Insufficient sleep isn’t the only culprit for your low energy level. There are many other little things that you do (or don’t do) which leave you feel exhausted both physically and mentally. Below are some of the most common bad habits responsible for your chronic fatigue, plus simple tips to help you pep up.
Skipping exercise when you’re feeling tired
Skipping the work out in order to save energy is actually contra productive. As little as twenty minutes of lightly exercising 3 times a week can help you feel less fatigued and more energized after just few weeks. Regular work out will boost your strength and endurance, bring more oxygen and nutrients to you tissues and help your cardiovascular system to run more efficiently. So next time you’re tempted to just lie on the couch and watch some TV, at least go for a quick walk – it will pay off.
Not drinking enough water
Being just a little dehydrated extremely sinks the energy levels. Dehydration reduces the blood volume, which will make the blood thicker. That makes the pumping of your heart less efficient, decreasing the speed at which nutrients and oxygen are reaching your organs and muscles. To determine your optimal fluid needs, divide your weight in half (in pounds) and that number in ounces should be your daily intake of fluid.
Not enough iron can make you weak, irritable, unable to focus and sluggish. Since less oxygen travels to the cells and muscles, that leaves you feeling tired. Increasing your iron intake reduces the risk of anemia – make sure you eat more kidney beans, eggs (with yolks), peanut butter, lean beef, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables and nuts, and combine them with vitamin C rich foods, which will improve the iron absorption. Behind the iron deficiency may hide some health problem, so if you’re suffering from iron deficiency, you should make an appointment to your doctor.
Being a perfectionist
Is it possible to be perfect? Of course not, but if you set unrealistic, difficult to achieve goals, you’ll work much harder and longer than necessary, without the anticipated feeling of self-satisfaction in the end. Set a time limit for your projects and take care to obey it. After a while you’ll notice that the extra time you were taking before wasn’t really improving your results.
Food is the main fuel for your body, and during the night rest your body continues using the food you ate the evening before to keep your blood circulating and oxygen flowing. After waking up you are supposed to refuel yourself by eating breakfast. If you skip or delay it, you will feel sluggish and weak. Healthy examples of breakfast include a smoothie with low-fat milk, protein powder fruits and almond butter; porridge oats with protein powder and a bit of peanut butter; two slices of whole grains toast with 2 eggs and low fat yoghurt.
Too much junk food
Your favorite foods from drive-thru window are loaded with sugar and simple carbohydrates, which rapidly increase blood sugar levels. Regular sudden rises of the blood sugar followed by quick drops are causing fatigue throughout the day. By eating a whole grain along with a lean protein at every meal you’ll manage to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Good combinations: baked chicken with brown rice, sweet potato with salmon, or chicken with salad and fruits.
Never giving ‘no’ for an answer
Being a people-pleaser sucks up your energy and happiness, and can make you angry and resentful over time. So next time when your boss asks if you can work the following Saturday, you don’t have to say ‘yes’. Practice saying ‘no’ out loud – hearing yourself saying the word makes it lot easier to say it to someone else when the next situation occurs.
Drinking glass of wine before bedtime
A drink or two to relax before falling asleep sounds like a good idea, but it will most likely backfire. After the initial sedative effect, alcohol sabotages sleep maintenance by creating a sudden rise of the adrenaline level. That is the reason why you wake up during the night after you’ve been drinking. It’s highly recommendable to finish your drink 3-4 hours prior to bedtime.
Staying up late on weekends
Sleeping on Sundays until noon after late party on Saturday night can disturb falling asleep the following night, and leads to sleep-deprived Monday morning. Whenever you go in bed in the wee small hours, try to wake up the next morning close to your normal waking time. If necessary, take a short nap in the afternoon. These power naps of 20 minutes give your body a chance to recharge without entering the REM phase (deep stage of sleep), which can cause you to feel even more tired after you wake up.
Too much caffeine throughout the day
If you normally start your day with a double espresso or so, you don’t have to worry. On the contrary, many studies have shown that 2-3 cups of coffee on a daily basis can even be beneficial for you. The problem occurs if you overdo it or consume it less than 6 hours prior to bedtime. Caffeine, through blocking the adenosine (byproduct of active cells, responsible for falling asleep) negatively affects your sleep. So be sure you finish your last one by mid-afternoon, and try to avoid some other products that are hidden sources of caffeine, such as non-cola sodas, chocolate and chocolate ice cream, weight-loss pills, pain relievers, energy water, instant oatmeal – just to name a few.