This past Sunday, we set the clocks back all around the country, providing an extra hour of much-needed sleep and some extra time to revel in the coziness of Sunday morning relaxation. Setting the clocks back generally feels marvelous on the day of. But as the week goes on, that change can mess with your sleeping patterns and daily routine, particularly because it gets darker one hour earlier each night.
If you’re having trouble sleeping this week, it may have something to do with your body adjusting to the seasonal change. However, if you find you’ve been extra tired for quite a while, don’t just attribute it to the time change – there might be other factors at play.
There are many reasons for daily sleepiness – not getting enough sleep, of course, is the primary target. But other, non-sleep-related factors can also get in the way of your daily vivacity and liveliness… and some are pretty simple to combat. So what other factors might be contributing to that “I-literally-can’t-keep-my-eyes-open” attitude?
- You’re dehydrated. Water makes up the majority of our blood and bodies. Even a little dehydration can cause the blood to thicken slightly, making the heart pump harder and causing your body to feel overtired. Drinking 8 glasses of water per day is the general rule of thumb, but every body is different. On top of your H2O intake, eat plenty of fruits and veggies – they’re filled with the stuff.
- Your sleep schedule is all over the place. Staying energized during the day means keeping up with a consistent sleep schedule – that means getting up around the same time every day (within 1-2 hours at least), even on the weekends. If you don’t have a 9-5 job, you might wake up at different times daily, which doesn’t allow your body to get into a routine. Set an approximate bed time, follow a ritual each night that cues your body to enter sleep mode (read a book, listen to calming music), and set your alarm for around the same time each day. It will help – we promise.
- You don’t shut off your screens. As you may know, our phones and computers emit blue light that set off a signal in our brains that it’s time to wake up. When you’re on one of your devices right before bed, it can be difficult for your brain to settle into sleep mode. Turn off devices one hour before bed and entertain yourself with a magazine or book as you get ready to snooze.
- You’re stressed. When we’re stressed (whether because of work, family, friends, or even the holidays), our body undergoes a fight-or-flight response, activating our brains to defend and stay active rather than settling down to relax. Stress can make it extra hard to fall asleep at night, leading to fatigue the next day, and can also tire your body out as the day goes on. If you’re feeling stressed, talk it out with someone close to you or dedicate some time to doing those activities that relax you.
- You aren’t eating right. Some foods – like those rich in fiber and protein – enter your bloodstream at a slow and steady pace, giving you sustained energy, while others – like high-sugar carbs – enter your body quickly and provide you with a jolt of energy. If you’re tired quite often, take note of your energy patterns – do you feel super high energy for short bursts of time, then find yourself teetering off fairly quickly? You may be eating foods that are high in sugar rather than those that keep you full for long periods of time. Opt for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats throughout the day to keep you energized for hours on end.
How do you counteract sleepy feelings during the day and turn around your low energy levels?