Your vitality is being sapped by more than just a lack of sleep. Little things you do (or don’t do) may drain you psychologically and physically, making it difficult to get through your day. Experts highlight typical negative behaviors that might make you fatigued, as well as easy lifestyle changes that can help you reclaim your energy.
1.You don’t workout when you’re fatigued
Skipping an exercise to conserve energy is really counterproductive. Sedentary but otherwise healthy individuals who began exercising gently three days a week for as little as 20 minutes at a time for six weeks reported feeling less weary and more invigorated, according to a University of Georgia research. Regular exercise improves strength and endurance, improves the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, and improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. So the next time you’re tempted to collapse on the sofa, take a quick stroll instead—you won’t be sorry.
2. You are not getting enough water.
According to Amy Goodson, RD, a nutritionist with Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine, even mild dehydration—as little as 2% of usual fluid loss—wreaks havoc on energy levels. According to Goodson, dehydration produces a decrease in blood volume, which causes the blood to thicken. As a result, your heart has to work harder to pump blood, slowing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and organs. Goodson advises dividing your weight in pounds in half and drinking that amount of ounces of fluid each day to determine your usual fluid needs.
3. You don’t eat breakfast
Your body is fuelled by the food you eat, and your body uses what you ate for supper the night before to keep your blood beating and oxygen flowing while you sleep. As a result, you must refuel with breakfast when you get up in the morning. You’ll feel lethargic if you skip it. “Kickstarting your metabolism with breakfast is like starting a fire in your body,” Goodson explains. Breakfast should include whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fat, according to Goodson. Oatmeal with protein powder and a dab of peanut butter, a smoothie with fruit, protein powder, low-fat milk, and almond butter, and eggs with two pieces of whole-wheat bread and low-fat Greek yogurt are all good options.
4. You’re not getting enough iron in your diet.
A lack of iron might make you feel lethargic, irritated, weak, and unable to concentrate. “You get weary because less oxygen gets to the muscles and cells,” Goodson explains. To lower your risk of anemia, consume more iron-rich foods like lean beef, kidney beans, tofu, eggs (with the yolk), dark green leafy vegetables, almonds, and peanut butter, and combine them with vitamin C-rich foods (vitamin C promotes iron absorption when eaten together), according to Goodson. Note that an iron shortage might be the result of an underlying health issue, so if you’re having these iron deficiency symptoms, you should see your doctor.
5. You eat nothing but junk food.
Foods heavy in sugar and simple carbohydrates (like those found in a box or at the drive-thru window) have a high glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly carbohydrates raise blood sugar. According to Goodson, constant blood sugar increases followed by rapid dips produce weariness throughout the day. Goodson recommends eating a lean protein and a nutritious grain at each meal to keep blood sugar levels stable. Chicken (baked, not fried) and brown rice, salmon and sweet potato, or a salad with chicken and fruit are all good options.
6. You drink wine before going to bed.
A nightcap may appear to be a relaxing way to unwind before bed, but it may quickly backfire. According to Allen Towfigh, MD, medical director of New York Neurology & Sleep Medicine, P.C. in New York City, alcohol first depresses the central nervous system, causing a sedative effect. “However, it sabotages sleep maintenance in the long run.” According to him, as alcohol is digested, it has a rebound effect, which causes a sudden increase in the adrenaline system. This is why, after drinking, you’re more prone to wake up in the middle of the night. Dr. Towfigh advises abstaining from any alcoholic beverages three to four hours before night.
7. You rely on coffee to get through the day
Starting your day with a java rush isn’t a huge deal—in fact, studies suggest that up to three cups of coffee per day are beneficial—but, according to Dr. Towfigh, taking caffeine incorrectly may drastically alter your sleep-wake cycle. He says that caffeine suppresses adenosine, a byproduct of active cells that, when it accumulates, causes you to fall asleep. Caffeine use even six hours before bedtime has been shown to impair sleep in a research published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, so cut yourself off by mid-afternoon and keep an eye out for these surprise caffeine sources.
8. You work in a cluttered environment.
According to a Princeton University research, a crowded desk mentally exhausts you by inhibiting your capacity to focus and limiting your brain’s ability to assimilate information. “Make sure your work and personal belongings are organized and put away at the end of each day,” Lombardo advises. “It will help you get off to a good start the next morning.” If your workplace requires extensive reorganization, take it one step at a time to avoid being overwhelmed: start by cleaning what you can see, then work your way through your desk and cupboards drawer by drawer.
9. You stay up late on weekends.
According to Dr. Towfigh, staying up late on Saturday night and then sleeping in on Sunday morning results in trouble falling asleep on Sunday night—and a sleep-deprived Monday morning. Because staying in might limit your social life, attempt to get up at a reasonable hour the next morning and then take a power sleep in the afternoon. “Napping for 20 minutes or so helps the body to recharge without entering the deeper phases of sleep, which might make you feel more exhausted when you wake up,” he explains.