November 30, 2016: Sleepless nights are not the only reason for an energy-drained body. There are multiple little things you do (or do not do) that can sap both our mental and physical energy, which makes your living through the day a tedious task. Here is a list of things that make you feel tired and some modifications that can be made in your lifestyle to avoid the same and put you back up on your feet.
- Skipping workout sessions when tired
Reserving energy by avoiding exercise works against your objective. A University of Georgia study reveals that inactive but healthy adults who started light workouts for as much as 20 minutes and three days a week are reported to be less fatigued and more energetic after six weeks. Strength and endurance are boosted by regular exercise and also improves the functioning of your cardiovascular system and provides nutrients and oxygen to tissues. A 2016 study showed that older adults who exercise for even 15 minutes a day and do not meet the government recommended 2 hours and 30 minutes are fit enough. So the next time you decide to lay back at home, go out for a walk. You will not regret it.
- Not drinking enough water
Energy levels are affected by even a minute dehydration says Amy Goodson, RD, who is a dietician for the Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine. According to research, an average American consumes about four cups of water a day. Dehydration results in the decrease in blood volume and makes it thicker, says Goodson. This results in less efficient pumping by the heart and slows down the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and organs. For calculating the normal fluid requirements, your weight in pounds is divided in half to get the number of ounces of fluid our body needs in a day.
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- Not consuming enough iron
Iron deficiency results in a lethargic, grumpy and unfocused behavior. “It makes you tired because less oxygen travels to the muscles and cells,” says Goodson. To reduce the risk of anemia, you need to increase your iron intake by loading up on lean beef, kidney beans, tofu, eggs including the yolk, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and peanut butter, and pair them with foods high in vitamin C (vitamin C improves iron absorption when eaten together), suggests Goodson. An iron deficiency in your body may be a result of an underlying health issue. Therefore, if you are suffering from some deficiency symptoms, please visit a doctor.
- Being a perfectionist
Perfection is impossible to achieve but it makes you work longer and harder than required, says Irene S. Levine, PhD, a psychiatry professor New York University School of Medicine. Levine says that “You set goals that are so unrealistic that they are difficult or impossible to achieve, and in the end, there is no sense of self-satisfaction.” Levine suggests setting a time limit on projects, and taking care to follow it. Over the time, you will notice that the extra time you were working was not really making any difference.
- Making mountains out of molehills
If you are terrorized by everything and think that even a small unexpected event can bloat up into a catastrophe or are expecting a worst case scenario to occur always, the anxiety could paralyze you and make you mentally exhausted, said Levine. When you begin to have such thoughts take a deep breath and ask yourself that what is the probability for the worst to occur. Going outdoors, working out, meditating and sharing your problems with friends or family might help you cope better and think in a more pragmatic way.
- Skipping breakfast
Food is fuel for your body. Your body uses the food you eat for dinner at night when you sleep to circulate blood and oxygen continuously. Therefore, you need beakfast in the morning. Goodson says “Eating breakfast is like starting a fire in your body by kick starting your metabolism”. Goodson suggests a breakfast including lean protein, whole grain and healthy fat. Good examples are oatmeal with protein powder and a little bit of peanut butter, a smoothie made of fruit, protein powder, low fat milk, and almond butter or you could eat eggs with two slices of whole wheat toast and low fat Greek yogurt.
- Living on junk food
Foods containing sugar and simple carbs rank high on the glycemic index (GI), which indicates how rapidly carbohydrates increase blood sugar levels. Inconsistent blood sugar levels cause fatigue, says Goodson. To keep the blood sugar levels steady you need a lean protein with a whole grain at every meal, according to Goodson. Appropriate examples are chicken (baked, not fried) and brown rice, salmon and sweet potato, or salad with chicken and fruit.
- Unable to say ‘NO’
Pleasing people can make you resentful and angry over the time and often demands your own energy and happiness. You need to teach yourself to say ‘NO’ out loud, says Susan Albers, a licensed clinical psychologist with Cleveland Clinic and the author of Eat.Q.: Unlock the Weight-Loss Power of Emotional Intelligence. “Try it alone in your car,” she says. “Hearing yourself say the word aloud makes it easier to say it when the next opportunity calls for it.”
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- Keeping a messy office
According to Princeton University study, a disarranged work place exhausts you mentally by restricting the ability to focus and the brains capacity to process information. “At the end of each day, make sure your work and personal items are organized and put away,” suggests Lombardo. “It will help you have a positive start to your day the next morning.” Do not get overwhelmed by the amount of reorganization that needs to take place if it is very untidy. Move through it one step at a time and organize the work place.
- Working through a vacation
Disconnecting and relaxing truly allows you to unwind yourself and feel more relaxed and helps you to reenergize yourself. Lombardo tells Time that checking your email at times when you should be relaxed puts you at a risk of a burnout. “When you truly take breaks, you will be more creative, productive, and effective when you return,” says Lombardo to Time.
- Consuming alcohol before bedtime
Alcohol first depresses the central nervous system and produces a sedative effect, Allen Towfigh, MD, medical director of New York Neurology & Sleep Medicine, P.C., in New York City said to Time. “But it ultimately sabotages sleep maintenance.” When metabolized, alcohol creates a sudden surge in the adrenaline system and hence, you wake up in the middle of the night after you’ve been drinking, he says. Dr. Towfigh suggests that you stop all intake of alcohol three to four hours before you sleep.
- Checking e-mails at bedtime
The body’s natural circadian rhythm can be disturbed by the suppression of melatonin by the glaring light of screens, says Dr. Towfigh. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep and wake cycles. The effects of technology might vary from one to another but is advised to avoid all technology for one to two hours before bedtime, Dr. Towfigh said to TIME. If you cannot avoid it, hold the device at least 14 inches away from your face to reduce sleep interference.
- Relying on caffeine throughout the day
Dr. Towfigh says that up to three cups of coffee daily is healthy but consumption of caffeine in an improper way could seriously disturb your sleep-wake cycle. Caffeine blocks Adenosine which is a byproduct of active cells that drive you to sleep on its accumulation. According to studies, ingestion of caffeine even six hours before bedtime could affect sleep.
- Staying up late on weekends
Staying up late on a Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday afternoon affects the sleep on a Sunday night and hence, results in a sleep deprived Monday, says Dr. Towfigh. Since, staying in can affect your social life, Dr. Towfigh suggest that you try to wake up around your normal time on a Sunday morning and then taking a power nap in the afternoon. “Napping for 20 minutes or so allows the body to recharge without entering the deeper stages of sleep, which can cause you to wake up more tired,” he says.
– by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker