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Do you ever wake up in the morning having had a full 8 hours sleep and still feel absolutely exhausted? Well, you’re not alone! In the fast-paced modern world, filled with distractions, notifications, and long office hours, it is not surprising that you are tired. Our doctors have been telling us since the day we were born that 8 hours of sleep per night is perfect for our well being, yet we still feel shattered. There can be many surprising reasons for this from getting the wrong ‘type’ of sleep to having an underlying medical condition. Here we will take a look at some of the surprising reasons why we are tired.

Quality of Sleep

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If you have been in bed for more than the recommended 8 hours, and you still wake up feeling tired and drowsy, there could be issues with the quality of your sleep. Maybe it took you longer than usual to get to sleep, or maybe you found yourself waking several times during the night. Why not have a look at the conditions surrounding your sleep? Environmental disturbances can play a big role.

For example blue light from phone or computer screens can keep us awake and alert even when we’re trying to nod off. Maybe you have children or pets scrabbling for your attention, or maybe that mattress is just a little too hard. Try to control what you can influence, and you will have a sounder night’s sleep.


Used to that nightcap before nodding off? Well cut it out! It is a common excuse to hear that you need that drink to help you get to sleep, but although it may hasten la-la land, it will not do you any good as it is stealing the quality of your sleep. The most important phase of your sleep cycle is REM or rapid eye movement because, in this phase, your body is resting the most. However, alcohol will inhibit your body’s ability to achieve this period of sleep, and the end result is you wake up feeling as if you haven’t slept at all. Ideally, you should not drink any alcohol in the two hours before you go to bed.

Vitamin B 12

Vitamin B 12 is vital for the correct function and development of the blood cells, nerves, and brain. Should the body not receive sufficient quantities of this vitamin, the natural consequence is that you feel more tired. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you may want to consult with experts of Supplement First because the main sources of this vitamin are red meats, fish, and eggs. If you are a meat-eater, simply tuck into an extra juicy steak!

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a medical disorder that causes shallow breathing, or even in extreme cases, the cessation of breathing whilst you sleep. This can lead to you frequently waking during the night, which will affect the quality of your sleep. The main cause is a partially blocked airway, which could be due to being overweight, having allergies, or another underlying condition, such as having enlarged tonsils. There are various devices you can use to keep your airways open whilst you’re sleeping, or in extreme cases, surgery may be required. In the first instance, though, it is prudent to try and lose weight and avoid alcohol to see if these may be the underlying causes.

Iron Deficiency

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If you have low iron levels, you are depriving your muscles and tissues of the vital energy they need as oxygen is not reaching them. This, in turn will have the effect of making you feel much more tired and lethargic. The medical term for an iron deficiency is anemia, although this tends only to apply to the most extreme cases, although even people with a low-level deficiency may show symptoms such as brittle nails and dry skin, shortness of breath or cold hands and feet. The easiest solution is to change your diet and eat more iron-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, legumes, or spinach.

Too Much exercise

It makes perfect sense that if you do too much exercise, then you are going to feel tired, but this does not stop many people from overdoing it. If you neglect to take days off from the gym or to pound those pavements, then you are not going to give your body a chance to rest and recover. This exhaustion can often reveal itself in the form of chronic headaches or extreme fatigue, and this applies both to the moderately fit and to those international triathletes. On the other hand, moderate exercise levels can promote energy levels in your body and make you feel on top of the world, so the moral of the story here is to keep exercising but don’t overdo it, take at least 2 rest days per week.


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Diabetics often complain about feeling tired and lethargic and having no get-up and go drive. Perhaps you too could have an underlying issue with type 2 diabetes? Other symptoms include increased thirst and urination, always feeling hungry and slightly blurred vision. If you have several of these symptoms, don’t panic, but it may well be worth your while to check with your GP, especially if you have a sudden onset of fatigue, even if it is only to rule out the possibility of diabetes.

As we have discovered, there are many surprising reasons why you could be tired other than getting a lack of sleep, because for sure, if you only sleep 5 hours a night, you are going to feel fatigued by late in the afternoon. Quality of sleep is extremely important, so check the conditions of your bedroom when you try to fall asleep, remove any distractions. You may have a vitamin deficiency causing tiredness, so it may be worth checking your diet to see if you lack nutrients, and if necessary, change your diet or take supplements to combat this. Or your tiredness could be due to a lifestyle choice like drinking too much before bed or over-exercising during the day and not allowing your body to rest. Treat your body well, and it will reward you with blissful sleep.