What are you doing right now? Are you sitting down in your cubicle feeling tired and having no energy whatsoever? And you continue surfing the internet to overcome your tiredness and hoping the break will help you restore your energy?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Same my friend.
Multiple sources have shown that the key to optimum energy level is Food, Sleep & Exercise. I know this sounds oversimplified and repetitive. But it serves as the basic indicator for our energy level.
Sluggish in the morning? Probably not enough sleep. Mid-afternoon crash? Probably your diet is too high in carbohydrates. Enough sleep and a good diet but still don’t have the desired energy? Probably you hit the couch too often and not enough exercise.
(Of course, if you have taken care of all of these but still feel tired, seek help from your doctor. You might have a health-related issue)
So, how exactly should we tackle this issue and regain back our energy?
Let’s dive right in,
The 7 tips to help feel more energized throughout the day
1. Fix sleep cycle: Do not oversleep & get up at a consistent time each day
Sleeping is the most essential and powerful aspect of restoring our energy level.
But the problem is that is the easiest part that gets neglected.
How to restore our energy by sleeping? By fixing our circadian rhythm which works well with routine and consistency. Just waking up and going to bed at a consistent time every single day will help us get into the rhythm and achieve that deep sleep. Deep sleep is essential for feeling more rested and more energized the next morning.
So how do get into this deep sleep?
Our sleep is divided into two: Rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement sleep (non-REM). The sleep will begin with the non-REM sleep which has 4 stages, followed by REM sleep, and the cycle continues every 90 minutes throughout the night. Deep and restful sleep happens at the final stage of non- REM sleep.
So that is why interrupted sleep will let us feel more exhausted the next morning. The only way to get that restorative sleep is to allow us to sleep deep enough and reach the last stage of non-REM sleep.
Another important aspect when we talk about sleep is the duration of sleep. Of course, not having enough sleep will cause us to feel tired but having too much sleep will give the same effect, if not, worst. Normal adults need around 7-8 hours of sleep daily, but of course, certain people work well with 6 hours of sleep.
My point is, rather than the duration of sleep, focus more on the consistency and predictability of our sleep schedule. The key idea is to have an appropriate amount of sleep and be consistent with the time we sleep and get up the next morning. Fixing our sleep schedule encourages us to get more deep and well-rested sleep, hence more energy.
2. Taking care of the diet
This is probably the notion that everyone knows but doesn’t really practice it. I am guilty as charged. Eat more greens, especially the dark leafy greens, incorporating more complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. That’s it.
But, if you are basically eating a healthy diet but still feeling sluggish and tired, include more folate, Vitamin B12, and iron. All these sources help fuel more energy to our body. Oh, and just cut down the white sugar, it is as addictive as drugs and might inflame our gut. Which will contribute to the feeling of lethargy or tiredness.
Okay, that’s about what to eat, how about the frequency of eating?
This might sound weird but one way to increase mental alertness is by depriving your body of food. Or simply say, fasting. Scientists have found a hormone called orexin that is released in our body to help increase alertness and feeling less tired. And fasting can increase the orexin level.
That is why the idea of having only one meal per day have gained mass interest in recent time. They claim by only having one meal per day has helped them feel more focused, more alert as more oxygen is directed to the brain rather than their gut.
Oh, did I mention, obese people with the tired and sluggish issue have a lesser level of orexin in the body? The same goes when we consume high carbohydrates in our diet, the orexin will just decrease, causing us to feel more tired.
There are 2 different schools of thought though. Because all this while, we have been informed that humankind needs 3 meals per day with 3 snacks in between to regulate our blood glucose level in the body. But now, scientists have proven that the lesser the frequency of eating might help contribute to more energy and more mental alertness.
Probably we need to try ourselves first and observe how our body responds in these two different scenarios. To be honest, I’m a fan of fasting, or some say intermittent fasting. I will skip breakfast and stop eating by 8 pm. This helps me with staying focused in the morning and tackling difficult, decision-making tasks.
So, if you want more energy: eat the correct food and watch the frequency of eating.
3. Control your caffeine intake
Caffeine is one of the stimulants that give you an immediate rush (adrenaline spiking) and an ‘energized’ feeling. That’s why we drink coffee in the morning. But the thing is, the high feeling that we get after drinking coffee will be followed by a crash that leaves us feeling slightly a bit stressed all day.
And sad to say sometimes, we get too dependent on coffee. When we feel that tired and sleepy post-lunch, we amp our bodies with coffee. Post work before working out, we get another coffee. We don’t even let the caffeine get out of our system.
The issue with caffeine is that it stays longer in our body more than we think. if you take caffeine after 2-3 pm, it will stay in your body until the sleeping time. The half-life of caffeine is about 5-7 hours. Meaning to say if you make coffee at 2-3 pm, the caffeine will stay in the body till 3 am! That explains why we get that interrupted sleep and difficulty in sleeping.
