Bright-eyed and bushy tailed
We all have those days when we just don’t seem to have the energy we need to make it from task to task without crashing on the couch for a long nap. Going to sleep is definitely one effective way to combat fatigue, but when a catnap is out of the question, we sometimes reach for artificial stimulants like coffee and other sugary, caffeinated beverages. They may do the trick, but they’re not necessarily the healthiest way to deal with tiredness.
So what can you do to keep your energy levels up without always resorting to a cup of coffee to keep you alert? First of all, talk to your doctor if your fatigue is chronic. Sometimes there are serious medical conditions that might be causing your drowsiness, but it can also be caused by a lack of iron or simple vitamin deficiency.1 Your doctor can determine if there is a physical cause for your ongoing fatigue.
If everything checks out fine at your doctor’s appointment, try these suggestions the next time you’re battling fatigue:
- Have a glass of water. Dehydration can actually cause physical changes to the brain that contribute to fatigue, so always make sure you’re drinking enough healthy fluids during the day.2 Visit WebMD to find out how much water you and your children should be drinking throughout the day to stay healthy and active, and check out our article on smoothies which can be a great, healthy way to add both fluid and nutrients to your diet.
- Get some exercise. Yes, walking around the block may be the last thing you feel like doing when you’re tired, but studies have shown that exercise can actually help boost your energy levels.3
- Eat a proper breakfast. A good, healthy breakfast provides the fuel your body needs to start the day off on the right foot, and will help you avoid the mid-morning slump.4 Try to eat a balanced meal with healthy fiber, protein, and complex carbs (foods that contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa). Check out Health.com for a short video on the 10 best foods to eat for breakfast.
- Pay attention to your body. It’s natural to have times during the day where you don’t feel energetic. These slumps have to do with your body’s own unique circadian rhythm, which can be difficult to alter.5 Whenever possible, listen to your body and try to schedule physically or mentally demanding tasks for the time of day when you know you will be most awake and alert.
- Eat more often. Your fatigue could be connected to fluctuations in your blood sugar, so try to eat smaller meals and snacks all throughout the day rather than just eating three larger meals in order to control your blood sugar.6 Just make sure that you’re choosing healthy options. Eat Right Ontario has some great snack tips and healthy snack ideas.
Of course one of the best ways to combat fatigue is to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. That can be easier said than done, but we have a few articles with great tips and advice to help you get the rest you need. Check out our articles on how to sleep better naturally, how to sleep like a baby when you’re all grown up, and why you really do need to get a good night’s sleep.