Are You Just Tired… Or is It Something Else?

Feeling like a zombie isn’t always a sign you need more sleep. Follow our flowchart to know what else is sucking you dry of energy.

You're Tired...But Only Just Before (and the First Day Or Two of) Your Period

That pre-flow dragginess is due to a hormone-induced dip in levels of the brain chemical serotonin, leaving you feeling sluggish. It might also be the result of cramps interrupting your sleep. Keep the cramps under control with pain relievers, and make sure you don’t skip the gym as working out will pump your energy.

You're Tired...But the Exhaustion Only Strikes Within an Hour After You Eat Lunch

You’re in a carb coma. White-flour breads and other starchy lunch staples get turned into sugar by your digestive system quickly, which causes your bloodsugar levels to spike. Aim for four small meals instead of three big ones. The more you eat at once, the more energy it takes to digest, and that conks you out.

You're Tired...Plus You Have an Annoying Eyelid Twitch

The twitch is a weird but sure tip-off that you’re seriously stressed. Instead of trying to turn in a little bit earlier each night, focus on eliminating anxiety by doing things to help you unwind during the day, like tuning in to your iPod for a music break or going to yoga class.

You're Tired...And You’ve Been Feeling Sad and Out of Sorts For Weeks

Depression might be the culprit. When you’re hitting bottom, your body can feel all-out drained. See your physician, who can help you figure out if it’s depression, and steer you towards treatment.

You're Tired...And Your Brain Feels Foggy

You keep messing up small tasks at work and forgetting things. You’re probably sleep-deprived. When you shortchange yourself more than a few nights in a row, your brain isn’t able to recharge its neurotransmitters, so you can’t think clearly. Stay alert by aiming for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted quality shut-eye a night. Avoid caffeine after 4pm, and turn off your gadgets before bed.

You're Tired...Every Day Around 4pm, Then The Fatigue Lifts by 6PM

The human body normally hits a wall for about two hours in the late afternoon, and the sloth-y feeling gets even worse when you instinctively down a bag of greasy chips that leave you feeling full and lazy. Here’s the right way to fight the fatigue: get up from your chair and start stretching, take a relaxing 10-minute walk outside for a fresh-air fix, and/or have a glass of cold water or a highprotein snack, like a handful of nuts, which will revive you.