Your alarm goes off, your eyes feel scratchy and it’s an actual, real life, physical struggle to force yourself from horizontal to physical. You zombie walk to the kitchen on the hunt for coffee.
That gives you enough of a pick up that you can get through to maybe 10:15am when you are looking for a sugar hit to propel you out of that brain fog you can’t seem to shake.
Then lunch time rolls around and you are craving something packed full of carbs. The only problem is that the resulting food coma doesn’t exactly put you in the more productive frame of mind.
By 3pm you are in survival mode, searching for more coffee, and staring at the clock willing 5pm to hurry up. So that you can pick up takeaway on the way home (you’re way too exhausted to even consider cooking), then get home, and crash on the couch.
Is this all because you are lazy? Unmotivated?
Nope. It’s because you are tired.
The sleep- weight gain cycle
Studies have found that if you are either not getting enough sleep (somewhere between 7-9 hours), or that even if you are getting enough hours that the quality of sleep isn’t high enough, that you are walking around in a chronically sleep deprived state.
What does sleep deprivation do to us on a hormonal level? It promotes more of the hormones that make us hungry, and not just that. We crave sugar, or quickly digested carbohydrate rich foods, and our blood sugar levels and insulin levels become elevated… then we store more body fat.
So what can this look like?
Your usual wakeup time is 6am, and you generally go to bed at around 10pm. You have worked out that your body responds best to 8 hours of sleep. Lately you’ve started staying up a little bit later to watch one more episode on Netflix, that means you clock 6.5-7 hours of sleep instead of your usual 8.
You’ve started having a coffee in the afternoon at about 3:30pm, but you don’t realise that caffeine can affect the quality of your sleep, not allowing you to sink into those deep sleep cycles. You can’t figure out why you feel so tired all the time when you get 8 hours sleep every night, and that afternoon coffee is there to stay.
You go to bed at the right time every night, but you are struggling to fall asleep. You can’t seem to stop thinking, and sometimes lay there for hours tossing and turning. You wake up every morning feeling like you just haven’t slept enough.
What can I do to stop feeling so tired?
While sleep is a complex thing, one thing has been shown in study after study to help you feel more energetic throughout the day, to fall asleep easier, and to get better quality sleep. Exercise.
Getting up and working out at a moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes first thing in the morning can help to energize you throughout the day, help you feel tired earlier in the evening, and also to be able to recharge with a good night of higher quality sleep.
While exercise might seem like the very last thing in the world you want to do when you are waking up exhausted, getting yourself into a routine of physical activity in the mornings could be the secret weapon you’ve been looking for.
The more well rested you are, the less likely you are to crave sugar and carbs, the better your decision making and concentration, and as an added benefit you are less likely to feel anxious or stressed.
Sounds like a winning combination to us!