Between work burnout, emotional fatigue, and general tiredness, Americans are more tired than ever. If you’re experiencing this, too, you’re certainly not alone. Recent research suggests that 3 in 5 Americans feel chronically fatigued, and nearly 50% of all Americans report feeling sleepy three to seven days per week. While there are many factors that contribute to tiredness, these statistics are quite alarming. I think we speak for most in saying it’s time to combat fatigue and stop being so sleepy! But easier said than done, right? Not with a little know-how! That’s where we come in — to help you discover what’s really zapping your energy. Ahead, learn why you’re feeling so tired and discover easy-to-implement ways to regain that much-needed fuel.
As a note, it should go without saying, listen to your gut — if you have a feeling there’s something else going on or something feels “off” in your body, go see your doctor. They can do a thorough check-up and rule out any potential underlying causes of your fatigue.
If there are no deeper underlying issues to blame for your sleepiness, though, it could be that some (or all) of these nine common causes of sleepiness are to blame.
9 Must-Knows to Combat Tiredness — Focus on These Today!
Before accepting that daily naps are your fate, take a good look at these 9 areas and see if any could be to blame for your sleepiness.
Reason #1: Stress is Wearing You Down
Stress – a typical fatigue-inducing suspect. According to a 2021 survey, 84% of Americans report feeling weekly stress. Unfortunately, these numbers continue to rise (nearly 10%) each year). The takeaway? Stress isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Whether it’s work, family, or relationships, there are many causative factors wearing us down. While a little stress can be healthy, chronic unrelenting stressors can drain our energy (and lead to other serious health conditions).
Take a moment to check in with your stress. How are you feeling both physically and mentally? Pinpoint any stressful areas in your day that may be putting a damper on your overall energy levels.
Make stress-reducing practices a regular part of your routine! Even if you’re feeling happy and healthy, prevention is key. This could be a weekly yoga class, daily morning meditation, or a simple stroll in nature. By planning ahead and taking time to relax, you can support weight loss goals, improve sleep, boost mood, and even reduce the risk for chronic illness.
Reason #2 You’re Over-Committing
If your calendar is jam-packed and you’re constantly wishing there were more hours in the day, it’s time to reevaluate your schedule. Constantly giving your energy to others can leave you feeling drained and depleted. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup! If you’re constantly saying yes when your body is screaming no, it’s no wonder you’re feeling tired.
Put up firm boundaries around work, screen time, family, friends, relationships, and anything that’s consuming too much of your time or energy. And please, don’t be afraid to say no to invites if you feel your personal time is being stretched too thin! We can feel pressured to show up for everyone and everything, but your self-care and relaxation deserve your attention just as much. Instead of trying to do it all, prioritize the special people in your life and the commitments that warrant your time. Everything else? Consider it an added bonus! Take on anything additional only after you’ve penciled in some self-care and checked in on your mental and physical health.
Reason #3 Your Body Isn’t Getting The Fuel It Needs
It’s a no-brainer when you think about it, but if you’re just not giving your body the nutrients it needs (which is all too easy to be guilty of when you’re tired and don’t feel like cooking), you’re essentially trying to run a car on empty. And in addition to fueling your body with the right foods, you need to make sure you’re eating enough of it! Under-eating can be a culprit of fatigue, too.
We get it — when you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is cook. But if you want to regain your energy, you need to break the vicious cycle! That’s where meal prep comes in. Work smarter, not harder! By prepping ahead, you’ll have easily accessible options to fuel up to combat (and prevent) fatigue.
The key to long-lasting energy? Balancing your plate with lean protein, healthy fats, and dietary fiber (in the form of nutrient-dense, colorful fruits and veggies). These nutrients help provide sustained energy without the “crash,” meaning they regulate your blood sugar, enhance satiety, and in turn, boost energy!
Need some meal prep inspiration? FitOn PRO is a great place to find delicious recipes, and personalized meal plans to make healthy eating super easy.
Reason #4 Your Sleep Schedule Needs Help
One of the biggest no-brainer ways to stop being sleepy is to, of course, take a good look at your sleep schedule. Regularly staying up late, getting up early, sleeping irregularly, too few hours, or tossing and turning all night? Any type of less-than-optimal sleep can definitely leave you feeling depleted and draggy all day long.
At the very minimum, you should be getting 7-8 hours of undisrupted sleep every night! Yet nearly 30% of Americans report feeling sleep-deprived. Aside from harming our energy, sleep deprivation can result in increased feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, reduced productivity and concentration, and reduced immune function — just to name a few.
