Why do we feel exhausted if we are staying home?

For some reason or the other, isolation has brought yet another issue: it seems everyone you talk with is exhausted.

Before this pandemic, sleep statistics were not great.  About 1/3 of Americans were not sleeping the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.  Now that we are confined at home, many people report feeling more tired than usual.

Why is this happening? There are a few possible explanations and they all relate to how mind-body interactions during times of change.

If you’re feeling extra tired, the root cause might be fear, stress or frustration. All these can drain energy from your body and also cause disrupt sleep. We may find ourselves staying up later than usual and then having difficulty falling asleep. Or we might think we are getting sufficient hours of sleep but in reality, we are not getting the same quality of deep sleep.

Another reason why we might feel tired is due to the change in our daily routine. Being confined at home, many people tend to eat more, move less, and perhaps snack on foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats, all of which can have a negative effect on our energy level and our sleep quality.

For those in quarantine, this can translate to very little time outside, with less opportunity to exercise or just be active. This can also contribute to feeling sleepy during the day and then having restless energy in the evening.  

So, until confinement is over, here are some simple strategies to help restore your healthy energy levels?

  1. Keep your prior sleep schedule, even if you are tempted to stay up late. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time you did before, or at the most, 30 minutes later.
  2. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes, in the sun. Your internal metabolic clocks need the sunlight in order to work well. This is a great time to try yoga, it can be done in small spaces and will help both your body and mind.
  3. Eat less, unless you are burning the same amount of energy.
  4. Avoid caffeine or caffeinated beverages 4 – 5 hours before bedtime. Some people are very sensitive to caffeine and should avoid it entirely in the afternoon.
  5. Avoid desserts which are high in added sugar, and replace with fruits, which have immune boosting vitamins, minerals, and natural sugar which is absorbed more slowly.

Last, but not least, try to meditate at least 10 to 15 minutes a day. Meditation can work wonders for reducing stress and improving sleep.