The quick answer to why you’re tired is that you don’t get enough sleep. That’s sometimes not the case, however; some habits and routine circumstances can lead to fatigue and sluggishness even if you’re sleeping the required 7-9 hours a night.
Others disrupt your sleep without you being aware of them. Knowing these and taking positive steps to mitigate their effects will help you get the most from your sleep and allow you feel more alert and be more active.
1. Alcohol Before Bed
Drinking alcohol within four hours of bedtime can disrupt your sleep. After imbibing a glass of wine, you may feel tired and go to sleep but chances are you’ll wake up a few hours later due to the energy and chemicals released to metabolize the alcohol (which is mostly sugar). Not to mention the fact that alcohol also disrupts the natural release of melatonin (sleeping hormone).
Up to three cups of coffee a day is good for you but any caffeine within six hours of bedtime is a bad idea because it can interfere with sleep. Energy regulators called adenosine are responsible for telling your body you’re becoming tired–caffeine works by blocking adenosine. That’s great at noon but not so great at midnight. Caffeine is found in more than just coffee and tea; sodas, candies, energy and sports drinks, and other foods can contain this stimulant.
3. Drinking Enough Water
We lose water just by breathing. If you move at all–even to bat an eyelash–water is conducting the signals to make it happen. It gets used constantly. If you don’t drink enough (excluding soft drinks, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages), your brain cells shrink and make it harder to think or perform even the simplest task. Dehydration slows enzyme activity, which drives every metabolic function. The result is fatigue.
How much water you should drink depends on your age, weight, activity level, and environmental temperature. A hydration calculator can help you target the right amount for you. A rule of thumb is two liters (about half a gallon) per day.
4. Email Before Bed
Many of us are very attached to electronic devices that connect us with the rest of the world. There are two main issues around using these that relate directly to feeling tired:
1) if you watch television or check your email/social media/weather, etc. right before bed, there is a tendency to get caught up in it, losing track of time–and sleep;
2) the radiant light is a strain on the eyes and causes fatigue at any time of day.
Additionally, staring at the light can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone that tells your body to go to sleep, messing up your circadian rhythm. Turn off any electric appliances at least an hour before hitting the hay.