By: Jae Curtis, Lifestyle Expert
You know the feeling all too well: despite getting the required seven to nine hours of sleep every night, you still find yourself craving a nap come 2 p.m. What’s the deal? While getting enough rest is part of the equation, your sleep habits aren’t the only thing that comes into play when it comes to energy levels. You know a late night and early morning will leave you yawning, but make sure you avoid these sneaky energy drains to stay focused and power through your day.
- Skipping Your Workout
When you’re super-tired, your scheduled workout is often first to go. But skipping exercise–while it might seem like a good way to preserve your energy–can actually have the opposite effect. Exercising causes your brain to release endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that give you a boost of energy. Instead of skipping it, reschedule your workout to when you have more energy and you’ll double up on the benefits.
- Instagramming in Bed
If you’re like most people, your phone is the last thing you see before bed and the first thing you check when you wake up in the morning. But being glued to your phone can make it harder for you to fall asleep (thank the blinding blue light of the screen) and start draining your energy levels as soon as you wake up. Try this: charge your phone in another room so you’re less tempted to use it before bed and can wake up fully before grabbing it come morning.
- Coffee for Breakfast
Running late because you’re tired? It won’t matter if you skip breakfast just this once. But relying on a jolt of caffeine as your energy source in the A.M. is setting yourself up for a major energy crisis come lunchtime. Instead, prep some complex carb-heavy options that are easy to grab on the go, like apples and peanut butter or a fruit salad and Greek yogurt. Complex carbs burn more slowly, giving you sustained energy.
- Partying on the Weekend
If you maintain a regular schedule all week long, you might not see the harm in staying out late on Friday night. But sleep works a lot like a bank account: when you have a deficit, that overdraft needs to be resolved for you to feel like yourself again. Whenever possible, stick to the same schedule all week long. Otherwise you might find yourself yawning through your Monday because of a late night on Friday.
- Not Enough Water
Your body is mostly water, and water is called the life source for a reason. One of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue, so make sure you drink at least half your body weight in ounces every day. If you struggle with swigging enough H2O, grab a cool water bottle or use a low- or no-calorie drink mix to make hydrating more fun.
- Winding Down with Wine
If you had a long day, you might reach for a glass of wine to help you relax and wind down. But be careful about imbibing during the week and especially before bed, since alcohol can mess with your internal clock and disrupt your sleep patterns. Find other ways to chill out after a crazy day, like catching up on your fave reality show or having a hot bubble bath and your body will thank you in the morning.
- Unchecked Anxiety
Anxiety is a result of adrenaline–your body’s fight or flight reflex that helps you stay safe in dangerous situations. But what might help you stay alert in traffic can wreak havoc on your mind and body when it’s misplaced. That heart-pounding, palm-sweating reaction uses up your energy stores. If you have unchecked anxiety that kicks in during your workday, it can make dealing with family drama or interacting with friends a problem. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage your anxiety to make sure it’s not a daily drain.
Getting enough sleep is great, but your energy levels are more than just a product of rest. By taking stock of some of your daily habits, stresses, and potential problems, you can isolate some of the reasons you’re experiencing a total energy crisis. By addressing the true reason for your fatigue, you can get back on track and function like you were meant to.