I’m Always Tired. Why — and What Can I Do to Change It?

The short answer from a sleep expert

I'm Always Tired. Why? — and What Can I Do to Change It

Q: I’m always tired. Why? — and what can I do to change it

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A: Start by focusing on sleep. Often, it’s a chronic lack of sleep that erodes your energy over time. After a while, you can feel like you’re draggin’ your wagon every day.

It’s challenging because our busy, caffeine-fueled lives can get in the way of a good night’s rest. Even when we finally get into bed, it can be hard to shut our minds off.

If this sounds familiar, here’s the good news. There are changes you can make, starting tonight, to improve your ability to get a good night’s sleep — which ultimately, will help you feel less tired.

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Try the following:

  • Get structured. Plan to go to bed and wake up at the same time every night, even on the weekends.
  • Dial down the lattes. Avoid caffeine late in the day, after 3 pm, if not earlier.
  • Limit alcohol. Even though a glass of wine or a beer or two might help you fall asleep, it can cause awakenings later in the night and is also associated with unrestorative sleep, nightmares and night sweats.
  • Give your stomach a break. Try not to eat within two hours of bedtime. Or if you need something to nibble on, choose a light snack and avoid consuming fatty foods and those high in sugars.
  • Don’t exercise right before bed. Regular exercise can help reduce stress (and help you sleep more restfully),  but avoid doing so within three hours of bedtime because it can make it harder to fall asleep.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t fall asleep for longer than 20 minutes, get up and out of bed. Keep your bed as your sleep sanctuary – and not for reading, eating or watching television.

Sleep expert Michelle Drerup, PsyD

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