Feeling unrefreshed and groggy after a disturbed night of sleep is totally normal. However if you are feeling like this every morning there is definitely something going on. Read our tips below on why you may be feeling zonked all the time and how to fix it!
Exercising too much
We all know how important exercise is, however adequate rest and recovery is needed to repair and build muscles. Smashing out HIIT training sessions with little to no recovery is a sure-fire way to ensure you’re feeling tired all the time. If you continually push through without enough rest you can run the risk of overtraining. Signs of overtraining include fatigue, trouble sleeping, elevated rested heart rate and changes in mood. When you feel like this you don’t need to necessarily skip your workout but it’s important to know when your body needs rest and recovery or even active rest – swapping that hard HIIT or resistance session for a brisk walk, yoga or stretching session will give body time to catch up.
You’re not drinking enough
Did you know that approximately 60% of your body is made up of water? Keeping up your water intake is paramount to support optimal hydration and essential functioning of the body. Being even 2% below your optimal fluid levels can make you feel tired and lethargic contributing to poor physical and mental performance. Ensuring optimal hydration will help you with mental focus at work and can also improve your physical performance in your workouts. Sip water throughout the day and load up on fresh fruits and vegetables to meet your hydration needs. Next time you are feeling super zonked try drinking a couple of glasses of water instead of opting for a caffeine hit to support focused attention span, memory and motor skills.
It’s called the most important meal of the day for a reason, yet still many of us skip breakfast either intentionally or unintentionally. Breakfast is essentially ‘breaking-the-fast’ from the night before. Skip it and you’ll be running on empty. To have a productive day – that’s one with sustained energy and focus you need to have a quality breakfast. Your best bet is a meal that includes carbohydrates, protein and good fats. Such as fruit salad with yoghurt, seeds and nuts, sourdough toast with avocado and eggs, an omelette with mushrooms and goats cheese or a smoothie with banana, avocado and natural yoghurt. Even if you’re not a big morning eater opt for at least a boiled egg or a banana to keep you going.
Too much screen time
Screens – a blessing and a curse. Your smartphone, laptop, TV, computer, tablet all emit a blue light which stimulates your brain making it hard to switch off. This light confuses melatonin, the hormone responsible for helping us to fall asleep and sleep well. In order to fall asleep more easily as well as stay asleep – make sure you switch off all screens an hour before bedtime. Practicing good sleep hygiene such as dimming the lights, stretching and having a warm bath or shower can also help you unwind and sleep more restfully.
Not striking the balance with carbs
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. Cutting out carbs all together can lead to noticeable fatigue, brain fog and difficulty concentrating. Carbohydrates are an important food group and including them in your breakfast is important. However, filling up on unhealthy carbs such as white toast, bagels, sugary cereals and breakfast pastries is going to set you up for a fail. These foods are low in fibre and will trigger a blood sugar high, followed by a crash and hunger only a few hours later making it difficult to resist the vending machine or the biscuit jar.
Your brain relies heavily on carbohydrates as its main source of energy and numerous studies have shown improvement on memory tests and cognition after eating good quality carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes and vegetables.
Your iron levels are low
If you are constantly feeling run down and have ruled out lack of sleep or illness it might be a good idea to get your iron levels checked. Being low in iron has a profound affect on your energy levels as iron is used to produce haemoglobin – the substance that enables red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. Insufficient iron can leave you feeling perpetually fatigued and out of breath. 1 in 5 women have low iron levels and women 16 – 50 are particularly prone due to mensuration and therefore have higher iron requirements. Vegans, vegetarians as well as endurance athletes also run a higher risk of having low iron levels. Ensure that you are eating enough good sources of iron such as red meat, eggs, or plant sources like kidney beans, and dark leafy greens.