You spend your days walking around in a daze, pounding back cups of coffee in a desperate bid just to keep your eyes open. In the back of your mind, you know it’s not normal to feel this tired all the time, but maybe you’ve never considered the possibility that your lifestyle and an undiagnosed health condition could be contributing to your chronic fatigue and drowsiness!
Feeling Tired? You’re in Good Company
One of the reasons it can be so easy to ignore or normalize chronic feelings of fatigue is that everyone you talk to seems to be experiencing the same thing. In fact, according to the CDC, approximately 35% of Americans are getting less than 7 hours of sleep a day, 38% have fallen asleep unintentionally during the day, and 4.7% have even fallen asleep while driving in the past month!
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
But just because feeling tired is common doesn’t mean it’s normal. Because although you’d like to convince yourself that you’re perfectly fine getting by on five hours of sleep a night, it’s doubtful that your body would agree with you. Adults need between 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and these hours should be of high-quality sleep that isn’t interrupted by tossing or turning. So remember that when you’re staring at your ceiling while building your grocery list!
The Consequences of Skimping on Shuteye
You may think you can just power through your days groggy and grumpy, but there are some serious repercussions for walking around like a zombie. In fact, sleep insufficiency, especially sleep apnea, has been linked to vehicle accidents, industrial disasters, and occupational errors (e.g., like leaving your watch in a surgery patient!).
Plus, people who are chronically tired are more likely to suffer from diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and cancer. Overall, you have an increased risk of death simply because you’re not getting enough shuteye every night.
Causes of Sleep Insufficiency
There are a number of factors that could be causing you to toss and turn at night, so if you thought it would be as simple as popping a Benadryl with the hopes of knocking yourself into a stupor, think again! Usually, chronic sleeplessness is a multi-causal problem that is a product of a high-stress lifestyle and constant exposure to technology. And in addition to lifestyle factors, undiagnosed sleep apnea could also be interfering with your ability to fall asleep peacefully. Approximately 50-70 million Americans have sleep apnea, so don’t discount the possibility that you may have this very common condition.
Your Solutions to Sleeplessness
If you’re tired of feeling tired, follow the tips outlined below!
- Set a sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Avoid eating large meals in the evening.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to your bedtime, which means no more evening nightcaps (try some tea instead!).
- Avoid nicotine.
- Re-evaluate your lifestyle: Take a hard look at your life. Is your job killing your joy and seriously stressing you out? Is your relationship with your spouse on the rocks? Are you constantly worrying about your kids? Stress in all forms will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
- Get tested for sleep apnea: Remember, the equipment and supplies needed to treat sleep apnea are covered through insurance. So don’t let cost prevent you from seeking help!
Overall, if you want to fight fatigue then follow these actionable tips to be sleeping like a baby in no time.