If you find yourself stifling yawns at 2 p.m. meetings and passing out cold during movie previews, you’re already depleted. However, there is a significant difference between being pooped out and being weary – and the indications aren’t as evident as simply feeling sleepy. It’s critical to understand the distinction because tiredness can be deadly.
“Sleep is one of the most underappreciated aspects of health,” says Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, MD, Optavia’s medical director. “The ramifications of sacrificing it can reverberate throughout your life.” Exhaustion has been connected to hunger regulation disorders, heart disease, increased inflammation, and a 50% increase in your chance of viral infection.” Recent study has also discovered a link between fatigued immune cells – lack of sleep can deplete your immune system — and IBS symptoms.
So, if you’re fatigued and experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, it could signal you’re exhausted – and it’s time to get some serious rest ASAP.
Dehydration may be to blame if your lips are chapped, your skin is scaly, and you have regular headaches. Yes, this is a common problem in colder climates. However, if you’re feeling depleted, you should realise that it’s a symptom of weariness. “The more dehydrated you are, the more fatigued you feel,” explains Michael J. Breus, PhD, a board-certified expert in clinical sleep disorders. “If you’re always thirsty or have dry skin and lips, you might be suffering from dehydration, which can lead to tiredness.”
“You won’t remember much knowledge because your brain relies on sleep to re-process what you experienced during the day.”
He argues that water impacts so many processes in your body that it’s impossible to sustain your energy levels if you’re not drinking enough H20. “People frequently forget to hydrate because it is simply not on their minds. “Everyone is different, but I always urge individuals to drink water until their urine is clear,” adds Breus.
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- Your thoughts are all jumbled.
Your brain requires sleep in the same way that a car needs gas; neither runs well on empty. “Your body requires sleep, among other things, to regulate chemical imbalances, to replenish parts of the brain that affect mood and behaviour, and to absorb the memories and knowledge that you collected throughout the day,” Dr. Andersen explains.
This is especially critical during the 90-minute REM (rapid eye movement) sleep period. When it is disrupted, your thinking may be sluggish the next day. “You won’t retain knowledge very well since your brain relies on sleep to re-process what you experienced during the day,” Dr. Andersen explains. According to Dr. Andersen, exhaustion might leave you open to forgetting crucial things, such as a large meeting at work or feeling especially irritated.
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- Your workouts have been abysmal.
You’re not killing it in the gym like you usually do? According to Dr. Andersen, being exhausted affects every aspect of your life, including exercise. “Exercising demands both mental focus and physical action,” adds Andersen. “If your brain is slipping behind because you aren’t well-rested, your ability to effectively push your body will be hampered – on top of the various performance implications that come with lack of sleep.”
Another telltale sign: you can’t even force yourself to go to the gym. “Our bodies are hardwired to seek the easiest way out, which served us well 10,000 years ago when survival was challenging.” “Today, one night of sleep deprivation can lead to weeks of missed exercises and bad eating,” explains Dr. Andersen. (However, if you’re looking for a quick boost of drive, check out these 33 sources of workout motivation.)
RELATED: 4 Scientifically Proven Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise
- You’re extremely stressed (and trying to ignore it).
It’s no surprise that stress can keep you awake at night, but how you cope with it may induce exhaustion-inducing insomnia, according to a study published in the journal Sleep. For the study, researchers polled over 2,900 men and women on their experiences with stress, including how long it lasted, how severe it was, and how they dealt with it. A year later, the researchers discovered that persons who coped with stress by distracting themselves, focusing on the issues, or attempting to entirely ignore it had a greater incidence of chronic insomnia, defined as three sleepless nights per week for a month or more. This can lead to a vicious cycle of tension and tiredness feeding off of each other. According to the experts, using mindfulness practises to relieve stress may be a better approach to deal.
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“Even a single night of disrupted sleep can ruin your day the next day.”
- You’re consuming more junk food than normal.
Do you find yourself frequently visiting the office vending machine? According to Breus, “the more weary you are, the more you crave high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.” Exhaustion is frequently associated with elevated levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. To reduce cortisol, your brain will frequently seek a dose of the chemical serotonin. “[Serotonin] is a sedative hormone.” “One easy way to get it is to eat comfort food high in carbs and fat,” adds Breus.
Worse, all that junk stuff can make you feel even more weary. “When you consume highly processed, high glycemic meals like soft drinks, candy bars, or bagels, your blood sugar and insulin levels will skyrocket,” explains Dr. Anderson. “Because high insulin levels cause blood sugar to plunge, your brain generates [greater] cravings for sugar, fat, and calories.” Then it all starts over again. Dr. Andersen recommends nourishing your body with healthy low-glycemic meals like fruits and whole grains, which can help stabilise your blood sugar and keep your insulin levels from swinging dramatically in either direction.