When you decide to skip the gym or spend a Sunday on the couch, it’s easy to feel guilty about being lazy. But motivation isn’t necessarily the only problem. If you routinely find that you’re canceling plans, staying home more often, or avoiding the things you want (and need) to do, it could be because you’re too tired.
As adults, we have a tendency to assume that any amount of sleep is enough sleep. And even if we feel groggy first thing in the morning or around mid-afternoon, we just power through it with a cup of coffee or an energy drink. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 Americans do not get enough sleep. Unfortunately, many of those people dismiss how big a problem this really is – mostly because they don’t recognize the complete consequences.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you will naturally tend to avoid high-energy or mentally-challenging activities. You naturally gravitate to some place calm and comfortable, not because you’re lazy, simply because you need to rest. Even if you’re not aware of what you’re doing, your body is seeking out what it needs, which might mean you have to change your plans or put something important off until later.
Being too tired to get active is annoying for some and a serious life obstacle for others. In both cases, solving the problem starts with recognizing the indicators. Watch out for these signs that fatigue is holding you back:
- Lack of Focus – If you find yourself struggling to focus on one task, especially something you would normally excel at, it’s a strong sign you haven’t slept enough. Multi-tasking can be a good thing. But when you’re constantly jumping back and forth between responsibilities, it’s often because you can’t focus on one thing and need new distractions to keep you alert.
- Taking Longer Than Normal – Another sign you’re slowing down is when normal parts of your routine take longer than they normally do. It could be something you do at work, your regular exercise regimen, or simply coming up with something to make for dinner. Lack of sleep makes it harder to think clearly and act quickly, even when you’re doing things that typically happen on autopilot.
- Chronic Illness – The amount you sleep has a direct impact on your physical health. If you find that you’re getting sick more often or always feel less than 100%, how you sleep at night could be the cause. And if you never feel fully well, you’re always going to be tempted to avoid activities, including the ones you were actually excited about.
- Irregular Sleep Schedule – When you don’t get adequate rest, your body will start to power down at times that fall outside your normal sleep schedule. You might start taking unplanned naps, falling asleep earlier than normal, or sleeping later than you would like to. Catching up on sleep is a good thing in general, but sleeping irregularly makes it a lot harder to plan or schedule.
- Frequent Mood Swings – Not surprisingly, sleep is also closely linked to your mental health and emotional state. Fatigue can cause you to have unexpected mood swings, irrational feelings, and out-of-character reactions. As a result of those mood swings, you may find it harder to commit to or enjoy certain activities.
Getting Enough Rest to Be Your Best
Here’s a simple test: Do you feel as energetic, engaged, and excited about getting active as you normally do? If the answer is no and you have also been sleeping less, you should focus first on getting the deep, restorative sleep your mind and body needs. Not only will you have the time and focus for all your activities, you will probably be eager to do more than you did before. Here are some tips for better sleep on a consistent basis:
- Upgrade Your Mattress – Your mattress might be old and worn out, or it could just be the wrong mattress for your sleep style. Either way, a bad mattress makes it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling alert and active. Your mattress is literally the foundation of your sleep, so if you’re not sleeping soundly, this is the first issue to address.
- Avoid Caffeine at Night – If you enjoy drinking coffee, soda, or any other caffeinated beverage at night, it might be keeping you up. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which makes it harder to get into the relaxed state you need to fall asleep. Try to stop drinking caffeine at least 6 hours before you plan to go to bed.
- Fine-Tune Your Bedroom – The environment in your bedroom could be what is keeping you up at night. Make sure the space has a cool temperature, low light, and is insulated from noise. Your bedding is also essential. The wrong pillows, sheets, and blankets only make it harder to rest easily.
- Exercise Regularly – Even if fatigue is making it harder to commit to a workout, try to spend some time each day on physical activity. It burns energy, making it easier to sleep. It’s also calming and relaxing, which can help relieve the stress or anxiety that may be keeping you up at night.
If your sleep is less than perfect, let the experts at Sit ‘n Sleep help. Visit one of our 38 retail outlets throughout Southern California, access more resources on our website, or call us at (800) 908-0354 with your questions.