Have you ever wondered why you’re always tired? You get up every morning and can’t wait to get back to bed or crash on the couch. If so, you’re not alone. Lots of people feel this way but don’t know how to fix it, or they just accept it and thing it’s normal.  

The good news is, if you’re generally healthy, there could be some simple reasons you feel tired a lot of the time. Here are 7 mistakes you could be making. 

Eating too many refined carbs 

While carbohydrates are part of a well-rounded diet and a vital source of fuel for your daily activities, too many refined carbs can slow you down. Refined carbs include things like white bread and rice, sugary cereals, pastries and muffins and more. When we eat these kinds of carbs, our bodies convert them to sugar to use as fuel, but if we eat too many carbs, it can prompt sugar spikes and subsequent crashes, which makes us feel drained and tired.  

A great solution is to try to build more balance into your diet to regulate your blood sugar. Aim for carbs that are less refined and snack on other foods, including lots of veggies, fruit and protein.  

Spending too much sedentary time 

If you’re feeling tired, sometimes the last thing you want to do is go to the gym or to get outside for some exercise. Research shows this is a common reason people don’t exercise as much as they should. 

The reality is exercise can help you feel less tired. Even just a bit of extra physical activity can make a difference in your energy levels by helping your body release ‘feel good’ endorphins, improving focus, boosting heart health and contributing to better sleep. 

A simple solution is to replace sedentary behaviors with active ones. For instance, stand up more often instead of sitting all the time, take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk instead of driving short distances. Even small changes can help you feel more energetic and motivated. 

Consuming too few calories and nutrients 

Maybe you’re busy and you can’t find time for breakfast. Or you’re working through lunch and find yourself exhausted by 3 p.m. It’s possible you’re not consuming enough calories for the activities you have to do each day. Calories are units of energy. Your body uses them to move and fuel processes like breathing and maintaining a constant body temperature – things you don’t even know your body is doing. 

When you don’t eat enough calories, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy, and that can lead to fatigue. There is also a chance your body could be missing the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs to function efficiently. Adults generally need to try to eat more nutrient-dense foods and aim for a well-balanced diet as much as possible. So, plan ahead, get your groceries and make time to get your meals in and enjoy healthy food options to keep your body functioning the way it should. 

Lack of quality sleep 

Most of us have heard that it’s important to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis, but it’s often not as easy as it sounds. Late nights, sleeping in, tossing and turning, and irregular sleeping habits can leave you feeling tired and unfocused. Try sticking with a bedtime and a wake-up time for a week. Soon your biorhythms will adapt to the routine and your body will be ready to sleep at bedtime. Build in some physical activity each day to tire out your body so you’ll be ready to sleep when the time comes. Allow 20-30 minutes of relaxing time before bed and turn off your electronics one hour before you intend to sleep so your mind and body will be relaxed and ready.  

Not enough protein 

Protein boosts your metabolic rate more than carbs or fat, so it’s the best choice to boost energy and fuel your body. Try adding a handful of almonds, a hard-boiled egg, grilled tofu or chicken to build in more protein in your meals. Chick peas, edamame, kidney and black beans and lentils are also great protein sources. Check out this guide to learn how much protein is right for you.  

Drinking too little water 

Sometimes it feels like no matter how much water you drink, it’s never enough. But in many cases, fatigue and lack of energy stems from lack of hydration. The common advice it to aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day for the average adult, but it can be different for everyone. If you feel thirsty, chances are your hydration is lower than it should be. Keep a glass or flask of water on the go at all times to help with energy levels. 

High stress levels 

It’s no surprise that many of us are feeling a lot of stress on a daily basis. Whether it’s keeping up with huge workloads, taking care of family, trying to get chores done and still manage to see friends. Add to that a global pandemic that imposes constant stress and has no definite end in sight. The reality is our bodies aren’t meant to stay in ‘fight or flight’ mode for as long as they have to. The solution? Carve out time every day (or as close as you can manage) to do something you enjoy that clears your mind. Walk in the park, try a new hobby, cook dinner or work out. Whatever you do, chances are you’ll emerge feeling refreshed and energized. 

So next time you wonder why you feel so tired all the time, know you’re not alone. Making small changes can have a huge impact on how you feel.