Do you feel like you're always tired?
When you're fatigued, everything feels difficult and it's tough to meet your full potential. It's even difficult to do some of the things to fix it - like exercise!
Read on for 5 tips to restore your energy.
get a good night's rest
OK, get a good night's rest - obvious, right? There's saying "I'm going to get 8 hours of sleep every night this week" and then there's actually taking the steps to meet that goal. Think about why you're not getting a good night's rest - do you go straight from working on your laptop to bed? Or worse, do you work in bed? Do you lose track of time, and before you know it, it's midnight or later?
Try setting an alarm 1 hour before you want to be in bed. Limit your screen time after dinner, and when that alarm goes off, put your work down, change into PJs, wash your face, brush your teeth, and climb into bed without your electronics. Grab a book or relaxing playlist, and settle in under the covers to relax before trying to fall asleep.
If you're getting enough sleep (technically) but it doesn't feel like enough, you may have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when you periodically stop breathing while you sleep, followed by a gasping. If there's someone next to you in bed, they can probably let you know if this is happening. To learn more, visit an ENT or sleep specialist to get down to the problem.
Want to learn more about digital wellness? Digital wellness is the opportunity for you to regulate your use of technology to avoid negative effects to your health. Learn more in this expert-verified article "Digital Wellness: A Guide to Better Sleep" from Sleepopolis.
limit your caffeine
If you feel tired when you wake-up, you're probably itching for that first cup of coffee. While that coffee is brewing, drink a full glass of water - we're dehydrated when we wake up. Just like drinking water before eating helps you eat less and stay in touch with your hunger cues, drinking water before resorting to caffeine can improve your energy levels.
Later in the day, when you feel like you need a jolt of energy, try going for a walk, drinking water, or having a snack, before brewing another cup of coffee.
Whether you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or happy hour with friends, think about how you feel the day after. If you use a sleep app, see if the quality of your sleep is worse the 2 days after you consume alcohol. You can even do an experiment - try going 2 weeks without alcohol and look at your sleep quality again.
Replace your beer at dinner with something else - like flavored water or seltzer water. Or, try meditating or stretching in the evening instead of curling up with a glass of wine. If you're out with friends, order water instead, or a mocktail.
reduce your stress
Stress makes it difficult for us to fall asleep - your mind might be racing, you may be worrying about everything you need to do tomorrow. Chronic stress wears you down, leaving you drained during the day, and unable to get a good night's sleep to compensate.
It's important to practice self-care, so think up what tips might work for you. You can download a meditation app to use between Pomodoro sessions, or to relax before bed. Combine relaxation with moving more by finding a yoga glass or streaming one at home.
Exercising can help you sleep better at night, leaving you physically tired. The tips for getting a good night's rest are there to let your mind relax. Combining both helps even more. Increasing your movement also has longer term effects, with improved rest (not related to being physically tired) over a few months. Mix up your training to find what works for you. Full body movements, like squats on squat racks, give you the most bang for your buck.
Do you have trouble getting enough rest? What's your biggest challenge? Leave a comment below!
a blog about health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness from an epidemiologist / dietitian with personal trainer experience
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