I have been so tired lately! Between residency, trying to find a job next year, and doing 5am workouts, I am totally wiped out. I hate having no energy and I am always trying to better my habits so I feel at my best. Getting enough sleep and feeling rested is crucial to making it through the day and not crashing and burning in the middle of an important meeting!
The most common cause of patients feeling tired is lack of good sleep. Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night, how many of us actually get that? I know I don’t always. I am such a night person and love to stay up late. The problem with that is I wake up at 4:30 most mornings, blah! The first thing to do if you are feeling tired is to ensure you have gone to bed at a time that allows you to get 7-8 hours of sleep. If you are getting 7 hours and you still feel tired, increase it to 8. Keep increasing your sleep time by 30 mins each night until you hit that magical number where you don’t feel tired during the day.
Another reason people feel sleepy is because they are not getting a good night sleep, despite getting an adequate amount of sleep. There are so many reasons why this happens and many of these we can change on our own.
First, are you actually exerting your energy during the day? If you are sitting at a desk all day or sitting watching TV for several hours, you really aren’t wearing yourself out. Getting a good amount of exercise every day is beneficial to sleeping well each night. You burn calories, release stress, and feel ready for sleep when it is time to go to bed. Aim for 30-60 mins of moderate to heavy exercise 5 days per week.
Another reason we don’t sleep well, and I am so guilty of this, is that we use electronics before bed. Cell phones, tablets, computers, and TVs! We are a wired society and we can’t get enough of our technology. The problem lies in that these devises emit lights that stimulate our retinas. When light hits your retinas, it sends a signal to the brain that it is time to wake up because light=daytime. You should avoid looking at electronics at least 30 mins prior to going to sleep. Try reading a book. If you absolutely can’t get away from technology, I know I can’t, than switch your device to a low light mode.
Probably one of the most common reasons we don’t sleep very well is because we live in a fast paced, stressed out society. The second I lie down in bed, my mind starts making lists. I think of every detail I need to take care of for the next day. I create plans and come up with new ideas. As soon as I catch myself making these lists, I start stressing about making lists, knowing it will prevent me from falling asleep! It’s a vicious cycle. Once this starts, it is almost impossible to stop so the best way to handle it is to prevent it. Managing stress is a huge topic all on its own. For the purpose of sleep, here are some examples to help you cope and decrease stress before bed.
- Meditation – Even 15 mins of meditation prior to bed will help to clear your mind and relax.
- Yoga – Same as above, it only takes a few minutes before bed to get the stress relief benefits from yoga.
- Exercise – Some prefer to exercise in the morning, like myself, because it wakes me up and energizes me. Others like to exercise at night because it tires them out before bed. Either way, it will get out all your energy, plus relieve stress and release those happy feeling hormones!
- Hot Decaf Tea – Chamomile and Lavender teas have a calming effect on us and can help calm us down before bed.
- Essential Oils – Lavender, Bergamot, Marjoram, Roman chamomile, and Ylang Ylang all help promote peaceful sleep. Put a drop on your pillowcase or use an oil diffuser by your bed.
- Hot shower – A hot shower or bath before bed will help relax your muscles and remove tension. Hang some dried lavender from the shower head to get aromatherapy as the steam builds up, or throw in some Lavender bath salts.
Hope these tips help you catch some extra ZZZ’s tonight!