That post-lunch slump always getting you down? Little changes in your daily routine can help put more pep in your step.
Here are possible reasons as to why you’re always tired:
1. Your diet could use a tweak
The combo of protein, healthy fat and fiber provides lasting energy. So if you’re not getting enough of these important nutrients throughout your day, your food may be zooming through you.
2. You’re a glass half-empty kind of person
“Pessimism is by definition exhausting,” says Michelle Gielan, author of Broadcasting Happiness and founder of the Institute of Applied Positive Research. “Pessimists don’t believe their behaviour matters in the face of challenges, and that is a debilitating thought that can leave us stuck and unmotivated to take positive action.”
On the other hand, optimists expect positive things to happen in the face of setbacks and believe that taking action is necessary to success.
“Just knowing there is potential for good things to happen fuels productive energy,” says Gielan.
3. You’re low on steps
Ever felt completely wiped, then ran a few kilometres or powered through a spin class and felt ready to conquer the world? Research shows there’s something to this energy amp-up: When fatigued college students ran at a low intensity three times a week for six weeks, they felt less tired after six weeks, versus volunteers not instructed to exercise, found research in PLoS One.
4. You’re coming down from a sugar rush
Sugar equals energy, right? Nope. The sugar in a handful of jelly beans or a soda can cause a fast drop in blood sugar, taking a toll on your body and causing feelings of tiredness.
The fix: Aim to limit added sugars. Watch out for sugar synonyms on ingredient lists. When you’re baking, swap in a pinch or more of vanilla bean to reduce the sugar content in a recipe by up to 25 per cent.
5. You’re dehydrated
The slightest water loss can lead to fatigue, especially during exercise. Dehydration can also affect concentration and alertness: In a study in Physiology & Behavior, people who were mildly dehydrated and completed a two-hour simulated drive had significantly more driving errors, versus subjects who chugged enough water.
6. You’re deprived of quality sleep
Most people require 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night—and quality may be just as important as quantity. “Muscles rest and repair during the night, and the sleeping brain conducts multiple restorative functions during sleep such as calorie savings and removal of toxic waste from the brain,” says Zlatan Krizan, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University.
The fix: Set a regular bedtime, and conduct pre-sleep rituals to feel relaxed and ready to sleep. When you go to bed, make your sleep environment as noise-free and dark as possible. Don’t keep your phone nearby and close the blinds.
7. Your allergies are on overdrive
Allergies cause inflammation in the body, which leads to sleepiness and all of those other rather symptoms like chronic sniffles.
The fix: Of course, it’s impossible to avoid allergens like dust mites and pollen—so consider taking a herbal allergy medication that will heal you naturally over time.
8. You need more iron
Feeling exhausted is often a sign of iron deficiency. The mineral helps red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body—and when that isn’t happening efficiently, fatigue may set in. Women with heavy periods are particularly at risk for being low in iron.
The fix: Look to lean red meat and shellfish for animal-based iron, which your body best absorbs. Beans, leafy greens, and fortified cereal also offer iron, but pair these with foods rich in vitamin C (such as oranges) to increase absorption.
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