Things You Never Realized Were Making You Tired

Who here is tired? We get it. The daily grind of life can be exhausting, and every day you may just find yourself counting down the hours and minutes until bedtime blissfully rolls around and you can finally collapse into your bed and get the zzz's you've been fantasizing about. However, if you are feeling perpetually tuckered out during the day, there could be more driving your always enervated state. Indeed, there are a few common, but nonetheless surprising, culprits that can cause daily drowsiness. You could be dragging because of something in your diet, a lack of sunlight, or excessive time spent on your trusty tech devices (guilty as charged).

Want to get to the bottom of your sempiternal state of sleepiness? Put down the Red Bull (spoiler alert: it doesn't give you wings), and read on. Health Digest is sharing lots of things you never realized were making you tired. Plus, we're dishing out a few tips to help you snap out of it.

Ironically, drinking too much caffeine can leave you overtired

If you are one of those "don't even talk to me before I've had my first sip of coffee" kind of people, we hear you loud and clear — and, honestly, we're right there with you. But if you require multiple cups of coffee or rely on different caffeinated beverages to get you through the day, your overzealous brewing efforts may actually be counterproductive. When it comes to java and other caffeine-yielding drinks, it turns out that you can have too much of a good thing.

Registered dietitian Michelle Worley told PureWow that caffeine binds to receptors that block out adenosine, the compound that makes us feel sleepy. But she continued, saying, "Just because our brain is no longer processing the adenosine doesn't mean it stops producing it. When the caffeine inevitably wears off, you're left with an adenosine buildup which makes you feel even more tired." Worley also reiterated that perpetually sipping on an endless cup of joe could cause you to have a higher caffeine tolerance — meaning you don't as readily feel its effects.

Skipping breakfast can have you lagging throughout the day

You may not think you need breakfast — perhaps you're not even hungry when you wake up in the morning — or maybe you're constantly running late and just feel like you don't have time to sit down for an a.m. meal. But regardless of how much you do or do not want to have a healthy, balanced breakfast at 7 a.m., your body definitely requires it. 

Really, your mom was on to something: Breakfast truly is the most important part of the day, helping to kick you into high gear and prep you for a solid morning, afternoon, and evening of work and play. Forgoing that fueling morning meal can mess with your body's pattern of "fasting and eating," as explained by WebMD. "When you wake up, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and brain work their best is usually low," the site revealed. "Breakfast helps replenish it." So if you decide to pass on a plate of eggs and bacon or fibrous fruit, you're depriving your body of its veritable gasoline, leaving you more vulnerable to a midday slump. 

What's more, breakfast is an opportunity to fuel your body with important nutrients early in the day. When you skip this morning intake, you're less likely to get the recommended daily fill (via WebMD).

A lack of sunlight will wear on your body and mind

It's cold. It's dark. It's dreary. And you are stuck at home, indoors. If you find that you are more tired in the winter months or on rainy, cloudy days, it's not coincidental — nor is it in your head.

Your body needs sunlight. Without sufficient sun exposure, your brain makes more melatonin, a hormone that can cause you to feel tired, as noted by the U.K.'s National Health Service. What's more, after daylight saving time ends in the autumn, the sun sets earlier. This can affect your circadian rhythm, leaving you feeling even more fatigued. As suggested by the site, let in some natural light from a window. 

Better yet, bundle up and go outside. It'll help to perk you up and give you some vitamin D, a unique nutrient your body naturally produces when exposed to sunlight. A study published in the journal, Nutrients, confirmed that those who lack sufficient vitamin D tend to get less sleep and have poorer sleep quality — possibly making them more lethargic during the day. If this sounds familiar, consider adding a vitamin D supplement to your routine, and embrace the elements if and when you can.

Nonstop work, work, work will leave you drained

Whether you are tethered to a desk or spend a 12-hour shift on your feet, work is work — and it can be absolutely draining. All work and no play makes, well, it makes you tired. Even if your job is not physically taxing, the mental toll can take a hit on your body. As explained by Business Insider, "high-intensity emotions" in a work setting can lead to mental exhaustion, which can fuel physical exhaustion. 

