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Why You're So Freakin' Tired All The Time

Newsflash: The reasons aren't something a quick nap can fix.

You skip breakfast.

The one chow-down commandment you shouldn't forget: You've got to eat like a queen during breakfast, like a princess during lunch, and like a pauper during dinner.

Breakfast helps your body get going in the morning and keeps your energy from dipping throughout the day. As soon as you gain consciousness, your body already starts to function. "So it's best to have your breakfast within an hour of waking up," advises Faith Nacional, a registered nutritionist-dietician with St. Luke's Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City. On the go? Have a piece of baon-friendly fruit. Another reason to fill up in the a.m.: It  prevents you from overeating at noon and at night. "Pinoys like to address their hunger pangs with sugary carbs, because it helps them feel full. But too much will make you crash," says Nacional.

Since your body is focused on buring all the food in your tummy, it overlooks providing your brain cells with energy. That's why you feel like sneaking in a siesta after a big lunch. But a dinner binge is the worst. "The only thing we do at night is rest, so majority of the food you eat is being converted to fat," says Nacional. Eep!

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Your mood meter is out of whack.

Science is on your side for this one. Your Taylor-Swift-in-Blank-Space-level topak isn't necessarily all in your head. Take it from Dr. Heidy G. Dy-Fernandez, an OB-GYN with St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City, who says that cases of hormonal imbalance in your women are likely on the upswing because of our increased exposure to stress, pollution, bad diets, and chemical-laced cosmetics. Birth control pills can be a factor too.

Hormones set you up for tiredness when the two most important ones in the female body, estrogen and progesterone, are out of sync. The imbalance usually strikes when you have more estrogen in the body, meaning you have too much of the #feels-giving hormone, and not enough of progesterone, the substance that supplies your cells with oxygen. "This easily contributes to exhaustion," says Dr. Fernandez.

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You're still awake at midnight.

If you snoozed a decent amount (doctors recommend seven to eight hours a night), but still dozed off late, you won't feel recharged by the time you get up. Yeah, that can be a bitch but that's how it works. Sometime between 9 p.m. to midnight, your body secretes a lot of the sleep hormone melatonin, making you feel drowsy. After the clock strikes 12, the levels of melatonin in your body begin to drop, weakening your urge to rest with every passing hour.

"If you miss those three hours, malilipasan ka," says Dr. Michael Alexius Sarte, a sleep specialist with Medical City. It gets worse when you find yourself still ogling at the ceiling at 2 a.m. That means you're already robbing yourself of the deepest, most restful stage of sleep, which happens between 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Your faux-somnia has a number of causes. Exercise, happy hour, and even your room temperature are some, but chief among them is your laptop or smartphone. Why? Bright light and loud noise do an excellent job at keeping us awake, and your gadget emits both. If you can't cut your phone loose before bedtime, compromise: Keep your phone on silent mode and make your screen dimmer, advises Dr. Sarte.

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What if I work the night shift?

We aren't night owls by nature, so it isn't your fault you still have trouble dozing off after your long-ass shift ended at 6 a.m. How to deal? Trick your body into thinking it's nighttime:

- Wear shades during your drive or commute home.

- As soon as you get home, turn the AC or fan on.

- Have a warm bath.

- Make sure your room is dark AF.

Welcome to dreamland!

Your FOMO.

Your incessant fear of missing out, although heightened by constantly scrolling through FB or IG ("Inggit, they're all in Bora na." "Saya naman her job!"), is looming over you because of where you're currently at in life. "Millennials' lack of life experience makes it easy for them to have FOMO," explains life coach Pia Acevedo of The OneCORE. "They're worried that whatever they're currently getting isn't going to give them fulfillment."

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Here's the thing: You want to feel like you're on top of the five key aspects of your life: health, social life, career, family, and sense of purpose. But your game plan is all wrong. While you want to give 100 percent of yourself to each aspect, "it's not possible," says Acevedo. You only set yourself up for physical heaviness, psychological frustration, and emotional drain when things don't work out.

Cope by figuring out which among life's key aspects you want to focus on more. "Then, appropriate your energy according to your priorities," advises Acevedo. It's not abotu dishing out 100 percent of what you have to all five aspects, but figuring out how to split your hundred among the five.

Still not sure how to proceed? Go beyond asking your friends for advice. "Your peers can support you, but they can't lead you. A mentor makes the difference between a young person who finds success, and one who only passes the time," says Acevedo.

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This story originally appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine, January 2015. 

* Minor edits have been made by editors