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Five (Relatively) Painless Ways to Banish Fatigue

Thursday, November 06, 2014


Photo credit: iStock

Almost everyone reaches for an energy boost now and then. You stayed up too late last night working on a project so you grab an energy drink after lunch. You slept restlessly two nights in a row, so you drink endless streams of coffee through the day to stay awake. Coffee is fine, but in large quantities, or as a replacement for rest, it causes more harm than good. And be honest...do all of these quick fixes really give you more energy? Or do you just end up with the j!itters and a stomach ache before you crash even further down than you were before?

Life is busy. You run around all day long, don’t get enough sleep, and drag from the time you wake up until you finally fall into bed. Or maybe you feel ok when you wake up, but around 3 pm, you get so tired that you could fall asleep standing up. There are many reasons that you could be fatigued: it could simply be that you work too much and sleep too little. It could be a thyroid issue. It could be low vitamin d, mild depression or anxiety. If your fatigue is chronic you would do well to make an appointment with a health care provider who can help you get to the bottom of it. In the meantime, follow these tips so that you can stop spending all your money at t!he coffee shop:

1. Lay off the simple carbs 

You likely crave sugar and simple carbs when you are tired. It is your body’s way of getting quick and easy energy. The problem is that the energy you get in this form is short-lived, and the spike it causes to your blood sugar ends up ultimately crashing down to a low that causes even more fatigue. You then crave more sugar, and the cycle continues in an overall downward spiral. 

2. Get moving

Getting just 10 minutes of blood-pumping exercise (even something as gentle as walking) can boost your productivity and mental clarity. Adding daily exercise — especially low intensity exercise if you are not currently exercising regularly — can bring noticeable improvement in your overall energy levels in just 6 weeks

3. Talk to someone

Back away from your computer, stop texting, and talk with a coworker or a friend. Take a short break to step away from your screens and get some human contact. Just a little change of focus via personal interaction can be enough to banish fatigue and spark new energy. 

4. Drink some water

Actually drink lots of water. All day long. There are various figures out there, but some say that as much as 75% of the population is chronically dehydrated. Perhaps that figure is a bit high, but if you honestly think about your water consumption, you probably know you aren’t drinking enough of it. Being mildly dehydrated can be the cause of sleepiness or fatigue, so instead of grabbing a Monster, 5 Hour Energy or other such drink, reach for a big old glass of water and watch your energy increase.

5. Sleep

Obviously you need a certain amount of sleep each night in order for your body to repair itself and to wake refreshed. If you are not getting enough sleep, then go to bed earlier. That’s not helpful advice, is it? You already know you need to go to bed earlier, but you just have too much to do. If you can’t get the right quantity of sleep, it is even more important to make sure the sleep you get is high quality. Don’t put your cell phone by your bed. Don’t check work emails right before you try to go to sleep (or in the middle of the night should you happen to wake up). Don’t keep a tv in your room. Buy black-out curtains so that your room is absolutely dark. All of these things can contribute to more restful sleep. If your sleep is more sound, even if it is still lacking in quantity, you will find yourself with much more energy upon waking and throughout the day.

Erin Brockmeyer, LAc, is owner and acupuncturist at Solstice Natural Health in downtown Portland.  She creates custom health plans for patients to help them tackle their most complicated health concerns, including infertility, prenatal care, fibromyalgia, thyroid conditions and chronic and acute pain conditions.  Visit her website for more information and to download her free e-book 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health Today.

Banner Photo Credit: iStock 


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