One tip to combat this effect, as suggested by Healthline: Use your commute time to decompress and reinvigorate your mind before heading home. Treat yourself to some light reading, a guilty-pleasure podcast session, or a little on-train meditation. You'll feel more settled and less haggard when you walk in your front door.

Interestingly, a study by the Draugiem Group using the app, Desktime, found that workers were most efficient and productive when they worked for 52 consecutive minutes and then took a 17 minute break away from their desks (via Fast Company). So give yourself some space and don't be afraid to walk away from your work for a bit, if you're able. Your productivity might go up and you'll feel more replenished — a win-win.

Exercising too much will leave you exhausted

A workout can be energizing. But if you're going extra hard at the gym, pushing physical boundaries, or simply working out too much, your body may feel depleted of energy afterwards. This could happen for a variety of reasons. It could be that you need to rein in the regimen a bit. You may not be eating enough to compensate for the calories burned. You might need to replenish with more water. Or, sometimes, a medical condition could make it hard to rebound after a hearty exercise session.

In an article for Livestrong, Tim Petrie, a sports medicine physical therapist and a certified orthopedic specialist, listed a few ways you can try to make sure you perk up after you work up a sweat: Get adequate sleep, fuel your body with healthy foods, and hydrate. Finally, it's most important to "listen to your body." If you're feeling completely drained, give yourself a break and show yourself some kindness. 

Vegging out all day will not make you feel rested

Sometimes, we just need to chill and veg out for a day. And while eating snacks and binging on a Netflix series on the regular may sound awfully tempting, it is certainly not going to help energize you — nor will it leave you feeling well rested. In fact, being sedentary for too long can make you feel even more pooped. So, next time you are considering a couch potato afternoon, try to balance your lack of motivation with even just a little bit of activity. Go for a walk outside or get up and stretch.

Certainly, some quality sofa and TV time can be good for the body, mind, and soul; just try to avoid making a habit of inactivity. And when you're feeling particularly worn down, ask yourself if you're actually tired or perhaps just unmotivated. Certified health coach Sheri Traxler suggested to Shape that you test yourself if you're not sure. Would you be able to push yourself to do something you really enjoy? "If even your favorite hobbies do not sound appealing, you're probably physically tired," she said.

Poor posture is affecting your energy level

Slumping over a computer at your desk? Slouching while you walk? Not standing tall and proud and upright? Believe it or not, your poor posture is probably making you even more tired.

Dr. Stacey Pierce-Talsma, professor of osteopathic manipulative medicine, told U.S. News & World Report, "When we have poor posture, we add tension and compression to structures that weren't meant to bear that weight. These stresses and strains build up over time and wear down our bones, joints, and ligaments, even changing the way our muscles fire." This, in turn, can "cause you to become fatigued more quickly." The expert continued, saying, "This occurs because poor posture and gait require much more energy and work to maintain and compensate for." 

Fortunately, reversing this exhausting effect is rather simple: Just practice opening up your body and breathe more. "The more efficient we can be in our good posture, movement and gait, the more we can improve our energy efficiency," said Pierce-Talsma.

Too much tech time is making you feel perpetually tired

If you spend hours upon hours staring at a computer screen, a phone screen, a tablet screen (you get the idea), you will probably feel the taxing and tiring effects of excessive screen time.

According to WebMD, "[Blue light] passes straight through to the back of your retina, which helps your brain translate light into images." Bombarding your eyes with tech-driven blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm, making it harder for you to fall asleep at night and get quality slumber. Blue light actually "blocks a hormone called melatonin that makes you sleepy," so your days and nights can become a nasty cycle of blue light, poor sleep, more exhaustion. Rinse, repeat. 

What's more, the ability to be constantly connected makes it so that we never have real down time. As noted by, answering emails right before you go to bed engages your thinking cap, keeps your brain going, and further fuels this always-on mentality. This is why it's so important to unplug for a while. You'll feel the difference the next day.

Depression or anxiety could be making you tired

"Depression can cause severe fatigue," as explained by Medical News Today, which can further fuel feelings of despondency. In addition, some medications used to treat mental disorders can have a sedative effect, making a person even more tired. 

