Why are you always tired?

It is already 8 o'clock in the morning. The sun is shining through your bedroom window and you know you should be getting up. Instead, you turn around, face away from the light and go back to sleep. When you finally do wake up, it is well past 10 and the morning is almost over. You go over to the kitchen, flip on your coffee machine and make yourself a nice warm cup of cappuccino. You go through the day on an auto pilot, unmotivated, and constantly tired, ready to fall asleep any moment.

Why is then, that even after sleeping well into the late hours of the morning, we still feel tired? No matter how many coffees we drink or how hard we force ourselves. The minute we sit down to do our work nothing sticks.

I have been searching for an answer for a long time now; unfortunately, I don't think there is one. However, there are some techniques you can do to help your energy levels and here are my favourite five.

Number 1 - sleep

"Sleep is the best meditation". Dalai Lama

Have you ever heard a saying "early to bed and early to rise, makes a men healthy, wealthy, and wise."; or another one "early bird catches the worm". There is a very good reason for their existence. It is this: your sleep is made up of cycles. These are when your brain moves between non-REM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM stages. These cycles remain fairly consistent throughout your sleep, but the non-REM dominate the early hours of your sleep or put differently, the late hours of the day if you are already asleep. The non-REM are much deeper and more restorative.

You can think about this differently. From the early days of our existence, we have been relying on sun to live our lives. Electricity was only invented in late 19th century and it took a while before light bulb became a norm in our lives. Because of all of that we are pre-programmed to sleep when it is dark and be awake when it's bright. The more we shift away from that pattern the harder it is for our bodies.

Number 2 - light

Dr. Andrew Huberman, neuroscientist and tenured professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, recommends to view the sunlight for two to 10 minutes every morning upon waking. This does two things. It triggers the timed release of healthy amount of cortisol, which acts as a wake-up signal and will promote wakefulness and ability to focus throughout the day. Second, it starts a timer for the onset of melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for sleep. In the end you set in motion two processes - one for wakefulnes and one for sleepiness later in the day.

Number 3 - food

The WHO organisation recommends that a healthy diet should include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grain. It should limit the amount of unsaturated fats, sugars and salt.

Avoid uncontrolled snacking in the evening. Even though there is no direct link between late night eating and poor health benefits, there is a risk that your choice of food in the evening will be an unhealthy snack.

Lastly, stay hungry. I don't mean starving yourself for days on end, but fasting for short periods of time. You will also appreciate your meal more when you get to it.

Number 4 - exercise

Robert Gotlin, an expert is sports medicine in Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, claims that regular exercises benefit your overall health and boost your energy levels. This happens through increased level of endorphins, which is released when we are active, and through healthier heart. Exercise will improve your cardiovascular system that will return benefits throughoutthe day and ultimately keep you going for longer.

Number 5 - staying hydrated

Dehydration is a major problem. Among many other symptoms, it leads to loss of strength and stamina. Even very mild levels of dehydration can manifest in mood swings, reduced energy levels and affect our ability to think clearly.

Why does water matter? Well, cells in your body need adequate hydration to optimise production of energy. If you are lacking hydration then your ability to produce energy is reduced and you end up being fatigued.

So, drink water. Every time you can. Order water at the restaurant, use water fountain in the gym, get one of those portable water bottles that you can carry around with you to remind you to drink. You can also increase your water consumption by eating more fruits and vegetables as these typically have high water proportion.

So, there you go, these are my five methods that help me stay energised throughout the day. Try it, test it. If it helps, great. If not, it's ok. We are all different after all, and there is no "one size fits all" solution. Share your thoughts.

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Unti next time.

M | K