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The Weird Reasons You're So Tired

Which of these sneaky energy zappers could be keeping you from feeling rested?

We Pinays live in a lovely tropical country and you'd be loving life...except that you feel like a slug when your alarm goes off or by midday. What gives? "Plenty of surprising physiological things can drain energy," says Richard Schwab, MD, co-director of the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Sleep Center. "Plus, emotional stress can be just as tiring." Read on to see if one of these sneaky energy zappers could be keeping you from feeling rested.

Fruit's healthy, but the post-snack crash can leave you dragging. "Certain fruits send your blood sugar sky-high, and what goes up will come down," says Dan Hamner, MD, author of Peak Energy. You can check the glycemic index to see how quickly a certain food spikes your blood sugar. Fruits with GI scores over 55 (like cantaloupe and pineapple) can catapult you into fructose frenzy.
Fatigue fighter: Dr. Hamner suggests eating some nuts with your fruit—their proteins and fats stabilize blood sugar.

Swimming in a pool
Playing in the water is one of the joys of living in a warm country, but the chlorine can irritate sensitive sinuses. Sinusitis can lead to exhaustion and even chronic fatigue.
Fatigue fighter: If you get forehead pressure when you swim, avoid diving (and cannonballing), which shoots water straight up your nose. "Using a nasal saline solution or going to a steam room after your swim can help prevent sinusitis," says Alexander C. Chester, MD, clinical professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Chattering teeth, numb hands: This common work complaint is called air-con fatigue. "When you're chilly, your body works to produce heat, and that consumes energy," says Marc Riedl, MD, assistant professor of medicine at UCLA. "Plus, if you're uncomfortable, your concentration suffers." The result? You’re tired, scattered, and eyeing your jacket on 30-degree days.
Fatigue fighter: Dr. Riedl recommends pacing to pump up your blood—try walking to talk to coworkers instead of emailing them.

Breakups by proxy
When you empathize with a pal who gets dumped, you naturally start feeling heartbroken too. "Trying to take care of her can wear you out," says therapist Dan Neuharth, PhD, author of Secrets You Keep From Yourself.
Fatigue fighter: Instead of working to heal your friend's heartbreak for her, just let her vent. "Eighty percent of therapy is listening," says Neuharth. "Most people will get through their problems by themselves if someone just hears them out."

That giant purse
"Carrying everything on one side of your body can lead to strain and fatigue of the back and shoulders," says health and fitness consultant Tim Moore, PhD. Slumping compresses your lungs, so there's less oxygen to take to your muscles. That leaves you feeling bogged down.
Fatigue fighter: Bring only what you need for the day—you'll be way lighter and less lopsided without every abubot and lipstick you own.

Outdoor happy hours
Toasting with friends on an al fresco gimik is your Cosmo-given right. But imbiber beware: "Over a quarter of people have mild allergic reactions to the complex ingredients in beer and wine, which cause drowsiness the next day," says Dr. Chester. Booze also screws up your sleep. "Drinking causes sweating and snoring and can prevent deep sleep states," says Dr. Schwab. Add irritation from cigarette-smoke exposure and pollens and you have a triple whammy.
Fatigue fighter: Don't glug too late, since even one drink stays in your system for hours. Order white wine or simple mixes like vodka tonics to reduce possible allergens.

A big secret
Think about what a drag it is keeping something little—like a surprise party—under wraps. Multiply that by 1,000 if it’s serious, like a credit card debt or family problems. "Keeping a guilty secret is like trying to keep a beach ball underwater," says Neuharth. "It becomes a 24/7 low-level energy drain."
Fatigue fighter: Confess to a third party who won't judge you, like a neutral friend or a therapist. "Just telling someone breaks the isolation and neutralizes shame," says Neuharth. Still too scary? Log on to an online messageboard like our very own Cosmo boards—you'll likely find a support group. If you want to go anonymous, post it on Cosmo Tell-All.

Too much cardio
A recent study from the University of Adelaide found that PMS hormones during weeks three and four of your menstrual cycle actually help burn fat when you exercise and rid your system of related wastes. But during the two weeks starting the day you get your period, those hormones dwindle, so you can feel wiped out faster.
Fatigue fighter: Drink extra water in weeks one and two to flush out waste, says Dr. Hamner. And eat 15 or so grams of protein (an energy bar, some meat) post-workout to help rebound.

Your iPod
True story: Struggling to hear creates physical stress. :Many people listen to their iPods at 115 decibels," says Ray Hull, PhD, an audiologist at Wichita State University. "That is as loud as a plane taking off and can damage your hearing and balance after 15 minutes." If you blast Rihanna before a big lecture, you then have to strain to hear, and you may be nap-ready before noon.
Fatigue fighter: Earbuds blast right onto your eardrums, so wear noise-canceling headphones instead.

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