‘What is wrong with me?’
It’s a question many of us have asked ourselves when, despite getting the recommended eight hours of sleep the night before, we wake up feeling groggy.
According to a YouGov survey earlier this year, one in eight Britons report feeling tired all the time and one in four report feeling tired most of the time.
This makes sense given that only a third of us get a minimum of seven hours of sleep a night and one in five sleeps for eight consecutive hours.
But there are still a large number of people who feel tired no matter how well or how long they sleep.
Here, MailOnline takes a look at a whole host of reasons why you might be flagging, according to science — and what you can do to address them.
According to a YouGov survey earlier this year, one in eight Britons report feeling tired all the time and one in four report feeling tired most of the time. There can be various medical reasons for this, including drinking too much caffeine, secret snoring or having an underlying health problem.
You are a secret snorer
If you are single or live alone, you may be blissfully unaware that you are a noisy sleeper.
It is estimated that 40 per cent of British adults snore to some degree, equivalent to around 15 million people.
For one in 10 of these people, it could be a sign of a disorder called sleep apnea. It occurs when the walls of a person’s throat relax and narrow while sleeping, blocking their airway.
This condition is linked to obesity, sleeping on your back and smoking and drinking alcohol.
The ’10-3-2-1 Formula’ for a Better Night’s Sleep:
You’d think with decades of practice, we’d all be pros by now. So, why are millions of us still struggling to get a good night’s sleep?
Two-thirds of adults in the US and UK fail to get the recommended eight hours, and studies show that the average American and Briton gets only about six hours.
Busy lives and hectic work schedules are the most common reasons for not getting enough sleep. But our obsession with technology, lack of exercise and a culture of slow eating have also been blamed for the reason we sleep so little.
In recent years sleep doctors have touted the ’10-3-2-1′ formula, a step-by-step guide on how to set yourself up for optimal sleep throughout the day.
But this is bad news if you like caffeine, the method says it should go at least 10 hours before bed. And late eaters need to bring their meal three hours before bedtime, or risk spending the night tossing and turning.
The guide also recommends logging out of your work emails two hours before hitting the sack and avoiding phones, tablets and laptops in the hours before hitting the hay.
- Cut out caffeine midday
- It’s best to have that last snack or glass of wine before 8pm
- Job No. LAAt 9 p.m
- No Netflix in bed After 10 p.m
It has been called the ‘silent killer’ because these sleep disturbances prevent the body from resting properly in deep sleep and put extra stress on our organs.
During an episode, the lack of oxygen triggers the victim’s brain to wake up from deep sleep so that their airways reopen.
It’s already been linked to high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to strokes and heart attacks. Last week, a study conducted on 4,000 patients with sleep apnea showed that it can also increase the risk of cancer.
Half of the patients in the study had cancer. The results showed that those with the most severe sleep apnea were more likely to develop lung, prostate or skin cancer.
Swedish researchers are unsure whether disturbed sleep is a cause or a symptom of cancer, but it is a worrying sign.
If you’re a secret snorer with sleep apnea, you may feel very tired during the day, have trouble concentrating, or have a headache when you wake up. Sleep apnea does not always need to be treated if it is mild.
But many people need to use a device called a CPAP machine. It will be given to you for free on the NHS if you need it.
A CPAP machine slowly pumps air into a mask that you wear over your mouth or nose while you sleep. Less common treatments for sleep apnea include a device like a gum shield that keeps your airway open while you sleep — called a mandibular advancement device — and surgery to remove enlarged tonsils.
Tea and coffee are the backbone of the British workforce – but caffeine is a double-edged sword.
It can be the antidote in the afternoon if you’re feeling tired and depressed, but it can also rob you of a quality night’s sleep.
In a 2013 study, scientists found that people who drank coffee, tea or an energy drink six hours before bed slept an hour less.
The study was conducted on 16 ‘good sleepers’, all of whom slept 6 to 8 hours a night and were usually asleep within 30 minutes of going to bed.
Caffeine makes you more alert by blocking sleep-promoting receptors in your brain called adenosine receptors.
But research in 2015 indicated that caffeine can slow down your internal body clock.
Five people were kept in highly controlled conditions for 49 days. Before bedtime, they were given different treatments: either a double-espresso dose of caffeine, in bright or dim light, or a placebo. Caffeine delayed their circadian rhythm by 40 minutes.
Many people still don’t know that caffeine can stay in the body for up to 10 hours.
This means that people who plan to go to bed at 10 pm should stop their intake at 12 pm to get the best sleep possible.
