Do you often find yourself staying in bed all day? Does your body feel heavy and your mind… totally blank? Having low energy is not an uncommon problem, but it’s still a tough one. And dealing with this exhaustion…. ugh, it makes you feel tired even thinking about it. But, what could it be that makes you feel tired all the time? In this article, we hope to explain some common reasons why people often get tired. And in the end, we’ll talk about Psi and how he managed to get his tiredness under control! Let’s begin!
A tired mind
Often, fatigue may be a byproduct of a psychological problem, especially depression. Psychiatrist and sleep medicine expert Alex Dimitriu, , says that “fatigue and depression can look quite similar”. A 2018 study even estimated that over 90% of people living with depression have symptoms of fatigue! Dr. Amy Ricke said for Insider that this may happen because of brain chemistry. She says that dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine play important roles in regulating not only our mood, but also energy levels. So when you’re depressed, your body may feel heavy and slow, making it hard to do even the simplest tasks, such as showering or getting dressed. Check out this video to learn more about depression tiredness!
Anxiety is another psychological issue that could play a role in your fatigue. While you’re in the depths of anxiety, the racing heart and quickened breath might keep you awake. But after the worst is over, you’re hit with a post-anxiety crash. Micah Abraham, who has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, wrote for Calm Clinic that anxiety is like being on high alert, but once the adrenaline runs out, “your body goes through a crash that can leave you feeling drained”. You may also feel exhausted because of the tension in your muscles or racing thoughts that bothered you throughout the day.
Mental illnesses could definitely make you more tired. But, sometimes the problem may be a bit different. Let’s explore why your nutrition might be the reason why you’re so sleepy all the time.
What’s on your plate?
Do you know that feeling when you eat a delicious meal, and suddenly you feel so sleepy…. You just want to get under a warm blanket and take an afternoon nap! It’s awesome when it’s Sunday and you’re home, but what if you’re at work or school? And what if this tiredness persists the entire day? Well, the food you eat might be responsible for this grogginess. Especially – carbohydrates! According to Harvard School of Public Health, eating too many carbs makes your blood sugar spike creating a short term energy rush. Your body then releases insulin and causes the removal of carbs into your muscles and organs. Now, your blood sugar goes back down, leaving you lethargic and tired.
Sugary sweets may have a similar effect. In a study published in journal Appetite in 2016, people who ate a diet high in refined sugars had higher scores for depressive symptoms and fatigue, than those who ate a diet high in whole grains and low in sugar. Yes… we know that chocolate cake is the best, but science is clear on this one!
What you drink may play a role in your energy levels as well! Do you often reach for coffee when you’re tired? It seems logical to try and cure your tiredness with a large amount of coffee, but research shows it may not be the best idea. A 2016 study published in the journal Nutrition showed that drinking one cup too many is linked to “increased nighttime worrying, sleeplessness, increased nighttime awakenings, decreased total sleep time, and daytime sleepiness”.
Tips & Tricks To Feel Less Tired
You must be wondering: well, what do I do? How can I stop feeling tired all the time? To give you some tips and tricks, let’s see what Psi did when he had a similar problem!
He started with small steps in his diet. Dr. Amy Myers wrote on her webpage that nutrient-rich foods may provide an abundance of energy! That’s why Psi now makes sure to eat balanced and nutritious meals: high-quality protein, lots of veggies (especially greens such as spinach and broccoli), and low-sugar fruits, for example, strawberries or blackberries. Snack times are quite a challenge since he loooves eating chocolate… But, Dr. Myers says that an entire block of chocolate is not a good idea for a pick-me-up snack. He still eats chocolate, but only a small piece!
Next, Psi makes sure to drink enough water throughout the day and he doesn’t skip exercise anymore! He read a 2013 research study published in the journal Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health and Behavior, and learned that even 20 minutes of low to moderate-intensity exercise can reduce fatigue and increase energy. He often puts on fun YouTube exercise videos to help him get going!
Sometimes it gets hard for Psi to get up in the morning. But, he read a quote from sleep specialist Rebecca Scott on Thrillist.com where she says that “about 10 to 15 minutes of natural light within two hours of waking up will help ward off early-morning grogginess and keep you feeling more awake throughout the day.” He now takes quick 15 minute walks around the block, everyday!
Psi now knows that it’s not enough to only keep the body energized. He takes care of his mental energy too! On Forbes.com, he read some suggestions from Dr. Alice Boyes. Now he tries his best not to ruminate and overthink, and stay organized to avoid procrastination. He also takes frequent breaks during work, and has even tried meditation! After trying out all those things, he really does feel more energized and happy. Hopefully, you’ll join him on his journey too!
Following these steps might help you feel more energized, but there’s so many other things that could be emptying your batteries. To make sure you’ve covered all the possible reasons to feeling tired, not just physically but emotionally as well, check out 8 Things That Lead To Emotional Exhaustion.
Breymeyer, K. L., Lampe, J. W., McGregor, B. A., & Neuhouser, M. L. (2016). Subjective mood and energy levels of healthy weight and overweight/obese healthy adults on high-and low-glycemic load experimental diets. Appetite, 107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.08.008
Burry, M. (2020, April 13). Why depression makes you tired and how to deal with fatigue. Insider. https://www.insider.com/guides/health/mental-health/why-does-depression-make-you-tired
Chaudhary, N. S., Grandner, M. A., Jackson, N. J., & Chakravorty, S. (2016). Caffeine consumption, insomnia, and sleep duration: Results from a nationally representative sample. Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.), 32(11–12). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2016.04.005
Ghanean, Ceniti, & Kennedy. (2018). Fatigue in patients with major depressive disorder: Prevalence, burden and pharmacological approaches to management. CNS Drugs, 32(1), 65–74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40263-018-0490-z
Loy, B. D., O’Connor, P. J., & Dishman, R. K. (2013). The effect of a single bout of exercise on energy and fatigue states: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Fatigue: Biomedicine, Health & Behavior, 1(4), 223–242. https://doi.org/10.1080/21641846.2013.843266
MD, A. M. (2018, September 5). 6 tips to stay energized and focused all day long. Amy Myers MD. https://www.amymyersmd.com/article/stay-energized/
Nazish, N. (2018, September 25). How to overcome mental fatigue, according to an expert. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2018/09/25/how-to-overcome-mental-fatigue-according-to-an-expert/?sh=29723f1e1644
Rotondo, C. (2017, January 20). Easy ways to stay energized from dawn ’til dusk. Thrillist. https://www.thrillist.com/health/nation/easy-ways-to-stay-energized-from-morning-to-night