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December 15, 2016

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Why So Sleepy?

December 15, 2016

Find your inner sloth and wake it up!



I put my hands up - I'm no stranger to riding in the slow lane. But, it seems as though I'm not alone. According to the NHS, one in five of us feel unusually tired at any one time. A shockingly high figure for a go-getting, modern-day society. With this in mind, I've decided to hunt down some answers for those of you looking to take it up a gear.

Here are 5 reasons you might be feeling zombie-like:


1) You haven't quite shaken off 'the sloth'  


Sometimes doing exactly what your body doesn't want to do is the key to banishing that sloth-like groggy feeling. Getting the blood pumping and the body moving can truly work wonders for your sleep quality at night, releasing sleep-inducing chemicals that'll help you sleep like a baby when your head hits the pillow. In turn, you will feel more energised during the day. 

So, as the Romans used to say: Carpe Diem! Seize the day. Or rather... seize your trainers and get your jog on.


2) Your sleep pattern has gone AWOL


It's all about taking control of your internal clock (your circadian rhythm) and regulating it. The average person requires 7-10 hours of sleep per night according to the National Sleep Foundation. And, keeping to a regular sleeping pattern allows your body to adjust to a routine and makes it easier to wake up in the mornings. 


Don't, however, become a slave to the snooze-button. Many of us - myself very much included - are tempted by the prospect of treating ourselves to those 'much-needed' extra minutes of sleep, supposedly squeezing out the benefits of a good night's sleep from the additional 10 minutes of snoozing. But, on the contrary, post-snooze sleep isn't high quality sleep and could leave you feeling less fresh come breakfast time. 


Stick to a routine and you'll find yourself waking up naturally in the mornings as your body clock sets in. 


3) Caffeine, caffeine, and more caffeine...

It may seem like life's true miracle drug, but it really isn't all it cracks up to be. This highly addictive substance produces short-lived energy boosts - fleeting minutes of pizzazz - that actually quickly send you plummeting into caffeine crashes. 

In fact, that regular cup of coffee in the morning (and afternoon...and late afternoon), may be the trigger of Adrenal Fatigue. Each time you consume caffeine, your brain sends a message to your pituitary gland, and, in turn, a stress response is triggered within your body. Adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormones) are released, leaving you feeling alert, active and raring to go.

But, like any good thing, too much can be detrimental. An excess of caffeine can result in an unresponsive reaction to the stimulant, heightening your 'down' periods and signalling Adrenal Fatigue. 


If you're feeling brave, you could try substituting your morning tea or coffee with a non-caffeine alternative.

4) Technology has pushed your brain into 'switched-on' mode

Checking your phone before kicking out the Z's may seem harmless and a good way to switch off. However, switching off by switching on may not be the best idea. The blue light emitted by screens on mobile phones, computers and televisions restrains the production of melatonin (the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle) and consequently makes it difficult to fall asleep at night. Your brain is tricked into thinking it's light outside.

If you aim to give yourself 30 minutes of techno-free time before bed you could improve your quality of sleep and ability to wake up come morning - those late-night emails will have to wait!



5) Your bedroom may need re-evaluating



To score some quality shuteye, try reaching for the feather duster. A tidy room can make you feel at ease, comforted and clear of anxiety. The right sleeping environment is certainly conducive to good sleep. Clear scattered laundry off the floor and consider de-cluttering to make the space feel more welcoming. Sleep will come far more naturally when you feel comfortable. 


6) There may be an underlying medical condition


Don't dismiss seeking medical advice. Feeling unusually sleepy may be a symptom of something a little more serious. Being tired all the time (TATT) - yes, it has its own acronym - could point to a condition that may need medical attention such as: anaemia, coeliac disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes or depression. 


Check-in with your GP as they may have the solution. 


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© 2016 by Camilla Allen

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