Hormonal fluctuations. Racing thoughts. A too-big meal. Worry. Excitement. Too hot/too cold/too much of everything.
Your list of reasons for not sleeping well is likely endless. But what if you’re finally getting the rest you need, yet still feel fatigued?
Like any good mystery, this one comes with ample clues. Here we try to solve the Case of the Forever Fatigued.
To figure out why, despite a good night’s rest, you still want to crawl under the covers and stay put, consider how your days are going, as in:
Is your sweet tooth on overtime? Sugar hides in plain sight in the obvious places, like candy and sodas, but it’s also found in refined carbs, like white bread, pasta, cereal and chips. Sugar reigns high, too, in yogurts, salad dressings and baked beans.
Your body is quick to absorb this type of simple sugar, which then causes a dip in blood sugar levels, followed by a feeling of sudden fatigue. Fight back by eating a balanced diet of unrefined carbohydrates and proteins, plus healthy fats and oils, veggies and whole grains.
Is your body on vacation? You may feel too tired to move simply because you’re not moving. Another way to say it: You’ll feel like a slug when you’re sluggish.
Studies support the fact that once you start moving around, the more you’ll feel like moving. We know, it’s been a long day and all you want to do is sit and decompress in front of the TV. No judgments here. But if you get off the couch every once in a while and do a few jumping jacks, leg raises and/or marches in place, you’ll feel energized. Of course, regular, low-intensity exercise is even better, increasing energy while decreasing fatigue, according to University of Georgia researchers.
Is your stress off the charts? Tell us one person who is not stressed right now, and we’ll call you a liar. Still, even so, we can’t ignore it.
Stress zaps your energy levels by putting us into the “fight-or-flight” mode, which in turn, activates all sorts of chemicals in your body to prime you for survival. But then…boom. You’re exhausted from all that effort.
Manage stress with some tried-and-true remedies like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai-chi or other exercises. A hot bath also works wonders (add some lavender for an extra dose of relaxation).
Set limits and not take on more than you can handle. (“No” is a complete sentence, after all.) And now that things are a bit more under control, go out and meet a good friend for coffee – but don’t drink too much: Caffeine can make you jittery, and add to your stress.
Is your chair in charge? It’s been called “the new smoking,” but sitting is also a big energy-zapper. When you sit for too long, your body starts to relax and “thinks” it’s going to sleep: Muscles weaken, lungs produce less oxygen, blood flow and metabolism slows.
What to do? Get up. It may sound obvious, and if you’re used to being sedentary, you may need a reminder or a timer. If you have a desk job (or sit and binge for hours on end on Netflix), get up every 30 minutes and move around (you might want to consider some leg lifts, bicep curls or crunches while you’re at it). #gentleexercisenag
Rather than sitting to put on your makeup or dry your hair, beautify while standing up. Pace back and forth while you’re talking on the phone, and trade in your desk chair or couch for a stability ball, which forces you to engage your legs and core.
Is your body dehydrated? Not drinking enough water puts stress on all your body’s major systems, leading to fatigue. And (another) perk of aging is that it’s easier to become dehydrated, due to a weakened thirst mechanism. But it’s not just age that might turn you off to water: Menopause could be also be causing more frequent urination (because your vagina and urethra loses some elasticity), making you afraid to drink too much.
Although there’s no hard truth to the eight-glasses-a-day rule, you’ll know you’re drinking enough when your urine has a light color to it. If water is not your thing, remember that coffee, tea and foods count, too (especially high in water content are apples, cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, lettuce, cantaloupe and peaches). Flavoring your water with fresh fruit (or cucumber slices) can make it a whole lot more palatable.
As Ellery Queen would say, “I know who did it. Do you?” Consider clues in your own mystery and we will too. Here’s to solving our own fatigue.
For a Pause
If water bottles could talk, they say things like, “let’s start!” “remember your goal!” and “almost there!” This one quietly guides you toward better hydration.
It’s not only your inner body that needs hydration, but it’s your outer body as well. Hands love Natura’s nourishing formula, enriched with yummy oils and butters, which have the most wonderful scent and feel.
If we’ve piqued your curiosity about the importance of water, here’s some info from the Mayo Clinic about why it’s so important for your body.
In case you need more convincing, here are 22 more ways from Self Magazine to get the water your body needs.
One More Thing
All 56 original Nancy Drews, ranked worst to best? Oh, them’s fighting words since I loved every single one of them!
Stay healthy and see you next week!
The Magical Mystery Tour
Is waiting to take you away.
— Magical Mystery Tour, Beatles