If you are one of those people who set 7 alarms on your phone but still hit the snooze button for each one every single morning, or you constantly feel like you have zero energy, here are 4 possible reasons as to why you feel so tired all the time. As well as tips for each one to help you feel more energised and awake (without the help of caffeine)!
1. You're having too much screen time before bed
I doubt there is a single person under the age of 25 now alive who doesn't use their smartphones before they sleep. Every student is guilty of this! Whether surfing the net, watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram, using your phones in bed is not helping your quality of sleep at all. Researchers from Harvard found that students read an e-book before going to sleep, they got significantly less REM (deep) sleep and felt up to 60% less alert the following morning.
Phones screens emit bright blue light so you can see what's on your screen even in the sunniest of days. But at night, your brain gets confused by that light. This causes the brain to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that gives your body the "time to sleep" cues. Because of this, smartphone light can disrupt your sleep cycle, making it harder to fall and stay asleep — and potentially causing serious health problems along the way.
If you have an iPhone, try setting the Night Shift mode to automatically switch on from 9pm onwards, or better still, try to stop using your phone for 45-60 minutes before you actually try and nod off. Read a book, listen to music, try meditation, as long as it's anything without a screen.
2. Your food choices suck
As much as I love my daily Starbucks' fix, MacD's and cake, obviously there comes a point where too much junk food is just too much. What you eat during the day can affect your sleep pattern at night, and your overall diet is a huge thing that affects how well you rest and how alert you'll feel in the day. Most people have cultivated the habit of having a caffeine fix first thing in the morning to jump start their system, but over the long run, your body becomes immune to the stimulant properties of caffeine.
Try eating a balanced breakfast every morning that includes one source of protein, such as a banana or eggs. Stay away from any sugar. Sure, that 10am chocolate muffin might sound good then but when you're struggling to keep your eyelids open by 1pm, it won't be so great. Your magnesium levels also play a key role in the regulation of sleep. If it's too low, you can feel anxious and exhausted. Try to keep those levels up by adding more leafy greens and nuts to your diet.
3. You're not getting enough of a workout
Studies have long concluded that people sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. It can be running, playing basketball, cycling or a quick yoga session; but by adding those 2+ hours of moderate to vigorous activity into your week, it's enough to provide a 65% improvement in your sleep quality!
Exercising in the early morning and afternoon can be especially beneficial as it helps reset the sleep-wake cycle by raising your body temperature slightly, then allowing it to drop and trigger sleepiness a few hours later. It can also be helpful if you are able to exercise outdoors to let your body absorb some natural sunlight which triggers the circadian rhythms (body clock) to reduce insomnia.
So the next time you're having trouble falling asleep, a quick run downstairs will do wonders instead of binge-watching Orange is the New Black on your phone screen.
4. Your sleep environment sucks
Is your bedroom too noisy, too bright, or not very comfortable? Your sleep environment can have a huge influence on your sleep quality. By pinpointing the things that may be causing stress or distraction, and eliminating them. You can set yourself up for the best possible sleep every night.
We’ve already mentioned that too much light from your phone screens at night can shift our internal body clock and make good sleep difficult to achieve. External lights such as bright lights outside your bedroom window can also be a contributing factor. Make sure that your bed doesn't face any direct lights, and if needed, an eye mask can help in blocking out any form of lights shining on your eyelids.
How hot or cold your room temperature is can also affect how well you snooze. There is no perfect temperature to produce optimal sleep patterns. People simply sleep best at the temperature that feels most comfortable. That said, REM (deep) sleep is commonly more sensitive to extreme temperatures so make sure that your blanket is neither too thin till you're feeling chilly, nor too thick till you're feeling stuffy.