To ensure your sleep is where it should be, secure a healthy evening routine.
- Wind down with a book vs. scrolling through social — blue light from our screens can disrupt your circadian rhythm! Power down at least an hour before bed — Instagram will still be there tomorrow.
- Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
- Stick to regular hours of sleep whenever possible, as our bodies are designed to be regular with shut-eye.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol prior to bedtime.
Reason #5 You’re Overexercising
As you’ll learn in a second, energy begets energy, so sitting around all day can be a big contributing factor for why you’re so tired. But so can overdoing it with your workouts.
If you’re going ham — which could look like “pulling doubles” with your workouts, not giving yourself at least one rest day per week, or pushing your body when it’s low on sleep or food, may leave your body overworked.
Schedule a designated rest day (or two) into your week. Your body needs the downtime to repair and rebuild, so take your rest or active recovery days seriously!
And don’t forget about post-workout recovery, too! This includes adequate post-workout nutrition — if you’re strength training, protein, and carbs to support the repair and rebuild process — and a proper post-workout cool down.
Reason #6 You’re Overly Sedentary
You wouldn’t think sitting all day would wear you out — but in fact, it can do just that. You probably already know a sedentary lifestyle is not good for our overall wellness (it can lead to fatigue, weight gain, and chronic illness), but getting more active during the day is also a major way to combat tiredness, making you feel way more energized and better, like right now.
Getting more active during the day doesn’t mean you have to change careers — just make it a habit to take regular standing breaks, take calls while on walks (if possible), and get up and move whenever you can. It can all add up to a major change in your energy levels!
- Set an alarm as a reminder to get up every hour and stretch
- Try a more mobile route — can you walk or bike to your destination?
- Swap zoom meetings or sedentary phone calls for walking meetings
- Use your office lunch break as an excuse to move — hit a workout class, go for a walk, or stretch it out
Reason #7 You’re Guzzling Too Much Caffeine
Drink the coffee, then do the things is a saying for a reason. For many, a cup of joe in the mornings is our go-to.
Ironic, we know, but all that meant-to-be-energizing caffeine may disrupt our sleep-wake cycle, especially when consumed later in the day — this may ultimately end up hurting our energy levels if we are totally wired when we should be hitting the hay. As a rule of thumb, call it quits on the caffeine come afternoon. Maybe even swap your java for a green tea matcha alternative?! It’s been shown to provide a steady stream of energy (versus that afternoon crash).
If you’re a coffee lover, we’re not saying you have to break up with your beverage. But if your energy is taking a hit, it may be wise to cool it on the coffee and caffeine consumption in general. Think one to two cups of coffee a day — and that’s 8-ounce cups. If your caffeine habit is turning into more of an all-day affair, turning to alternatives (like these ones) is going to be a big piece of how to stop being so sleepy.
Reason #8 You’re Not Getting Enough Natural Light
Our bodies were designed to be out in nature, but for a lot of us, our laptop screensaver of our beach vacation may be the only nature we see regularly.
Not getting exposed to enough natural sunlight has been linked to things like stress, weight gain, and, you guessed it, may have an impact on our sleep and energy levels. On the contrary, exposure to sunshine (especially morning sunshine) has the opposite effect — it naturally boosts your energy!
To combat tiredness in one of the cheapest and most natural ways possible, get natural light! Open your blinds, work outside if you can, and take a daily walk. If possible, try to soak in the morning sunshine immediately upon waking and take note of how you feel!
Reason #9 You’re Dehydrated
This is a biggie — not drinking enough water can take a serious toll on our energy. It can lead to chronic fatigue, brain fog, and lethargy. And dehydration can occur more easily than you think — even a 1–3% loss of fluid can affect mood, memory, and energy!
Invest in a reusable water bottle and keep it with you at all times! On average, men should be sipping on 15.5 cups of fluids per day, and for women, about 11.5 cups. Not a fan of plain old water? Try adding some citrus or berries to your glass or eating your hydration with water-rich foods!
Listen to Your Body to Combat Tiredness!
When we’re feeling worn down, our bodies are trying to tell us something. And like we said, don’t skimp on getting checked out by an actual doctor.
But if there’s no underlying more serious cause, listen to your body — you likely already know, if you’re being honest with yourself, that it’s your sleep schedule, your eating habits, or any of these other reasons causing your sleepiness.
The good news? All are totally within your power to improve, and you may feel a huge difference in your overall energy levels as your habits get healthier.