Do you constantly feel sluggish no matter how much caffeine you have? Do you feel like your internal combustion engine is just not working no matter how much gas you put in? One of these seven surprising reasons could be to blame.
1. You’re not getting enough sleep
OK, this one may be a given, but there’s more to it than meets the (shut) eye. There’s a good reason why the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults ages 26 to 64 (as well as young adults ages 18 to 25) need between seven to nine hours of sleep each night. It is hard to stick to a sleep schedule like that with our busy lives, but it’s important to try. There is a lot going on internally while you sleep at night, including secretion of the human growth hormone, a protein made by the pituitary gland, which plays a role in keeping muscles healthy and bones strong.
It also affects how our bodies collect fat (especially in the stomach area), helps to balance out the ratio of good to bad cholesterol, and is essential for brain function. Human growth hormone is primarily secreted while you sleep, and not enough HGH leads to fatigue, decreased strength and stamina, as well as symptoms of depression. So make it a point to get some sleep and try to stick to a sleep schedule..
2. You’re eating junk
Sugar will temporarily boost your energy, but you’ll crash not too long afterward. All of these types of sugar — glucose, dextrose, maltose, and sucrose — will leave you feeling sluggish. The only way you’re going to be productive and not want to crawl back into bed is if you’re eating foods that give you energy. Stick to this motto during the work week: eat for energy.
3. You’re not drinking enough water
Make sure you’re hydrated; drinking water is one of the most important ways to combat fatigue. Many people don’t realize that their fatigue may be due to dehydration, and water may be just the jolt you need. The best way to know if you’re hydrated is if your urine ranges from light yellow to clear. If it’s any other color, drink up.
4. You need to move it, move it
Putting 90s references aside, getting your body moving can be the difference between having high and low energy. Once you get moving, nitric oxide is released from the artery linings to allow blood to move freely throughout your blood vessels, helping to get more nutrients to your cells. Interestingly, to encourage movement (mind over matter over body), simply tell your body that you need to go for a brisk walk or run in the morning. It then responds by giving you the energy you need to do it, whereas, if you plan on settling in for a Netflix movie-marathon, your body will downshift energy production.
5. Your hormones are out of whack
Several hormones are responsible for your energy levels. The two primary sources of troubled hormones are a slow-functioning thyroid and adrenal glands. How do you know if your hormones are wacky? Try this great little test for your adrenal hormones: When you’re hungry, do you quickly find yourself getting so irritated and ravenous that if you don’t eat you’re likely to kill someone (not literally)? This is a huge indicator that your adrenal glands may not be working properly.
6. Your vitamin B levels are low
Vitamin B is essential for your mitochondria to turn glucose into energy. Although we should be getting vitamin B from our diets, 99% of us are not getting enough from that source. Keeping your levels stable will help you get the energy you need, so if you feel like you aren’t getting enough, try taking vitamins. In any case, make sure to get your vitamin B12 and D levels checked annually.
7. You’re insulin resistant
This is unfortunately a precursor to diabetes. When you’re insulin resistant it makes it hard to get sugar, which our body uses as fuel. Instead, the sugar gets distributed to our fat storage rather than storing it in cells and using it to produce energy. Always consult your doctor if you feel that something is off.