Tips to Beat Fatigue
Essential advice on how to avoid tiredness
We’ve all been there: those days when you wake up shattered, can barely drag yourself into work, and then struggle to keep your head off the desk. More often than not this is because you had a particularly late night which has left your body crying out for more sleep.
On the other hand, sometimes you may be getting to bed in good time, thinking you’ll get a good night’s sleep, and yet when the morning arrives you still feel like every waking thought and movement is a real effort. Here’s 10 tips to help you beat fatigue:
Get enough sleep
It may be stating the obvious, but to avoid tiredness you should ensure you get enough sleep! Remember that your body needs sleep in order to recharge — and staying up and watching a movie which starts at midnight isn’t going to help! If you are having any trouble sleeping, then aim to have a better sleep routine such as going to bed and getting up at the same time. You could also improve your sleeping environment by making sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and comfortable. Also, by using your bedroom for sleep alone, your body will come to associate it with sleeping rather than reading or watching TV.
Try to avoid stress
Stress is one of the most common reasons for feeling tired — so beating stress will naturally help to alleviate your tiredness. There are several ways in which to tackle stress, but the most important thing to do is identify what is causing your stress in the first place. It may be work that is the main cause of your stress — perhaps because of bad work relationships, long hours, or an unfulfilling job. If that’s the case, then look at your options about how you can improve the situation. Also, make sure you switch off from work in your leisure time, and try out some relaxation techniques such as having a massage, taking a hot bath or listening to some music.
Improve your diet and eat well
Your diet can have a big impact on how you feel. Without a proper, balanced diet you can start to feel a bit sluggish and are likely to become fatigued — so ensure that you eat healthy meals and at the correct times. Skipping breakfast will ensure you start your day on the wrong footing and force you to run on empty until lunchtime! Eating ‘little and often’ can work for some people, as it means that they’ve got something to sustain them rather than going for longer periods between meals — which will help them to avoid the feeling of being hungry and tired prior to their main meals. Keeping blood sugar levels stable is also important to avoid fatigue — so make sure you eat enough carbohydrates.
Avoid caffeine in the evening
While caffeine might be great for giving you a boost in the daytime, and while some people just can’t do without their early morning wake-up cuppa, by the evening time you really need to start thinking about laying off the caffeine unless you want to get a restless night’s sleep! Caffeine — contained in things such as tea, coffee, chocolate and cola drinks — can cause restlessness and sleeping difficulties, which will only add to your tiredness the next day. It may also result in you needing more caffeine to keep you going — so it’s best to try and break the cycle by cutting down on the amount of caffeine you drink.
People frequently get in the habit of trying to do too much. The demands they are putting on themselves may leave them feel fatigued — and if there are not enough hours in the day to juggle their job, family and friends, then they may end up not getting enough sleep either. On the other hand, having a more balanced lifestyle, making some time for yourself, and learning to relax and slow down sometimes will mean you’ll be more able to function efficiently. Think about what you could change to give yourself more time for relaxation. It’s also best to have realistic expectations about what you can achieve rather than running yourself into the ground!
Exercise to boost your energy levels
Physical activity is a great way of boosting your energy levels and avoiding fatigue. If you’re unfit, then that generally makes you feel tired, and being tired means you won’t feel like exercising! You may have to break this cycle of inactivity to get yourself feeling less tired and more energized. Just introduce some physical activity into your routine — even if this means simply getting off the bus a few stops earlier and walking the rest of the way to work, or even cycling in. Of course, if you can also fit in some other exercise into your day, such as running, swimming or going the gym, then great. Just make sure you keep it regular and that it fits in with your life.
Drink adequate amounts of water
Don’t forget to keep hydrated throughout the day, as this can also help to prevent tiredness. The recommended daily amount is around two liters per day, but this depends on other factors such as your work environment or how much physical activity you get through in a day. Water is thought to make up around 80 per cent of the brain — and so poor hydration can adversely affect your mental as well as your physical performance. In fact, such is the link between water and performance, it is not uncommon for schools to allow children to have water to drink throughout the day in the classroom — and the same idea should certainly be applied in your own workplace. The best way to stay well hydrated throughout each day is to have a water bottle within arm’s reach at all times.
Try to avoid alcohol
While alcohol can be great for helping you relax, it can also have the effect of making you feel tired — both in the long-term and the short-term. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system and acts as a sedative — so those couple of ‘harmless’ drinks at lunchtime may have the effect of sending you off to sleep come mid-afternoon! Alcohol can also adversely affect your sleep patterns, particularly if you drink just before bed. If you do drink before bed, then while you might crash out initially, your sleep pattern will be disturbed — and not just by fact that you’ll probably need to relieve yourself in the middle of the night! Also, on the following day, you may have to suffer both the effects of a hangover and the associated tiredness.
Try complementary therapies
Complementary therapies can be helpful when you need to alleviate fatigue by promoting relaxation so that you get a proper night’s sleep. Reflexology, aromatherapy, acupuncture, yoga and massage are just some of the meditation or relaxation techniques you can try. A more relaxed you means your body will be able recharge itself more effectively and you’ll probably also have much more quality sleep time. Complementary therapies can help you to feel more refreshed, invigorated, and able do your daily tasks more efficiently — and this will free up more time for yourself!
Get outdoors and breathe!
Being outside can be a great revitaliser. Even just 10 minutes outside during your lunch break breathing in some fresh air can put the spring back in your step. The body thrives on getting sunlight — so being stuck in an office or factory space is only going to bring on feelings of tiredness. Get out there and make the most of the daylight hours when you can — and if you can combine this with some physical activity, then all the better. Also, when you’re outside, remember to breathe properly! Apparently most of us don’t breathe properly and are chest breathers rather than taking it right down to the abdomen. So, take a little time each day to focus on your breathing to help you re-energize.
A final word on beating fatigue…
Fatigue is usually a temporary situation brought on by overdoing it on a particular day or group of days, and it can be lessened or avoided altogether by using some of the simple measures mentioned above. However, persistent tiredness can also be more a long-term thing and lead to problems with your ability to function on day-to-day basis. Good lifestyle choices — including a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep management — should eliminate long-term tiredness, but if fatigue persists then seek help from your doctor.
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