Boost your energy levels
If you wake up tired and feel like you’re running on empty most days, you’re not alone. Research from the University of South Australia found that about 30 percent of the workforce regularly feel tired, with women more likely to be fatigued regardless of working hours or parental status.
In many cases, a few small changes to your diet and lifestyle may be all that’s needed to lift your spirits and give you the energy to get through a busy week. Here are some tips to consider:
Although it’s the most obvious place to start, sleep plays an important role in how our bodies manage fatigue. According to research by the University of Sydney, our sleep patterns can change depending on our individual lifestyle, social and environmental influences. However, when we stray too far from the recommended seven to nine hours per night, we incur a ‘sleep debt’ and our bodies need to catch up on extra sleep. To get into a good sleeping routine, try to set your alarm for the same time every day and maintain a regular bedtime. It may also be helpful to limit the use of TV and digital devices before going to sleep.
Doing a work-out is probably the last thing you feel like doing when you’re tired, but research shows that regular, low-intensity exercise may help boost energy levels in people suffering from fatigue. You may like to start with some gentle walking and increase your exercise slowly to build fitness, strength and flexibility.
Nutritionist Lisa Guy recommends eating iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, wholegrain breads and cereals, and leafy green vegetables to boost the production of glucose which fuels both the brain and body. Dehydration can also make your body slow down, so keep your fluids up by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
It’s important to take time out from your hectic lifestyle and relax. Research suggests that between 50 and 80 percent of reported cases of fatigue have been caused by psychological conditions such as stress, often from overworking1. To help reduce your levels of stress, you may like to assess your lifestyle to see what areas may be causing you unnecessary stress; learn relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga; and book some non-negotiable time into your diary to have fun and unwind.
There are a number of reasons why smoking may be causing you to feel fatigued. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood, making it more difficult for the body to create energy, while harmful substances in cigarettes cause your organs to work at a reduced capacity. For information and resources to help you quit, visit www.quitnow.gov.au.
Although lifestyle factors can play a part in feeling tired, ongoing fatigue can also be a symptom of underlying medical conditions. Remember to always seek the advice of your doctor.
Do you regularly feel tired? How do you manage fatigue?
1. Hickie, I B, Hooker, A W & Hadzi-Pavlovic D, et al. 1996, “Sociodemographic and psychiatric correlates of fatigue in selected primary care settings.” Med J Aust, (164):585–588.