30 Weird Reasons You're Tired AF

Photographed by Bianca Valle.
This article was originally published on October 24, 2016.

If you're feeling fatigued, the best place to start is pretty obvious: sleep. Without regular ZZZs, you're going to be tired. But the real secret is that your energy level is connected to a lot more than just your sleep.

In fact, the way you eat, move, and sleep all influence each other. Pulling on one thread pulls the whole thing apart. Maybe you forgo your relaxation ritual throughout a particularly hectic week and suddenly, you're skipping workouts and forgetting to put together your favorite nutritious breakfast in the mornings. And, oh yeah, you're still not sleeping that great.

These seemingly little things add up. But luckily, fixing one can set you in motion to improve them all — and get your energy train back on track. Ahead, here are 30 weird things that might be the true root cause of your urgent need to nap.
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
You aren't drinking enough water.
When you're dehydrated, it's difficult for your body to function in many ways — including staying concentrated, energized, and in a good mood.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Your bedroom’s messy.
According to recent research, being stuck in a cluttered room can make it hard to concentrate. As a result, you're wasting precious cognitive resources on being distracted by that mess. So clean it up, because you may feel better. Same goes for you very disorganized desk at work.
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Photographed by Ben Lamberty.
Your nighttime drink.
Yes, an extra glass of wine will chill you out — at first. Unfortunately, later in the night, alcohol can interrupt the stages of sleep, causing you to toss and turn and wake up feeling unrested.
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Photographed by Molly Cranna.
You skipped your workout.
People who work out regularly also tend to consistently sleep better. On the other hand, working out too close to bedtime can leave you feeling too pumped up to fall asleep. So try to leave at least a few hours after your CrossFit session to wind down.
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Photographed by Lani Trock.
Your allergies are acting up .
Feeling sluggish is one of the hallmark signs of allergies (along with runny nose, itchy eyes, and the other classic symptoms). If you've never had allergies before — and yes, unfortunately, they can crop up later in life — you might not realize that's what's going on. If it comes with sneezing or itchy, watery eyes, that's your sign to see a doctor for an allergy test.

