you up. To avoid this, experts recommend cutting off alcohol intake 3-4 hours before bed.
- The setting on your thermostat. The ideal ambient temperature for sleep is actually colder than you think – between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re sleeping in a room that’s too warm, your sleep may be disrupted, which may leave you feeling groggier in the morning.
- An inconsistent bedtime routine. Studies cited by sleep expert Dr. James Maas have found that even among 2 groups of people who get the same amount of sleep, those who go to bed and wake at roughly the same times each day are “significantly more alert” than those who go to bed at vastly different times each day.
- Too much fat in your diet. A study from 2009 found that of 15 nutrients tracked, fat intake had the highest correlation to more sleep; in the study, the more fat a woman ate, the more trouble she had sleeping.
- The wrong kind of vacation. Austrian scientist Dr. Gerhard Blasche has widely studied the effects of vacations on exhaustion and energy and found that certain kinds of vacations can actually make you more tired instead of helping you relax. Generally speaking, he has found that a vacation that is warmer and involves more free time for one’s self, exercise, and sleep ultimately has a recuperative effect, while colder vacations with a greater time-zone difference to home can actually make you more tired than you were before you left.
- Lack of iron. Iron helps carry oxygen to the brain and cells, so an iron deficiency can leave you feeling tired and weak. Try pairing iron-rich foods with foods high in vitamin C–which improves iron absorption. Examples of foods high in iron are beef, dark green vegetables, and tofu.
- Skipping exercise. Skipping exercise when you’re tired is a vicious cycle: the more tired you feel, the more likely you are to skip exercise, which makes you feel more tired. Regular exercise pumps oxygen and nutrients to your body and brain tissues, and even a light exercise session like taking a walk has been found to increase energy and focus.