This is why you're tired all the time.

Skipping breakfast? Messy office? A few reasons why you may be tired all the time.

Do you do everything right—get to bed early, have one of those wave sound machines, wake up according to your sleep cycle—but still wake up exhausted in the morning? One of these hidden causes may be to blame…

1. You’re low on magnesium.

If you skimp on leafy greens, beans and nuts you may be low in magnesium, a mineral important for a good night’s sleep. “Magnesium is a crucial mineral our bodies need for the function of GABA receptors,” says Carolyn Dean, author of 30 books including The Miracle of Magnesium. “This calming neurotransmitter enables the brain to ‘switch off’. Without it, we remain stressed and tense, our thoughts race and we don’t get a restful night’s sleep.”

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium for women 19 to 30 years old is 310 milligrams—that’s just two cups of leafy greens or (even better) three squares of dark chocolate.

2. You eat too much fat.

Eating at the drive-through on a regular basis does more than wreck your waistline; it can also cause sleepiness, according to a study published in the journal SLEEP. The study links a higher fat consumption with increased daytime sleepiness, regardless of the total amount of sleep you get at night. Stick with a healthy, low-fat diet if you want to get through the day without a nap.

3. You skip breakfast.

It's called 'the most important meal of the day' for a reason. Skipping breakfast means you're starving the body of essential fuels to get you through the day and this will slow your metabolism. Going sans brekkie can lead to a range of health problems, including weight gain and low blood sugar.


To fuel up your body for the day, make sure you include protein-rich foods in your breakfast, including eggs, peanut butter and plenty of fruit.

4. You’re out of sync with your internal clock.

Traveling across several time zones and working the late shift have one thing in common: They disrupt the body’s natural clock. This can cause you to feel tired even if you get enough sleep, says Allen Towfigh, board certified sleep medicine doctor and neurologist based in New York City. “Your body releases hormones and chemicals, such as melatonin, at precise times which are set to your geographical location.” The resulting fatigue continues until your internal clock resets to your new time zone or you start going to bed at a normal bedtime. Speaking of which...

5. You stay up late on weekends.

That weekend night out and Sunday sleep-in might be doing more harm than what you think. Sleeping in late can lead to difficulty falling asleep the following night, thus throwing out your body clock even more. Instead of sleeping in, try and wake up at the same time every day and take a 20-minute power nap if needed in the afternoon. Power naps are effective in rejuvenating the batteries, as you don't enter the deeper stages of sleep, which can leave you feeling even more tired.

6. Your desk is too cluttered.

Having a cluttered workspace can be mentally exhausting and restricts your brain's ability to focus and to process information efficiently. Ensure your workspace is clutter-free and organised before you leave each day, and if it is too big a task, take baby steps to gradually give your cubicle a makeover.


7. You can't stay away from the screen.

The light given off by computer and phone screens suppresses the production of melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Doctors recommend shutting off the screens one to two hours before bedtime, however if you really feel the need to sneak in a round of Candy Crush before bed, try to ensure your phone is held around 30cm away form your face to avoid sleep disturbance.

8. You use sleeping pills.

It may sound counterintuitive, but sleeping pills can wind up making you feel more tired when you wake up, says Towfigh. “Drugs that help us fall asleep may change our natural sleep pattern or ‘sleep architecture.’ Next-day grogginess relates to the dosage and how long the drug stays in our bodies. The higher the dosage, the more likely you are to wake up feeling tired.” Start a new medication on the weekend to assess its effects before using them on a weekday, suggests Towfigh.

9. You grind your teeth.

Stressed out? You may be taking out your frustrations out in your sleep. Called bruxism, teeth grinding uses all the muscles surrounding your jaw and skull, says Tim Chase, a practicing partner at SmilesNY, a cosmetic dentistry practice in New York City. “Imagine how tired your arm would feel if you were doing biceps curls all night while you slept,” says Chase. No wonder you wake up tired. Bruxism can also wear down the enamel of the teeth over time. See your dentist if you suspect bruxism to discuss treatment options. Might be time for a retainer.


10. You’re breathing funny.

Waking up with a dry mouth isn’t a problem on its own, but it may indicate a breathing problem that disrupts your sleep. “Respiratory ailments such as asthma, sleep apnea or a deviated septum may lead to mouth breathing and a dry mouth,” says Towfigh. If you suspect you may be mouth breathing, try using nasal strips or a nostril dilator, which allow more air into the nose, suggests Towfigh. See your doctor if the problem continues or you suspect a respiratory condition.

11. You have sleep apnea.

If your partner says you snore and you wake during the night with shortness of breath, you may have sleep apnea. “Sleep apnea can be one of the most common sleep disorders that affect women during perimenopause,” says Michael Coppola, chief medical officer of medical affairs at and past president of the American Sleep Apnea Association. “Studies suggest that lower levels of oestrogen are the main cause of many cases of sleep apnea.” Not only does sleep apnea make you drowsy by cutting into your restful sleep, but it also raises the risk of high blood pressure. See a doctor if you suspect a problem.

Do you feel tired all the time? What helps you to feel more energised?

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