Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Why am I so tired?
Most of us struggle to spring out of bed in the morning - 3 out of 4 of us wake up exhausted and 60% of women feel tired all the time.
Obviously if you're not sleeping between 7 and 10 hours every night then a lack of sleep doesn't exactly help. But even factors like how you sleep and your bedclothes can make you feel tired too.
A study by Horlicks found that around 10 million people are so shattered in the morning that they struggle to get out of bed. So if you think you're getting enough sleep we've got 10 common reasons why you might still be tired.
1. Is your pillow comfortable enough?
Even if you go to bed early and think you're sleeping through until morning your pillow could be undoing all this good work.
The right pillow will support your neck and spine and prevent back pain.
An old or uncomfortable pillow means that you'll toss and turn all night which stops your body getting the rest it needs, making you feel tired.
Pillow test: Place the middle of the pillow over your arm, if the sides hang down it's time to buy a new one!
2. Do you wake up a lot in the night?
A lot of us wake up in the night so briefly that we can't remember doing it, making us think we've slept right through. But if you do this more than five times a night it can be equivalent of losing an hour's sleep!
Ask yourself, is my room too light? Does my partner snore? Am I worried about things? These can all make you wake up.
- If your room is too light get new curtains, a blackout blind or even an eye-mask.
- If your room is to cold or hot adjust your heating or put on extra layers.
- If your partner snores buy ear-plugs. or move to a different room if possible
- If you're worried about things, write them all down before you go to bed and deal with them in the morning.
- If you get up to go to the toilet a lot reduce how much you drink two hours before you go to bed.
3. Are you on medication?
There are a lot of tablets and pills that can make you drowsy. A lot of antihistamines in particular warn you not to operate heavy machinery
Many of us don't automatically link the two, even if it does say so in the side effects so if you're on medication this could be making you tired. Or it might be a mixture of tablets which on their own wouldn't affect you but together they might.
Have another look at the leaflets you get with tablets to check and if you're worried have a chat with your doctor who might be able to suggest a solution.
4. Do you drink a lot of coffee?
Loads of us will have a cup of tea or coffee to wake us up in the morning and help us function properly. It does help initially but as the day goes on the high that the coffee gave you will wear off.
This will leave you feeling drowsy and sleepy and on some occasions worse than you would if you'd not had the coffee in the first place. Caffeine never gets rid of your tiredness, it just masks it and it'll also stop you getting to sleep at night, so it's a vicious circle.
You might be tired for a few days if you've recently given up caffeine or chocolate too because your body will be craving it and not letting you sleep properly. Once it's out of your system though you'll sleep a lot better.
5. Do you drink enough water?
There are loads of health benefits of drinking more water and making you feel less tired is one of them.
It boosts your immune system and energy levels because your body uses it as fuel to do everyday things.
It prevents headaches and mood swings and helps you digest the food you eat. And it's particularly good for helping your body break down fibre. If fibre builds up inside you it can make you bloated, lethargic and feel 'heavy' - all of which make you sleepy.
If you up your fibre intake you have to drink more water for it to pass through your system properly.
6. Could there be an underlying health problem?
Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and going through the menopause can all make you feel tired, fed up and sluggish as well as messing up your sleep pattern.
People who have SAD need a lot of sunshine to boost their mood and energy levels, so much so that many buy light boxes to simulate sunshine during the winter. And if you suffer from depression or are struggling with the symptoms of the menopause there are natural ways you can boost your energy levels which will make you feel happier, more awake and help you cope with all that the menopause might throw at you!
There are other health problems which can make you tired like hypothyroidism, diabetes, high and low blood pressure and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you're worried talk to your doctor.