Fortunately, whether you have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder or are just feeling down in the dumps, there are some steps you can take to help your body rest and relax. Getting daily exercise is a move in the right direction, as is eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Of course, it is also important to speak to your doctor if you are feeling helpless or hopeless, or if you find yourself unable or unwilling to get out of bed each day. Seeking help is a big step in setting you on the path to feeling like your energized self again, the publication highlighted.

Not drinking enough water? You may feel even more tired

If you just had a seriously sweaty workout session or have been urinating a lot, you will need to replenish your water supply. Dehydration can sneak up on you and cause some unpleasant symptoms. But before the really serious side effects start, you may feel fatigued. In fact, you may notice this symptom and a few others — such as bad breath, dark pee, and thirst — even if you are just 1 or 2 percent dehydrated, as noted by Healthline. Indeed, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that even mild dehydration can lead to a feeling of sluggishness among healthy young people. 

So before you habitually pour yourself another cup of coffee (hello diuretic!) or chug a sugary glass of juice, stop and think about how much water you've have or haven't had today. Making sure you hydrate with plenty of plain old H20 as it will help you feel like your sharp self again in a snap. 

Your supersized meal can leave you feeling super tired

If you are absolutely starving, you may be tempted to wolf down a ridiculously large, indulgent meal. And while your tummy may feel pleased after eating a huge burger and fries or demolishing half a pizza pie, the rest of your body will probably feel very, very lethargic. Hello, food coma, we meet again.

While the research is limited, many in the field of food science believe this effect has something to do with the brain's post-meal production of serotonin, a hormone that helps to foster sleep. If you want to avoid this effect, steer clear protein-heavy meals as they can be laden with tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes the body's ability to make serotonin (via Medical News Today). And if you have a lot to get accomplished, maybe don't splurge on a gigantic lunch feast. Dr. William Ja, a professor of metabolism, told Health that you should instead "eat in moderation and graze over a longer period."

Too many sweet treats can cause you to plunge into exhaustion

When your eyelids are getting heavy, you might reach for a donut to give you a quick sugar boost. And while it might help you initially feel a bit more alert, it'll quickly reverse course and have the opposite effect.  

Registered dietitian Alivia Galvin talked about the science behind this reaction to Livestrong, explaining that sugar will "quickly absorb into the bloodstream and cause a spike in your blood sugar level." She continued, saying, "Since our body likes to have [blood sugar] levels balanced, this quick increase in blood sugar causes a surge of insulin to be produced to try to quickly bring the blood levels back in balance."

In other words, your energy will quickly see an uptick and then speedily drop down. This can leave you feeling even more tired than you were in the first place. Furthermore, it can cause you to crave even more sugar, causing a vicious sweets cycle.

An all-over-the-place bedtime routine is not helping you

If you occasionally stay up to binge-watch your favorite television show or pull an all-nighter studying, you know you're going to pay for it the next day. It's par for the course. But if you habitually go to bed at random hours of the night (or early morning), you are more likely to feel perpetually tired. A study published in BMC Health found that an "irregular bedtime schedules" lead to poor sleep quality and greater overall exhaustion. We could have told you that based on real-life experience, but the science certainly backs that up.

Dr. Michael Twery of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research told Healthline that healthy sleep routines "might be akin to the timing of a gasoline engine." He continued, saying, "If the timing of the engine, the movement of the parts, is off a little bit, the engine can still run. It just won't run efficiently."

Waking up at different times every day leaves your body confused and tired

If you do not have a set schedule, you might be tempted to let yourself sleep in when you can. But, just like you should embrace a set bedtime, you should also try to wake up at the same time every day. Waking up at random hours every morning is probably not helping your overall sleep situation. In fact, it could be making you feel more tired throughout the day.

As noted by Brandon Peters, a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist, in an article for Verywell Health, "Waking at the same time every day will actually help you to sleep better at night. A fixed wake time helps to build a strong desire for sleep throughout wakefulness."

Furthermore, having a set wake-up time boasts a few other key benefits, including improved mental acuity, better mood, and a healthier immune system response. Yes, these are just a few reasons to set your alarm tonight!