Remember when you were a kid? You could go out and run around, ride bikes, and play all day and never feel tired? What happened to those days? Many of my patients come to me feeling fatigued with no outstanding health issues, apart from lifestyle factors like stress, not enough sleep, and busy lives. Energy drinks and caffeine are loaded with ingredients that not only are bad for you (such as too much sugar), but often only offer short-term benefit to the fatigue issue and long-term problems (further disturbing your sleep schedule, for example). What you probably need are some easy, healthy ways to boost your energy during the day. Good news! I’ve got some ideas for you!
Get Enough Sleep – I know this seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often this is an issue for my patients who stay up late to complete their daily to-do list. If this is you, you’ll be so much more efficient if you get enough sleep at night. Make it a relaxing ritual. Turn off all your electronics, practice deep breathing, or meditate. Buy a comfortable robe or a sleep mask and make strive for some alone time before sleep. Just get on a schedule that allows you six to eight hours (depending on your own personal sleep needs) a night. For a quick energy boost, try a short 15-minute (but no longer) power nap. You might be surprised at how well it works! For those who snore at night or have frequent daytime sleepiness, make sure to ask your physician about a sleep study, as sleep apnea is very common and one of the major causes of fatigue for many people.
Exercise – Research has shown that people who exercise regularly don’t feel as tired during the day. Second, exercise reduces stress, which could be contributing to your fatigue. The next time you’re feeling tired at your desk, get up for a brisk 10-minute walk, or do some yoga stretches.
Stay Hydrated- from helping to fight off heart disease to helping to keep your skin clear, I cannot stress the importance of water has on your health. Drinking enough water can even help you feel less fatigued. Being dehydrated can leave you feeling drained and fatigued. If you notice yourself feeling like this, make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.
Reach for Essential Minerals – Studies have shown that a lack of certain minerals, such as magnesium or folate, can leave you feeling fatigued. It just so happens that you can get these into your system pretty easily by eating a handful of nuts – specifically almonds or peanuts – which are easy to carry with you and are a good source of protein as well.
Watch Your Sugar Intake – Blood sugar can be responsible for so much of how you feel. Too much, and you’ll probably experience a sugar high followed by a huge crash – like when you eat a piece of office cake at lunch and need a nap by 2. Too little and you’ll probably feel tired and cranky until you’re starving, which leaves you more likely to crave sugar, binge eat, and then crash. The best strategy is to eat small, healthy meals throughout the day that are full of fiber, and avoid food items with added sugar.
Schedule yearly physicians and talk to your doctor about your fatigue so he or she can offer additional ideas to boost your energy during the day or evaluate whether some tests may be needed to rule out serious health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and thyroid disorders that may be sapping your energy.