Do you find yourself feeling tired all the time? Do you feel as if you always need to turn to caffeine to energize yourself throughout the day? You are not alone. 60% of students report feeling fatigued throughout the day at least 3 times a week and considering that 70.6% of students sleep less than 8 hours a day, this may not be a surprise.
Sleep deprivation is certainly a main cause of feeling tired, however there are other reasons why you may be feeling tired. Many of your habits may be contributing to your constant fatigue.
Lack of Exercise
Naturally, when you feel tired, you do not want to exercise. However, exercise can actually boost your energy. Regular exercise helps your cardiovascular system run better, meaning oxygen and nutrients get delivered to your tissues more efficiently. This leads to improved strength and endurance. On top of that, when you exercise, your body creates more energy to meet the challenge that you are putting out body through. Take a study break every now and then and head over to the ARC to get your body moving!
Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume, which makes the blood thicker. This makes it so that your heart must work harder to pump blood throughout your body and reduces the efficiency in which oxygen and nutrients reach your muscles and organs. Instead of reaching for a another cup of coffee— which further dehydrates your body— have a glass of water.
Depression is often a chemical imbalance. It takes chemicals from your brain that prevents you from functioning at your best. One of those is serotonin, which helps regulate your sleeping patterns. This imbalance ultimately makes you feel tired during the day and make it difficult to fall asleep at night. If you suspect that you may have depression, reach out to someone for help; check out Student Health and Counseling Services. https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/counseling-services
Many college students are regular alcohol users. In fact, approximately 4 out of 5 students report drinking alcohol with 11.6% reporting that they use alcohol to aid in sleeping. Though alcohol tends to help you fall asleep quicker, it also promotes fragmented sleep later in the night. Overall, you are actually getting less sleep. Be mindful this weekend and limit your alcohol consumption!
Other Health Problems
Often times, fatigue is a symptom of health issues.
For instance, people with thyroids problems often report feeling sluggish. The thyroid is a gland that secretes hormones that regulate body function. When there is a problem with the thyroid gland, you can experience a hormonal imbalance, ultimately leading to tiredness.
Another possible contributor to fatigue could be sleep apnea; a disorder that prevents proper oxygen absorption from when you sleep. This leads to poor quality sleep because it makes your brain constantly wake you up because it thinks that you are not breathing, and you are unable to reach REM sleep—the most restful sleep.
Check with your doctor if you suspect you have a condition that may be causing you to feel constantly fatigued.