Allergy meds can make you feel tired, too. To stay sharp, ask your doctor about non-drowsy formulas of your preferred meds.
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Photographed by Ben Ritter.
You slept in last weekend.
One of the best things you can do to get a better night's sleep is keep up your consistency. That means falling asleep and waking up at around the same time every day — even on weekends (sorry).
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Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
You can’t stop checking your phone.
We know that blue light from your phone and laptop can interfere with your body's natural melatonin production and, unfortunately, keep you alert way past bedtime. If you really can't take a break from the screens, try using a program like f.lux on your computer or Night Shift on your phone to switch from blue to orange light. These aren't conclusively proven to help, but they're better than nothing.
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Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
You’re mad at your partner.
According to new research, people who perceive their partners as being more responsive to relationship issues tend to get better sleep, because they aren't dealing with so much anxiety. Go figure!
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Photographed by Megan Madden.
Your period’s almost here
Researchers haven't totally pinned down the link between our cycles and our sleep. But some experts do think nodding off might be more difficult a few days before our periods, when estrogen levels are at their highest.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
Your thyroid’s out of whack.
For some women, being low on energy is a sign that something is off with their thyroid gland. In particular, having an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) is associated with a general feeling of fatigue. If you just can't seem to shake that drained feeling, it's worth checking in with your doctor, who can check your thyroid levels.
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Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux.
You’re not getting enough iron.
Your body needs iron in order to keep your blood moving and carry oxygen to your muscles. So if you're feeling extra-tired, that might signal an iron issue. Fuel up on leafy greens, tuna, and legumes to get a little extra in your meals.
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Photo: Courtesy of FX.
You watched too much AHS.
What you do before you go to bed can set the tone for your night's sleep. So if you spent a few hours catching up on the latest episodes of Quantico or American Horror Story, you might be a little more alert than you'd planned.
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
You just got back to town.
Jet lag is a major cause of fatigue, but it's one for which you can plan ahead. Drinking tons of water, packing nutritious snacks, and keeping active while en route can all help.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
You haven't seen your therapist in a while.
Feelings of fatigue are common symptoms of many mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety. But poor sleep can also make the other symptoms of those disorders worse. Luckily, research has shown that just one session of cognitive behavioral therapy can be enough to get your sleep back on track. So if you're struggling with anxiety and some extra insomnia, checking in with your therapist could do even more good than you'd think.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
You’re grieving.
Everyone's response to trauma — including the loss of a loved one — is different. For some people, that includes feelings of fatigue.
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Photographed by Jessica Nash.
You’re a smoker.
The nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant, so it does give you a fleeting sense of energy. But in the long-term, smoking makes it harder for your lungs and your heart to function, which can leave you feeling tired all the time.
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Photographed by Mark Iantosca.
It’s that time of the year
Many of us feel a little extra sleepy when the weather changes for the gray and gloomy. But for some people, winter months bring seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The disorder can make you feel hopeless, irritable, and sluggish.
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Photographed by Aaron Richter.
Your sleep routine is totally all over the place.
Going to bed at the same time every night is one thing, but many sleep experts recommend implementing a whole sleep ritual to get your mind and body in the mood.
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Photographed by Claire Pepper.
Your apartment’s too hot.
Normally, your body's temperature drops a bit when you fall asleep. You can help that process along by keeping your room on the cooler side (between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit).
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Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
You have a desk job.
Sitting at a desk all day makes it hard to keep up good posture. But slouching creates muscle tension that you might not even be aware of at the time. That eats up your energy and makes it harder to fall asleep.
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Photographed by Shirley Yu.
You’re not eating enough fiber.
Some foods can make it harder to fall asleep (e.g., anything spicy), while others can make it easier (e.g., anything with fiber).
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Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
You’re haven't been outside today.
The sun is one of the external cues on which your body relies to keep your circadian rhythms going. So if you're not going outside for around 30 minutes per day, you might have trouble falling asleep and waking up on time.
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Photographed by Bianca Valle.
You spent too much time in bed.
Your bed is super-comfy, so we know it's tempting to do pretty much everything there. But using your bed for non sleep- or sex-related activities just makes it harder for your body to get in gear for those things when the time comes.
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Photographed by Nicholas Bloise.
You have a UTI.
Having a urinary tract infection — or any infection, really — puts strain on your immune system. And that puts you in sleepy mode. So have no shame in taking the rest you need to feel better.
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Photographed by Eric Helgas.
You only eat sea salt.
Not getting enough iodine, found in regular table salt, can also cause fatigue (and, in some cases, thyroid problems). Most of us get plenty of iodine in the form of eggs, cheese, and iodized salt. But if you're avoiding those foods for heart health, you might want to keep an eye on your iodine and maybe talk to your doctor about managing it with a supplement.
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Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
You have an undiagnosed food allergy.
In some cases, feeling fatigued can be an early sign that you're developing a new food allergy. If this is really what's up, you'll probably have other symptoms, too. That might include hives or indigestion. So if you think this is your issue, check in with your doctor or allergist.
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Photographed by Ben Ritter.
You snore.
Although snoring isn't always a serious issue, it can be a sign of sleep apnea, a disorder in which your breathing intermittently stops while you sleep. People with sleep apnea often wake up feeling tired and continue to feel sleepy all day.
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Photographed by Brayden Olson.
You take cold showers.
Cold showers in the morning can help you feel refreshed, energized, and ready to take on a new, exciting day! But at night, you're better off with a warm shower. When you get out and cool off, it simulates your body's natural bedtime temperature drop and can lull you to sleep.
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Photographed by Kate Anglestein.
You can see your laptop from your bed.
Your laptop, DVR, router, and digital clock all have those helpful blinking lights to let you know they're doing their little technical jobs. But those "time markers" can also make you especially aware of how much time is passing while you're trying to fall asleep. Try getting them out of your bedroom or putting tape over the lights when you go to bed.
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Photographed by Jessica Nash.
You’re starting new meds.
Some medications list fatigue as a possible side effect (which is annoying during the day), while others can have an unexpected stimulating effect (which is definitely annoying at night). Check with your doctor to see if either of those may be the case for you.
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