As human beings, we are constantly on the move. Juggling work, family, friends and other responsibilities on top of trying to stay sane through it all can be overwhelming. If you’re feeling this, know that you’re not alone. The National Safety Council reported in 2018 that 90% of employers are negatively impacted by their employees feeling fatigue. If you’re a parent, research on parental burnout brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has found “increased exhaustion” among parents taking care of their children. Feeling tired is inevitable in our lives – but what do you do if you’re feeling tired 24/7?
The rundown on feeling run down
If you look up images related to the word “fatigue”, you’ll come across a variety of cheesy, stock photos of people slumbering away on their desk or in bed. Sleepiness, however, is different from feeling fatigue, despite the two being used interchangeably by many. When we are sleepy, it is typically due to a long day of physical and mental activity that is treated by a restful, (ideally) 8 hours of sweet, sweet REM. Fatigue, on the other hand, runs deeper.
Fatigue is the body’s way of saying: “I know we got enough sleep, but I still feel tired!” It is a whole-body feeling of tiredness that doesn’t go away after a cat nap or resting – it’s basically the feeling of having just ran a marathon with a weighted vest…except you didn’t. (And if you did, stop reading this and go take a nap! You should feel better tomorrow.)
Feeling fatigue can be acute, meaning it only lasts for a few weeks, but if has become chronic for you and affecting your ability to function for a few months, it is best to consult your doctor on what health factors may be the cause. Luckily, there are some tweaks we can make to our lifestyle that can help prevent fatigue from infiltrating our lives.
Good quality sleep
Notice how we said “good” sleep instead of “enough” sleep? We’ve all heard of the recommended 8 hours of sleep that we need, but what good is it if we find ourselves waking up throughout the night? The quantity of sleeping hours is important, no doubt, but inadequate sleep can take a psychological toll on us – and we may not even recognize it at first. So, how can we make those 8 hours of sleep the best sleep of our lives?
- Turn off your phone: Listen, we understand getting caught up on the @daybreakcacao Instagram page to wind down at night, but research shows that exposure to blue light over a two hour period suppresses melatonin, an important hormone for sleep. If you have trouble putting your phone away before bed, try finding a more relaxing activity, such as reading, that can ease your mind.
Kick caffeine to the curb
Society at large seems to have a toxic relationship with caffeine. It is there for us when we’re exhausted, boosting up our energy at the start of a busy day, but then leaves us in the dust with a mid-day slump, tempting us with another cup! Caffeine is associated with many negative side effects, such as insomnia, headaches, dizziness, etc. So why do we still find ourselves reaching for that cup of coffee?
Caffeine is shown to produce a dopamine release, which plays an important role in high levels of caffeine dependence that makes it difficult to stop taking it. Despite the temporary energy fix we gain from caffeine, there are risks to caffeine dependence, especially if you find yourself suffering from fatigue.
Unfortunately, popular coffee brands mask these negative effects with their trendy coffee creations and relaxing vibes. Energy drink companies also steer the focus away from these risks and instead focus on that quick, energy boost with their unique, onomatopoeia names and famous athlete endorsements.
As an alternative, drinks that contain natural, energizing ingredients can produce that same energetic boost, but without the negative side effects! At Daybreak Cacao, we thrive on our Cacao + Mushroom Morning Mix because of its simple ingredients that come straight from nature and into your mug. Made from chocolate’s all-natural friend cacao, functional mushrooms and four other superfoods, the Cacao + Morning Mix will deliciously enhance your morning while giving you the nutrients you need to take on the day. We guarantee you won’t be missing your favorite cup of coffee!
Move your body
When you’re feeling tired, the last thing you want to do is get up and exercise. Research published in the Psychological Bulletin journal says, however, that exercise is the exact thing you should do to increase your energy and reduce fatigue. You know that well-known saying circulating around social media that says “exercise releases happy hormones”? These happy hormones, endorphins, help relieve pain and boost happiness, helping you feel more confident, stress-free and relaxed and energized throughout the day.
A study conducted on adults dealing with insomnia showed that aerobic exercise improved their sleep and quality of life. Better quality sleep, as mentioned above, would do wonders to helping you feel less tired throughout the day!
Aerobic exercise may sound a little daunting at first, but it simply consists of activities that you may already be doing, such as going for a brisk walk, running, swimming or cycling. Aerobic means “with oxygen”, which basically refers to an increase in oxygen in your blood as you exercise. So don’t be afraid to get your heart rate going as you begin to exercise – your body will thank you in many different ways (reducing your fatigue being one of them!).
A toast to hydration
It is recommended by many health specialists that we drink about half a gallon of water 8 oz of water per day in order to stay hydrated. Let’s face it though – it can be a little tough to get all that water down for all sorts of reasons. This is a worldwide struggle and marketers are banking on this with time-stamped water bottles to make sure you’re getting the fluids you need.
No matter how repetitive doctors' recommendations can get, hydration is what keeps our body running smoothly. It is especially preventative to fatigue, as shown by this study done on a group of individuals who went 24 hours without water. At the end of the trial, the results showed that dehydration caused an increase in fatigue and confusion. When the subjects finally drank water after the experiment, only their confusion had subsided and their fatigue had stayed the same.
When hydrating, it is important to be consistent throughout the day. Even when you’re not thirsty, sipping water throughout the day will not only help you get your daily water intake, but you will also feel less fatigue. So snag your favorite water bottle and drink up!
We can all use a little vitamin D in our lives. In fact, exposing yourself to natural sunlight is shown to improve sleep quality, thus helping us feel more energized throughout the day. Going outside and enjoying the fresh air and sunlight reminds us of the beautiful world that we are surrounded by. It’s actually therapeutic!
Light therapy is a form of therapy that helps treat and ease symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Those suffering from SAD deal with fatigue, but exposure to light helps bring them out from their exhaustion and improve their mood. Whether or not we are dealing with SAD, getting some sunlight in our lives can help us feel happier and have more of a positive outlook on life. When we’re feeling our best emotionally and mentally, we won’t have to deal with the exhaustion and fatigue that comes with a bad mood.
Here’s some of our favorite ways to get outdoors and feel more energized:
So what are you waiting for? Get out into the world and see what possibilities are waiting for you!