by Carina Wolff
Most of us are far too familiar with feeling tired. We chug coffee to stay awake, but that only leads to the same cycle of feeling tired all over again. It’s hard not to envy those always-alert people, but we can learn from the habits of people who are never tired and start to implement them on our own. Feeling well-rested is more than just getting a decent number of hours in bed — although that does make a difference. We need to look at our overall daily routine to make sure we are engaging in healthy habits that can help give us energy.
“The cumulative effect of several bad habits is not only detrimental to ones mental and physical well being, but it also has a significant impact on how tired and fatigued one can feel on a daily basis,” says Nesochi Okeke Igbokwe, MD to Bustle over email. “It is therefore essential to pay very close attention to our daily habits if we want to stay energized and also live a long and healthy life.”
Keeping good health overall can improve your energy levels and make you less tired, but if you pick up on the right daily activities, it can help ensure you feel awake at all times. If you’re trying to feel more energized and awake during the day, try adapting these 11 habits of people who are never tired.
“Drink plenty of water throughout your day,” says Erin Stair, MD, MPH. Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, and problems concentrating, according to a study from the Journal of Nutrition. “Always have a water bottle with you,” says Stair.
You might think that frequent exercise would make you more tired, but consistently working out actually gives you more energy. A study from the Psychological Bulletin even found that regular exercise can reduce fatigue more so than stimulant medication. However, be careful working out too vigorously at night. “You don’t want to exercise too close to your bedtime, because you’ll be stimulated and that will keep you up,” says Stair. “Try to exercise at least four to five hours before bedtime.”
It’s extremely tempting to hit that snooze button on your alarm, but doing so can make you more tired than when you even woke up. Falling back asleep sends you back into a new, deeper sleep cycle, and waking up so shortly after can disrupt that cycle and leave you feeling groggier than when you woke up.
People who feel awake and alert throughout the day are smart about what they eat for breakfast. They incorporate complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal and protein such as eggs, which can boost your energy levels and improve your focus, according to multiple studies. They avoid foods high in sugar, which can lead to an energy crash.
Sure, a little nightcap may initially help you drift off into sleep, but drinking alcohol before bed can actually cause disrupted sleep. Research from the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that drinking alcohol before bed changes your brain wave patterns, leading to more disruptive and less restful sleep.
“Stress can keep you awake,” says Stair. “The number one reason people give for not sleeping is ruminations — or the replaying of troubling, repetitive, stressful thoughts. Finding healthy ways to reduce stress and let go of stressful, troubling thoughts during the day can help improve one’s quality of sleep at night.”
Many of us are guilty of browsing Instagram before bed or watching a dozen episodes of House Of Cards, but using electronics before bed can leave you feeling tired and groggy the following day. A study from Penn State University found that people who use electronics before bed take longer to fall asleep, spend less time in restorative REM, and feel sleepier and less alert when they wake up in the morning.
Instead of opting for coffee, people who are rarely tired opt for green tea, which can give a more milder buzz than coffee. In addition to caffeine, green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which together with caffeine can give you an energy boost and improve cognitive function, without the crash so frequently associated with coffee, according to the Journal of Nutrition.
Catching up on weekends might seem like the right thing to do, but research from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that inconsistent sleep schedules can cause “sleep jet-lag,” including increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more.
It’s hard to resist a nice cuddle with your puppy or kitty when going to bed, but unfortunately sleeping with animals can leave you feeling tired the following day. Thirty percent of pet owners report waking up in the middle of the night when they sleep with their pets, and 63 percent have poor sleep quality, according to research from the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
“Smoking may in fact induce fatigue,” says Igbokwe. “Nicotine may act as a stimulant, and this effect can make it difficult for smokers to fall asleep, especially if they tend to smoke cigarettes late in the evening close to bedtime or in the middle of the night.”
If you have issues with chronic fatigue, it is important to be evaluated by your doctor, just to be sure. “You may have an underlying medical condition that is contributing to making you feel tired all the time,” says Igbokwe.
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