8 Reasons You’re Tired

Do you find yourself yawning, rubbing your eyes and dozing off around 2:00 p.m. every day? If so, you’re not alone. Excessive daytime sleepiness is a common complaint among Americans.

Fatigue is sometimes caused by a medical problem. But if a trip to the doctor reveals that you’re OK, certain behaviors may be to blame for your sleepiness. Making simple tweaks to your lifestyle may be all that you need to rev up energy levels.

Here are the top 8 sleep offenders:splashing coffee

1. Caffeine. It’s a vicious cycle: you need that cup of coffee to wake up, but the effects of caffeine make falling asleep difficult. Caffeine can stay in your body for up to eight hours, so only drink a cup or two of coffee during the a.m. hours.

2. Alcohol. That glass of wine or beer with dinner may seem like it helps you unwind. In reality, alcohol causes disrupted sleep. Alcohol increases the number of times you wake up during the night, making you feel unrested come morning. Finish up happy hour at least three hours before bed to get a better night’s sleep.

3. Dehydration. One of the symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. Not getting enough water can sap your energy levels and cause headaches, lightheadedness and nausea. Institute of Medicine recommends men drink about 13 cups of water each day, and women aim for 9 glasses of water per day.

But be careful not to drink too much too close to bedtime or else you’ll be making a midnight trip to the bathroom.

4. Poor nutrition. Eating unhealthy, processed foods – like chips, candy and soda – can cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket and then plummet, which can leave you feeling drained. Taking in nutritious foods – like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean sources of protein and low-fat dairy — every few hours can keep blood sugar levels stable.

Avoid eating a lot of food right before bed. Lying down may slow the digestion process and make falling asleep more difficult.

5. Lack of exercise. The National Sleep Foundation says that people who exercise report better sleep at night. Plus, one of the easiest ways to get an energy boost is to exert energy. Physical activity improves blood flow and brings more oxygen to the cells. Getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week – that breaks up to 5, 30 minute workouts – can help you feel more alert during the day.

6. Exercising too close to bedtime. Working out late at night makes falling asleep challenging for some people. Wrap up your exercise session three hours before bed time and you’ll fall asleep more easily.

7. Your weight. People who are overweight are more likely to have sleep apnea – a condition marked by snoring and interrupted sleep. Losing weight and working with your doctor to get help for sleep apnea can help you feel better rested.

8. Sleep deprivation. The most common reason for daytime fatigue comes from not logging enough shut-eye during the night. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep overnight to function well during the day. Sleeping in a cool, dark room, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, and removing distractions from the bedroom – like computers and TVs – can help you get a better night’s sleep.

What’s your bedtime routine? I wind down by reading a book for a few minutes.






Why Do We Need Water?

Everybody knows that they need to drink water, especially while exercising or competing, but few understand the science behind exactly why.

Water makes up most of the human body, including 80 percent of our blood, 90 percent of our lungs and 70 percent of our brain. All told, about 60 percent of our bodies are made out of water. But what is the active role of water in our bodies? Why are doctors, trainers and fitness magazines always telling us to drink more water? How much do we really need?

What it Does

Water is necessary to our every bodily system. In addition to being a major building block of organs and tissues, it keeps things running smoothly.

The liver and kidneys, which both produce large amounts of waste during their filtration work, rely on water to carry that waste away.

Water lubricates your joints, as well as moisturizes your inner ear, eyes, nose and throat.

Because of its major role in the composition of blood, water is responsible for the transportation of nutrients to your cells and muscles. Blood also carries waste away from these areas.

Your internal temperature is also regulated by water. Even when you aren’t aware of it, your body is producing small amounts of sweat through the glands on your skin to control your temperature. This sweat is comprised mostly of water.

Where Does it All Go?

Even when you aren’t working out, or moving much at all, your body loses a surprising amount of water. The average person exhales one cup’s worth of water vapors every day, plus another six cups lost to urine and bowel movements.

Then, of course, there is the water you sweat out. The average person excretes about four cups of water per hour during high-intensity exercise, according to researchers at the University of New Mexico. This number could change, however, based on fitness level, health conditions, age and surrounding weather.

How Much is Enough?

If you lose, on average, seven cups of water per day before you even start to sweat, you need to replenish at least that much. Remember the old adage to drink at least eight cups of water a day? It’s solid advice.

Depending on your diet, this could even give you slightly more water than you need. Most people receive about 20 percent of their daily hydration needs from their food, according to the Mayo Clinic. But a little bit of extra water won’t do any harm.

If you’re exercising, you will need to compensate for the water lost from sweat. For a typical workout, lasting about 30 minutes, about two cups of extra water should be enough. During longer, more intense workouts, you’ll need to adjust your water intake and possibly use sports drinks to replenish electrolytes.

It is possible, however, to drink too much water. Athletes are particularly at risk since they tend to drink large amounts of water or sports drinks to ward off dehydration. The excess fluid in your body can create dangerously low sodium levels. This condition, called hyponatremia, can cause seizures, confusion or even coma.

Again, there are certain health conditions that will require you to drink more water. If you frequently feel thirsty, despite drinking what should be an adequate amount of water, consult your doctor.

Do you have tips on staying hydrated? Please share them in the comments.