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Why Am I So Tired?

October 10, 2020
Why Am I So Tired? - Lark Health

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Do you ever wake up feeling groggy or confused asking yourself why you're tired? Or is it nearly impossible to stay awake throughout afternoon meetings? Why might this be the case and, more importantly, how can you get your energy back?

Here are some possible reasons why you may be tired, and some ideas for what you can do about it.

Lifestyle Choices

You may be able to make a few changes in your regular routine and find that your energy increases. These are some lifestyle choices that can make you tired.

1. Lack of Sleep

Quieting Your Mind by Changing Your Thinking: Using cognitive strategies to get to sleep

The most obvious answer may be the correct one. About 1 in 3 Americans report getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night [1], which can make you feel, well, tired. Compared to sleeping more than 7 hours, people who sleep less are more likely to have diabetes, arthritis, depression, asthma, and heart disease. People who sleep less are also less likely to be physically active and more likely to be overweight or obese and to smoke.

2. Low Blood Sugar

Why Is My Blood Sugar Low After Eating?

Sugar in your blood is what your body uses for fuel and energy, and low blood sugar levels can make you feel tired and weak. They are especially likely if you have diabetes or prediabetes.

It is especially likely to happen if you have not eaten for a while, say, if you skip a regular meal or snack, or if you exercise more than usual without refueling to compensate. 

3. Not Enough Exercise

Wait. Doesn't exercise make you tired? Well, sort of. It is true that you can get tired during or after physical activity, but over the long run, exercise boosts energy.

Think of it this way: when your body is used to running, walking, biking, or gardening, sedentary daily activities like sitting at a desk feel like a breeze. However, if the most you ask of your body is to sit at a desk, your body may start to feel as though that is a challenge.

Physical activity also helps you sleep better, which can in turn reduce feelings of fatigue, and it can help you with weight control, which can make you feel more energized.

Plus, getting active lowers risk for prediabetes and diabetes. If you are not already active, it may be time to get clearance from your doctor so you can get active, and possibly get tested for prediabetes.

4. Too Much Sugar

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Most people can list a few reasons to limit sugar intake, such as avoiding extra calories and preventing tooth decay. Another reason to beware of having too much sugar is that it can make you tired due to a response called reactive hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar that follows high blood sugar.

This can occur after eating a meal or snack that is high in sugar or refined starches, such as white bread or pasta. There may be a "sugar high" and rush of energy when blood sugar levels increase shortly after eating, but the "high" may be followed by a "crash" when blood sugar levels plummet.

5. Excess Weight

10 Tips to Prevent Weight Gain This Holiday Season

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for diabetes, hypertension, and sleep apnea. Carrying around extra weight can also, simply put, be exhausting. If you find yourself tired for no apparent reason, it may be due to extra pounds. 

Losing weight can reduce tired feelings quickly. It can also lower risk for diabetes. If you are overweight or obese, it may be time to ask your healthcare provider for a blood glucose test to see if you may be at risk for diabetes. Lark can help with weight loss as well as diabetes prevention and management.

Know Your Prediabetes Risk

Being tired is no fun, and often, it is not necessary. By making simple changes to your lifestyle, you may be able not only to become less tired but also to stabilize blood sugar to keep it from being too high or low. Managing weight, eating better, exercising, and treating yourself right in general can do wonders for your energy levels.

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