In the last year, I’ve been more tired than the rest of my years combined (and I used to open coffee shops). I had a baby, and my previously stellar sleep slipped into something a little different. My ears are on alert for middle-of-the-night cries, so much so that slight noises now wake me.
I used to be able to sleep through my neighbours having a wild party.
I could blame all my sleep problems on my little tiny human, but honestly, he now sleeps through the night, and I have to own my own s$%t.
As I type this, bleary-eyed, I know I’m not the only woman who is trying to kick some serious butt in many areas of life at the expense of shut-eye. That’s an obvious reason for being tired, but is there more to it?
Turns out yes, and the following reasons might surprise you as possible causes for your sleepy state:
Depression Can Show as Fatigue
A friend of mine who had postpartum depression just thought she was, really, really tired. She didn’t feel sad. Exhaustion can be a way we handle the weight of our world. If tackling basic tasks is very difficult, even when you sleep well, make sure to discuss this with your doctor. Remember that being depressed means that you are sick, not weak.
Adrenal fatigue can happen when your cortisol is out of whack and spikes when you should be sleeping. Underlying thyroid problems will also affect your energy, as every single cell of your body needs the thyroid to function. We also need a healthy balance of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone to operate optimally. If any of these areas dips or increases, it will affect your stamina.
You are tired, so you guzzle coffee in the morning. I get it, and I won’t tell you to break up with your java (I’m not a monster). Do make sure to add more hydrating foods and liquids rather than those that dehydrate. Ions flow and out of our cellular membranes thanks to water. No water? Less charge. Drink up.
Lack of B Vitamins
B vitamins are sometimes known as the energy vitamins and not getting enough can make you feel weak and drained. If you are vegetarian or vegan, make sure you are getting one of the veggie sources of B12 every day (hello, nutritional yeast!), or consider supplementing.
Sometimes we don’t even have the time to realize that we are stressed out. We get stuff done for as many hours as humanly possible, and then we crash. If you have been secretly stressed, your quality of sleep will suffer. While you may go to bed early and get up eight hours later, the number of hours of superior sleep will diminish. Time to dust off your mindfulness practice to see how you are really doing.
If you’re eating well (and enough!), exercising, cutting your before-bed screen time and committing to eight hours and you’re still tired, don’t despair. There are a host of medical conditions that present as fatigue, so if you haven’t sorted out the solution, book time with your family doc, NOW.
It’s not normal to be tired all the time, but there is an answer that will help you feel more like the chipper, inner barista, version of YOU.