Like practically everyone on the planet, I find myself feeling tired more than I’d like.
Despite self-scoring an ‘A’ in sleep hygiene (all about that memory-foam pillow life), lately I find myself dozing off at work, on the bus and by page two of any/all/every bedtime read.
But ofc, fighting the fatigue fight is impossible without first knowing what’s up. While classic culprits like late-night Netflix binges are easy to nix (or, at least, kinda..?), there’s a bunch of other reasons why you could be Zombieland-ing through life that take a little time to a) pinpoint and b) deal with.
Some of them include: hormone-related drowsiness; nutrient-deficient tiredness; fatigue from stress/anxiety/depression; shitty tech habits; auto-immune disease/virus.
If your tiredness begins to feel exhausting you should always visit your doctor—there may be something more serious at play (hopefully not tho). Your doctor will at least be able to talk through the different types of fatigue and check out any red flags.
In the meantime, we’ve listed seven ways to help kill your eternal state of sleepiness and get that Wide Awake Energy.
If you’re not downing your eight glasses each day, then you could be dehydrated. And dehydration = bad news for energy levels.
Water is essential for carrying nutrients to your body’s cells (hiiii energy) and taking away waste products. While cutting caffeine completely is the dream, it’s also unrealistic for some (it me!). Instead, limit caffeinated drinks, try to cut them post 3pm and make it a daily goal to hit your water quota.
Need more motivation? Studies show that increasing water intake in people who don’t usually drink enough water has beneficial effects on energy. Chug it.
We know that getting physical on the reg is a mood-booster but it has also been proven to elevate energy levels. One study took 36 sedentary young adults and monitored their energy levels over a six week period through which they were introduced to either low-intensity or moderate-intensity exercise. Both groups saw a spike in energy levels.
Get moving for at least two hours each week. Start by finding your workout MO—it’s not all F45. We mean, no judgement if it is… but kinda a bit.
Try a group dance class, dog walking which doubles as an extra source of ca$h, or rock climbing (Brie Larson and Zac Efron say yes).
PREP FOR YOUR PERIOD
Hormones can impact our energy levels big time and affect people who get periods in different ways. While some folks feel sluggish during their period, others (read: the chosen ones) can experience higher energy levels during this time.
Hormonal fluctuations and their effects on the body are still trying to be fully understood (still no answer to your monthly migraine tho, soz). But according to Gabrielle Lichterman, founder of Hormonology, the 28-day cycle of rising and falling hormone levels greatly impacts on our moods.
How? In short:
Week one (first day of period):
Oestrogen levels are at their lowest at the beginning of the week and can leave you feeling fatigued. Your energy will increase as these begin to climb.
Week two (day eight to day 14):
You should expect a lift in mood and energy as oestrogen levels continue to rise and peak.
Week three (day 15 to 24 – ovulation):
Oestrogen levels plunge at the beginning of the week causing you to feel tired and irritable. They then rise again (yay) helping to level things out. Your levels of progesterone (a sedating hormone) also increase during this week, slowing you down.
Week four (final six days of cycle):
Oestrogen drops throughout your premenstrual week, possibly resulting in the potential of low moods.
While everyone is different, keeping track of where you’re at, menstrually speaking, can help you know what to expect and how to best prep.
CHECK ON YOUR THYROID
Your thyroid gland (located underneath your voice box) produces hormones that influence what takes place in almost every organ of your body.
Thyroid dysfunction is usually caused by underactivity (hypothyroidism) or overactivity (hyperthyroidism) of hormone production. The former, hypothyroidism, is tied up with symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, joint paint, lack of focus/concentration and a slow pulse.
It’s probably worth asking your doctor for a thyroid check-up. Hypothyroidism is more common in women than men (10x more common) and can easily go undiagnosed. Your doctor should be able to help you with a treatment plan and get you getting that energy again.
If you’re constantly feeling sleepy, consider your gut health. (Don’t scroll away yet pls.)
Results found that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (a disorder where feelings of tiredness never go away) have a different gut bacteria profile than people who don’t suffer from the illness.
Researchers recently looked at human waste samples and found that they could identify more than 80 per cent of people with CFS based on their stools alone all because of bacteria.
Not only did the results help to prove that CFS is real (duh), it also sheds light on the foods we should be avoiding/loading up on.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But really.
We all know the how-tos of sleep wellness (no Insta scrolling or TikTok allowed) but thanks to science, there’s a bunch of proven methods you can actually try, scepticism-free.
Firstly, what defines a good night’s sleep? According to science/this study by the Sleep Health Journal:
- You take half an hour or less to fall asleep
- You wake up no more than once per night.
- If you do wake up in the middle of the night, you fall back asleep within 20 minutes.
- You’re asleep for at least 85 per cent of the time you spend in bed.
Not ticking many? Why not try some or all of the below:
- Get serious about your comfort: invest in a quality pillow and mattress, and change-up your sleeping position to see if you notice any improvements.
- Go to bed and get up the same time every night for two weeks (it will help your body form ~habits)
- Keep your phone on the other side of the room. It will make you physically get out of bed when your alarm blasts/beautifully chimes.
- Read or meditate before you get into bed to help your body relax.
- Shut-off any blue screen activity at least 30 mins before bed.
Time 2 get those zzzzzs.