By DR. Oz
Has your energy level been low? Have you felt exhausted, despite regulating your sleep and stress? If so, you’re not alone. Nearly one-third of U.S. primary care patients report significant fatigue, accounting for 7 million annual office visits every year. Learn four surprising reasons that could account for your exhaustion, along with Dr. Oz’s unusual – but effective – cures. Of course, if your energy level is unusually low, get your blood count checked by your physician.
Bad Bacteria in Your Gut Prevent Deep Sleep
Two-thirds of the world’s population – over 4.5 billion people – have bad bacteria known as H. Pylori living in their stomach. This harmful bacteria can be a major source of fatigue. Your stomach’s inner lining produces acid to digest food, while simultaneously creating protective mucus to guard from this acid. H. pylori bacteria invade the stomach, destroying your protective mucus layer and leaving you vulnerable to ulcers, or tiny sores on the stomach’s lining. While you sleep, acid can escape the stomach through these ulcers and flow up into your esophagus, causing a sore throat and ruining your ability to get a deep, restorative sleep. Additionally, as blood escapes from the ulcers, it may cause anemia, further lowering your energy throughout the day.
Fortunately, H. Pylori infection is easy to detect and treat. A simple breath test from your doctor will detect the bacteria. Antibiotics can kill the bad bacteria and acid-reducing medications will treat the ulcers. You can also try taking antacids before bed; if they seem to lead to a better night’s sleep, it may indicate the presence of H. Pylori.
Phlegm Build Up May Clog Airways
Healthy breathing draws oxygen through your nose and down to your lungs, giving your body the energy it needs. But as you sleep, phlegm can build up in the back of your throat, blocking the passage of oxygen from the nose to the lungs. You may compensate by breathing through the mouth, but a recent study shows that doing so is correlated to a significantly lower blood-oxygen level, which can lead to fatigue. Gargling every morning, whether with mouthwash or salt water, can help clear the throat’s phlegm, allowing more oxygen to reach the lungs which boosts your energy.
Your Morning Coffee Could be Making You More Tired
Many of us turn to coffee or tea for a morning pick-me-up, but it could be the cause of your fatigue for two reasons. First, when consumed in excess, coffee causes a surge in your metabolism, followed by a “crash.” Second, caffeine has a dehydrating effect. When you wake up, you tend to already be dehydrated from not drinking for hours. If you don’t consume any other beverages, your coffee could cause further dehydration and drain your energy. The key is to drink caffeine in moderation and to drink a full 8-ounce glass of water around the same time as your morning cup of joe to stay hydrated.
Your Clothes May be Too Comfy (and the Wrong Color)
Getting too comfortable may actually make you more tired. Baggy and stretchy clothing makes it much easier to slouch, which strains your joints and muscles as they work extra hard to distribute oxygen throughout your body. Dressing up not only prevents slouching, but also boosts confidence. Confidence, in turn, tends to improve posture, allowing for healthy breathing.
Your clothes’ color may also be tiring you out. Dark colors like black, navy, and brown stimulate the secretion of melatonin – the chemical that makes you sleepy. The good news is that studies show there are many colors to keep you energized. White clothes suppress sleep-inducing melatonin and boost serotonin – the feel-good chemical in your brain. Red is good for an aggressive kind of energy. It’s also been shown to increase blood flow and stimulate adrenal glands. Yellow has been proven to stimulate the brain, build self-confidence, and encourage optimism.