Health and Lifestyle for the over 50s

Reasons You’re Always Tired

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Health and Wellbeing /

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Do you find yourself frequently feeling sluggish and lacking in energy? Your constant tiredness might be caused by more than just lack of sleep. There are a number of bad habits that can slow you down and leave you feeling unnecessarily drained.

Dehydration
Not drinking enough water can cause a number of problems, fatigue being one of them. Your body needs plenty of water to pump oxygen and nutrients around your body efficiently, and even slight dehydration can slow this process a little. You should always be getting plenty of fluids throughout the day. Remember, you need to drink more when engaging in higher levels of physical activity and when the weather is particularly hot.

Not Getting Enough Exercise
Not getting enough exercise can leave you feeling lethargic, and that sluggish feeling can encourage you to skip more exercise because you don’t feel you have the energy for it. It’s a vicious cycle, fuelled by the incorrect idea that exercising will make you more tired. Physical activity actually boosts your energy levels. Regular exercise helps make your cardiovascular system run more efficiently, improving your strength and endurance, and making you generally feel more energetic.

Skipping Breakfast
If you’re not eating breakfast, you’re immediately setting yourself up for a day of tiredness. When you wake up in the morning, you need food to refuel your body after all the hours you’ve spent asleep consuming nothing. Wholegrains and fruit are particularly good for kick-starting your metabolism, making oatmeal and fruit smoothies great options to reach for in the morning.

Not Getting Enough Iron
Iron is an essential mineral which helps to transport oxygen through the body. Not consuming enough will leave you feeling sluggish, weak, irritable and lacking in concentration. Make sure your diet includes some iron-rich foods, such as lean meat, liver, beans, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables and enriched cereals.

Eating Too Much Junk Food
Foods loaded with sugar and simple carbohydrates cause blood sugar spikes followed by sharp drops which are sure to cause fatigue. Avoid unhealthy processed foods and excessive amounts of sugary snacks to keep blood glucose levels more steady. Steady blood sugar levels will do a much better job of keeping you active over the course of the day.

Relying On Caffeine
While many get their morning energy boost from a cup of coffee, it’s best not to rely on caffeine to keep you going throughout the whole day. Because caffeine blocks adenosine (the by-product of active cells that drives you to sleep as it accumulates), having too much will seriously disrupt your sleep cycle. Studies have shown that consuming caffeine even six hours before bedtime can negatively impact the amount and quality of sleep you get, so you should ideally cut yourself off by mid-afternoon.

Drinking Alcohol Before Bed
Many people enjoy a glass of wine or two in the evening. While this may seem like a good way to unwind, it actually has a negative impact on your quality of sleep. Alcohol initially depresses the central nervous system, but then creates an abrupt surge in adrenaline as it is metabolised. This can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, sabotaging your sleep maintenance. Dr Allen Towfigh, a neurology and sleep medicine specialist, recommends you stop drinking alcohol three to four hours before going to bed.

Working Too Hard
Challenging yourself can be a good thing, but it’s important to know your limits and not push yourself to work too hard. Frequently working much harder and longer than is necessary will decrease your energy levels over time, eventually leaving you drained and exhausted. Try to maintain a healthy work-life balance, limit the number of projects you take on to a manageable amount, and know when you need to take a little time off for yourself.

There are many possible causes of overtiredness, but the good news is that they are most often under your control. Swapping a few bad habits for good ones will put the spring back in your step and make getting through the day less of a chore.

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Posted by The Best of Health

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