Do you ever feel tired, worn out, groggy, unmotivated, or lackadaisical? Do you wake up in the morning feeling tired, meander through the day without a sense of purpose, and then crash when the day is done?
Millions of Americans regularly experience fatigue and complain about being tired throughout the day. But instead of turning to medication or unhealthy habits, we must find healthy solutions to boost energy levels and stay alert.
Why Do We Get Fatigued?
As human beings, we have finite energy levels, limited capacities for focus, and bodies and minds that are highly influenced by our habits and behaviors. The onset of fatigue is a reminder that we have limitations.
“Simply put, fatigue is the feeling of being tired,” MedicalNewsToday explains. “It is generally different from the sleepy feeling of drowsiness, or the psychological feeling of apathy, although these might both accompany fatigue.”
People who are fatigued may feel like they have reduced energy levels, mental exhaustion, or a lack of motivation to accomplish even the most basic tasks.
Feeling tired is normal. Feeling fatigued on a regular or chronic basis isn’t normal. And contrary to popular belief, it’s not always the result of a disease or major health complication. In many cases, fatigue is the direct byproduct of unhealthy dietary and/or lifestyle habits.
The Healthiest Ways to Boost Energy Levels
Depending on the cause of your fatigue, regaining your energy may be as simple as introducing healthier choices back into your daily routine. Here are a few simple suggestions and strategies:
- Get Enough Sleep
Though every person has unique needs, more sleep is something we all need. Even though it’s consistently viewed as one of the most important factors in healthy living, somewhere around 33 percent of adults don’t get enough sleep. If you’re getting less than seven hours per night, a lack of sleep is at least partially responsible for your fatigue. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep and develop a proper bedtime routine to help you fall asleep faster (and stay asleep).
- Eat Balanced Meals
You are what you eat. If you put unhealthy food into your body, you can expect to get unhealthy results. The opposite is true as well.
“Fatigue can be addressed by eating balanced meals that contain enough nutrients to keep your health optimized,” InVite Health explains. “Overeating, or a diet high in processed foods and sugar, can cause your energy levels to drop, as it causes the digestive process to work overtime and leaves you feeling tired.”
It’s better to eat four or five small meals/snacks throughout the day than three large meals. Replacing processed foods with whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy oils will keep you fueled for the day.
- Limit Stress
Occasional stress is normal. Chronic stress and anxiety are not. If you’re experiencing chronic stress, fatigue is a natural symptom of this underlying problem. Removing the stressful situation from your life – or finding healthy ways to cope with it – will help you reclaim some of this lost energy.
- Curb Alcohol Intake
Many people believe that a “nightcap” in the evening will help them fall asleep. And while alcohol does have a mellowing effect – and typically makes it easier to fall asleep – it can dramatically interfere with the quality of sleep you receive. Alcohol interrupts sleep cycles, causes tossing and turning, and – since it’s a diuretic – may cause you to get up and urinate during the middle of the night (which makes it hard for some to go back to sleep). Having said all of this, it’s best if you limit or avoid alcohol intake.
- Stay Hydrated
You may be dehydrated and not even realize it. Depending on your age, your body is 55 to 75 percent water. During the day, you lose some of this water via sweat and urine. If you don’t replace this lost water, dehydration can impact brain functioning, mood, and energy levels. Be sure to drink water throughout the day – even when you aren’t noticeably thirsty.
Live Life on Your Terms
Your life shouldn’t be defined by chronic fatigue. If you feel an overwhelming sense of exhaustion, stop writing it off as a normal part of your busy life and do something about it. Introducing some of these healthy habits into your lifestyle could allow you to reclaim high energy levels.