Maybe we must learn how to control and not misuse the caffeine by setting up a cut-off time we are allowed to take caffeine.
Think about it in the slightly longer term. Yes, we want energy, but not only now, but we also want to feel energized on the next day as well. So, if we continuously fill the body with caffeine, when we can have that deep well-rested sleep, that will also contribute to our energy level?
If still feel tired mid-day, maybe we should start controlling the amount of carbohydrates and sugar during lunch, or maybe slot in some burpees or skipping whenever we feel tired or sleepy. Both give a better alternative compared to another cup of coffee.
4. Get sunlight
Natural light is extremely important to our mental and physical health. And not getting adequate sunlight might contribute to tiredness as well.
In this study, the researcher compared 2 groups based on exposure to daylight and artificial light for several days. They found out that the group with natural sunlight perform better in the sense that they felt less sleepy and tired compared to the group with artificial lighting.
Plus, not enough exposure to sunlight can disrupt the circadian rhythm which again contributes to the feeling of fatigue or tiredness. The solution is simple, get enough of the sunlight
It’s free, gives us free vitamin D, and good for our body. What not to like? Just be out in the sun and soak the glory of it.
5. Maintain hydration
Our body main composition is fluid, what more can I say. The fluid-filled with electrolytes bathed our cells and tissue to help them do their function. Just imagine, we deprived our cells of their need by not drinking enough water.
“Staying hydrated helps maintain our energy levels by keeping our muscles energized. Plus, dehydration can manifest as fatigue or low energy, so staying hydrated will help prevent that. Even mild dehydration can affect your mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly.”
I used to get mild to moderate headaches now and then. At first, I thought it is because of the blue screen, so I wear that blue light filter spectacle. But I still get the headache. Then my friends pointed out that I am dehydrated. That explains why I always feel tired and chapped lips.
of course, you will not immediately feel energized just by drinking water. But you can feel more refreshed and well hydrated which gives that extra boost to reduce tiredness.
6. Incorporate exercise in daily routine
I usually have this idea that if I work out, I will feel more tired. You know because I have to use my energy to work out and all. So I just rest and lie down after work, you know to conserve whatever energy I had left.
Well let’s just say, I am completely wrong
Most highly prolific individuals incorporate working out in their daily routine. Why? Because they want to have more energy throughout the day. As simple as walking 10,000 steps per day or lifting weight in the gym, just by being active, we are increasing our energy level. If you are just about to start, it will take about a few days of working out before your body identify that you are active and the body will provide that extra energy.
“Exercise help increase the release of endorphins, our body’s natural hormone that gives us more energy to make us move and perform certain activities” – Dr. Gotlin.
I can vow on this. I despise exercise of any kind. I consider walking to my car at the car park as one of exercise. But before the new year, I made a promise with myself to at least complete one of those 2 weeks challenge home workout exercises. I hate it but I force myself to do it consistently. Just after 3-4 days, I can feel the difference.
My energy level skyrocket. I don’t get that mid-day slump I used to have. And I can sleep very well ever since I start working out. It’s like the way to get out of the tiredness to move more. This is not only me but scientists have also found that 20-minute working on the treadmill will give the state of mental alertness like a cup of coffee.
So, the next time you have the urge to get your 4-5th cup of coffee in the afternoon, go out and talk a walk instead.
7. Change your mindset
Does mindset help with the energy level? Well not directly if we view the energy as per ‘energy’ is. What I mean is, sometimes being tired includes the mental component as well.
Decide that you are not tired and talk to yourself that is not tired. I know I sound crazy. But just noticed that when we decided that we are tired, look at our posture, that drooping shoulder, the facial expression. But if we try to snap out of it, it might help in a certain situation.
But, you know yourself well. If you have worked long hours or something is happening in your life and you need extra time to recover, then take a break. You feel tired and low energy because your body needs to take some time to feel better and that’s ok.
But if you have enough 8 hours of sleep, a nice coffee, and breakfast, try to talk yourself out first. Maybe you are not tired. Maybe you are just bored. Or uninspired that you feel as having no energy.
(But if you feel tired often for no reason, please seek professional help as some mental disorder presented as continuously feeling tired).
Here is 3 mindset trick that might indirectly help you with the idea of being tired:
- Work towards something you enjoy and are passionate about
- Find something that excites you to jump out of the bed. The moment you wake up, you have something to look forward to every morning. Find that passion that ignites your energy. when you feel enthusiastic about something, you will generally feel a bit more in control and energized.
- Plan your month and have a birdseye view roughly how your month looks like
- Preparation and scheduling are key to avoiding feeling overwhelmed and draining out. Both can impact your energy level.
- Identify what makes you feel energized and set the environment that will help you with that and be consistent.
So there you go. 7 tips to help feel more energized throughout the day.
Share your favourite tip by commenting on this post.