Why Am I So Tired?
Monday, September 13, 2010

If you've been feeling a lot of sleepiness in your daily life, here are some tips to getting perked up and reviving your energy levels. But first, you should see your physician if you're experiencing chronic fatigue, since some serious illnesses like diabetes have fatigue as a symptom. If you're otherwise healthy but just need some extra energy, keep these tactics in mind.

The first recommendation is to exercise. Although it may seem counter-intuitive (and difficult) to work out when you're tired, it turns out that physical activity can actually give you more energy and invigorate you. The second thing to work on is to go to sleep early enough to get a full night's sleep, preferably so that you wake up naturally without need for your alarm. Clearly, though, this goal is hard to achieve in practice.Thus, another useful tip is to take a nap during the afternoon- usually at your most sleepy point in your circadian rhythm (about 8 hours after you wake up). Naps can restore your mind and body without taking up too much time, revitalizing your energy and improving performance. The optimal length of time for a nap is 20 minutes. Shorter, and you won't get much out of it. Longer, and you may find it harder to sleep at night.

Other ways to boost energy and ward of sleepiness involve our diet and consumption. Drinking plenty of water and fluids throughout the day is one important way to stay energized, since dehydration makes us tried and lethargic. It also turns out that omega-3 fish oils- in addition to being good for the heart- may improve alertness and mental reaction times. Some experts say that eating smaller meals more often throughout the day can can help maintain energy and balance blood sugar levels. It's also important to eat foods that will give you real, sustainable energy (whole grams and complex carbs) rather than a quick, sugary boost followed by a crash (soda, candy, sweets). Be aware also that people who are overweight are more likely to experience fatigue and tire easily. If you're overweight, shedding extra weight could help you gain more energy.