Surprising energy zappers making you feel tired

If the feeling of tiredness or exhaustion is beginning to affect your daily activities despite getting to bed on time, there could be several things suppressing your energy.  First, if the feeling of fatigue has lasted longer than month, check with your physician to rule out any specific health issue that could be going on.

163809137

Your physician may want to do a test for sleep apnea but also excessive tiredness could be a symptom of depression or an underlying disease condition.  If sleep issues, depression or any other health concerns have been found to be negative and you are still drained of energy, then you need to consider other factors causing you to lose your vim and vigor.

Here is a rundown of common reasons that may be zapping your spirit and vitality:

·      Rethink that drink

Have you ever felt sluggish the day after drinking cocktails, wine or beer?  Or maybe you’ve been using alcohol to help you fall and to stay asleep and yet find that the quality of sleep is not as good. Try reducing the amount of alcohol consumed.  Instead choose a healthier beverage such as herbal tea, sparkling water or kombucha.  It’ll be worth it when your energy levels are boosted the next day.

·      Too much or too little exercise

Going all out on exercise can backfire by making you feel exhausted.  Exercise is good for us but when you hit it extra-hard, you may need to schedule in a break.  If it is hard for you to scale back, try to instead keep it low-key by taking a leisurely walk, doing stretching or light yoga to still get in an adequate workout.

On the other hand, sitting around avoiding exercise can also make us feel lethargic and unenergetic.  Maybe a challenging workout is out of the question but at the very least, even just a brisk 10-minute walk, doing jumping jacks or jumping rope can boost blood flow bringing oxygen to our muscles and brain.

·      You have mild dehydration

You’d be surprised at how just mild dehydration can sabotage energy levels leading to difficulty in concentrating.  Do not rely on thirst to know when to get a drink of water as feeling thirsty means we are already slightly dehydrated.  Keep a calorie-free beverage near you at all times in addition to boosting hydration by snacking on water-rich fruits and vegetables.  Also your urine should look almost clear.

·      Too much sugar

Sugary foods such as cookies, cake and doughnuts but also less commonly associated sugary foods like lowfat flavored yogurt to raisin bran with milk and a banana, can cause strong spikes in blood sugar.  Several hours later our blood sugar goes into free fall plummeting leaving us feeling drained of energy.  Choose instead lower-carb, higher-protein foods for meals and snacks such as nuts, veggies with hummus, or peanut butter with apple slices.

·      Stress

Stress makes our adrenal glands pump out stress hormones of cortisol and adrenaline.  These hormones can stay elevated for hours as they surge again and again with each stressful situation. 

This chronic, perpetual state of elevated stress hormones can cause an increase in abdominal fat making it harder to lose extra body fat despite eating a healthy diet and engaging in a regular exercise routine.

The solution is to learn to manage stress more effectively which is always easier said than done.   But if you want to gain back your energy levels, it is very important to find ways to help reduce the stress hormones affecting them. 

·      Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism

It is estimated that up to 10 percent of all adults and 20 percent of people older than 60 have subclinical hypothyroidism.  Symptoms are often subtle but one common one is sluggishness. An underactive thyroid can affect the entire body which includes fatigue, high cholesterol, slow heart rate and difficulty losing extra weight. 

Anyone who suspects hypothyroidism might be a clue to feeling drained, ask your doctor to do a blood test to measure levels of thyroid hormones including TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), free T4, free T3 and thyroid antibodies.

·      Medications

There are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can cause fatigue and reduced alertness.  Read medication labels, follow the dosage prescribed and be aware of potential side effects and always discuss with a doctor on what to be aware of when taking any medication

Common medications that may result in feeling overly tired or a feeling of drowsiness include the following:

·      Antihistamines such as Benadryl

·      Multi-symptom cold and flu relief

·      Opioids – hydrocodone or oxycodone

·      Benzodiazepines for anxiety and panic disorder – Xanax, Ativan, Valium or Klonopin

·      Beta blockers

·      Antidepressants