Spend a few minutes glancing around any office or subway car, and you’ll see yawn after yawn, maybe even a few folks nodding off. With an average per person coffee consumption of 2.1 cups every day, at least according to a Zagat survey, it’s safe to say most Americans feel pretty tired. Plopping down in a chair for the rest of the day certainly won’t do much to help alleviate the problem, and many workers may find themselves feeling irritable and a lot less productive.
If you count yourself among the many perpetually tired adults, it’s time to figure out where things are going wrong. Check out these 5 possible culprits.
1. Too many screens
Most adults are plugged into some sort of electronic device all day, right up the point when they hop in bed. Exposing yourself to the light from your phone, computer, TV, or tablet so late in the day can have a huge impact on the amount and quality of sleep you get. A 2014 study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found participants who used light-emitting eReaders an hour before bed took longer to fall asleep, experienced reduced quality in sleep, and felt more fatigued the next morning. The researchers believe the light that comes from these devices disrupts circadian rhythm, our body’s natural clock that helps tell us when it’s time to sleep.
2. Poor diet
3. Inadequate amount of sleep
Not getting enough sleep is probably the most obvious, but no less important, reason many of us feel so exhausted all the time. Though everyone is a little bit different, experts usually recommend aiming for seven to nine hours of shut-eye every night, yet many people don’t come close. Missing out on those precious hours every night can make you feel foggy, but that’s the least of your worries. According to WebMD, sleep deprivation can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and an early death.
4. Too much alcohol
Most folks who enjoy a few beers or glasses of wine know about the snooze-inducing effect of alcohol. Though booze makes you feel sleepy, it also prevents you from getting the true rest your body needs. A 2013 review published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found alcohol consumption helped individuals reach a deep sleep early on, but led to disruptions in the rapid eye movement stage, the most restful phase of sleep, later in the night. It’s fine if you enjoy a drink or two, but don’t use the booze as a strategy for getting a better night’s rest.
5. Improper amount of exercise
If you think you’re too tired to work out, think again. Plenty of research shows regularly making the time for a sweat session can help you feel a lot more alert during the day. This 2008 study from the University of Georgiais a good example. The team found those who started incorporating exercise into their day enjoyed reduced fatigue compared to those who remained sedentary. It may not have been the largest sample size in the world, but the results still raise an eyebrow.