If you ask your local doctor about what the most common complaint they hear from patients is, don’t be surprised if the majority say it is tiredness. In fact, feeling exhausted is so common that it’s earned its own acronym, TATT – or ‘tired all the time’. While some cases are due to underlying health concerns, most cases of exhaustion and tiredness are a result of our lifestyle – the choices we make and those thrust upon us by the working week (however, if you’re experiencing lingering fatigue, then always consult a doctor first).
It might come as a surprise to learn, for instance, that humans have traditionally slept in two phases. In his book, At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, the historian Roger Ekirch points to more than 500 references from historical texts that speak of dividing the night into two periods of sleep. Before the 19th century and the introduction of the modern working day, his research suggests it was common for humans to snooze for two hours after dusk, wake in the middle of the night to talk, pray or even have sex for a few hours, and then go back to bed to sleep until morning.
This might go some way to explaining our ongoing troubles with tiredness, as at any given time:
- 1 in 5 people feel unusually tired.
- 1 in 10 have prolonged fatigue.
- 1/3 of the population are severely sleep-deprived, often because of job and money worries.
If your first thought after waking up is of how quickly you can go back to bed, your body is likely in need of some serious energy-level restoration. Fortunately, if you’re otherwise in good health, there’s no shortage of simple actions and lifestyle changes you can implement if you’re tired of feeling tired all the time.
A lot of that tiredness comes down to what we are – or are not – drinking on a daily basis. For instance, a great many of us will brew a pot of coffee when our eyelids start to feel like lead, but drinking caffeinated drinks after midday can sabotage your efforts to get to sleep later that night. Caffeine lingers in your system for hours, which can hinder your ability to fall asleep and lower your rest quality even when you do finally nod off. It’s this idea of quality sleep that is important to understanding why you might wake up still feeling exhausted – drinking alcohol will help you nod off, but has the knock-on effect of delaying and shortening the period of REM which is vital for a restful night’s sleep.
Whether that means adding some complex carbohydrates into your diet, being strict about sticking to your exercise regime, carrying Dry January on through the rest of the year, or simply drinking more water, this infographic offers 9 quick ways to put the spring back in your step.
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