Caffeine can make you more tired in other ways, too.
Once its effects wear off, your body can experience a build-up of adenosine that hits you all at once.
If you drink coffee with added sweeteners, it may be adding to your sleep problems. Sweeteners like sugar, syrup or honey can actually cause a sugar crash, according to new research.
If your body is not used to the sweetener in your coffee, it may produce extra insulin as a response. This can lower your blood glucose levels, causing a good old-fashioned sugar crash.
You know that most Britons and Americans are medically dehydrated.
A survey by New York Hospital and Cornell Medical Center found that 75 percent of its 3,000 patients suffered from chronic dehydration.
And surveys in the UK suggest that Brits consume just 850ml of water per day – less than half of the recommended daily intake – on average.
Your body needs water to function. Starving your brain for water can make you mentally exhausted.
In a 2019 study, researchers in China looked at the effects of severe dehydration on brain power and mood. They recruited 20 people who were not allowed to drink water for a day and a half.
By surveying participants’ moods before and after water deprivation, Peking University scientists found that dehydrated people felt twice as tired.
The study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, also found that water deprivation slowed people’s reading speed, reaction time, and made more errors.
Dr Hasan, from King’s College London, said: ‘Not getting enough water affects the whole body, including your brain, causing fatigue.
A 2015 survey of GPs in the UK found that one in five patients went to the doctor with symptoms – such as fatigue – which could be caused by not drinking enough alcohol.
NHS guidelines say women should drink 1.6 liters of fluid a day – the equivalent of eight glasses – while men should drink two litres, which is ten glasses.
These include tea, coffee, milk and fruit juice, although water is the best source because it has no added caffeine or sugar.
Low energy can also be a cause of diabetes. It is estimated that around 850,000 people in the UK are living with type 2 without knowing it. America has a similar problem.
This condition occurs when your body becomes insensitive to the hormone insulin, which normally controls blood sugar levels.
Dr Sufyan Hasan, of King’s College London, told MailOnline that one of the reasons why diabetes can make you more tired is that having too much or too little blood sugar disrupts sleep.
‘We know the quality of your sleep varies with sugar levels, so suboptimal levels of sugar can disrupt sleep by making you tired,’ he added.
Millions of people also suffer from pre-diabetes, which can cause similar symptoms.
The link between type 2 diabetes and sleep deprivation is a vicious cycle. Experts say that insomnia is not only a symptom, but it can also be a cause.
It is thought that lack of sleep increases insulin resistance, levels of the stress hormone cortisol and inflammation in the body.
One of the most comprehensive papers, published in April by Bristol University, calculated that treating insomnia could reduce blood sugar levels by 14kg (2st 3lbs).
If you are always feeling very tired and have to get up at night to urinate a lot, this could be a sign of the condition.
Other symptoms include being always thirsty, losing weight without trying, blurred vision and sores that take a long time to heal.
You’re not eating enough red meat
Not eating enough red meat, dark green vegetables or pulses can cause your sleepiness.
These foods are all rich in iron, a major component of hemoglobin, a type of protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to all parts of the body.
Dozens of studies have shown that low levels of the mineral can lead to anemia, which can cause fatigue, shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat.
In the UK, the British Medical Journal suggests that one in 10 British women are iron deficient – compared to around 3 per cent of men.
Taking iron tablets is the most common treatment prescribed by doctors.
A 2003 review found that iron pills may also help those who are low in iron but not clinically anemic.
Scientists from the University of Manitoba in Canada analyzed existing data from 18 clinical trials and found that taking iron tablets significantly reduced fatigue levels in people without anemia.
They suggest taking iron supplements and recommending iron supplements to anyone who feels tired after eating iron-rich foods.
You may also be flagging due to low levels of thyroxine hormone.
This chemical affects the entire body’s metabolism and its deficiency slows down your brain.
Around 2 per cent of the UK population is thought to have the condition, which is often caused by the immune system attacking the thyroid gland.
‘The thing about hormones is that they have a huge effect on every cell and tissue in your body. They’re chemical messengers and they tell your body how it’s going, and what it needs to do,’ said Dr Hassan.
‘When you don’t have enough thyroxine it slows down your brain, lowers your mood, because it controls your emotional processing,’ he added.
Doctors can test for hypothyroidism by taking a blood sample.
It is often treated using daily hormone tablets, but if left untreated it can lead to heart disease, pregnancy problems and swelling in your throat as well as fatigue.
Source: | This article is originally from Dailymail.co.uk