Do you wake up every morning feeling like you could go back to sleep for another 8 hours? I’ve been there. Constantly feeling tired and sluggish can really throw a wrench in your plans for the day and can be a massive hurdle in achieving your goals. We’ve talked about some tips for getting better sleep before, but let’s dive into what really contributes to feeling energized and refreshed each day.
Unfortunately, looking for a quick fix like taking supplements or trying to catch up on sleep on the weekends won’t really get to the root of the problem. But the good news is that it really is just about focusing on the basics.
The three pillars of feeling energized are really as simple as sleep, exercise, and diet.
I know you’re tempted to roll your eyes and click away… We all know these things are important and it seems too simple.
“But I work out 4x a week, sleep around 7-8 hours, and eat fairly healthy!”
I thought the same thing. The reality is that you may think you’re checking off all of these boxes when you’re actually only doing so on a surface level.Taking the time to really solidify your sleep, exercise, and diet regimen can make all the difference when it comes to transforming yourself from someone who constantly feels tired into someone who wakes up with a pep in their step.
First, let’s go over sleep.
Misusing caffeine is a huge factor in altering the quality of your sleep. The half-life of caffeine is 5-7 hours, meaning if you have a coffee at around 5PM - and the average cup has about 150 mg of caffeine- 75 mg of that cup is still in your system at midnight! What’s more is that a quarter of the original amount is still in your system at 5AM. This completely disrupts your body’s ability to get the level of deep sleep that it requires, leaving you feeling sluggish, uncreative, and tired the next day.
So, how do you fix this? Don’t drink caffeine past noon. This ensures that when you’re going to sleep there is a minimal amount of caffeine left in your system, so that 1) you are actually tired at bedtime and 2) your body can do all of the reparative work that it needs to during the nighttime. This is certainly a difficult task especially if you are a caffeine addict like myself, but this is a total game changer for your sleep quality.
Additionally, give yourself a larger opportunity window to sleep. We all know that you really should be getting 8 hours, but are you really getting those full 8 hours each night? This is where a good nighttime routine comes into play, you can read more about this here. But the bottom line is that, if you want to be asleep by 11PM, you should really be getting into bed by 10:15PM or 10:30PM latest in order to give yourself enough time to get tired enough to fall asleep. This may be difficult at first, but as time goes on you’ll actually find that this simple fix can make all the difference and it will actually become a key component of your routine!
Next, let’s talk about exercise. Unfortunately, even someone who is considered active and works out consistently may not be reaping all of the benefits if they are otherwise sedentary. Standing desks, walking more often, and taking breaks to move around in different ways can have a profound effect on your baseline energy levels. It’s like what we all learned in 10th grade physics, an object in motion stays in motion. In a similar sense it seems to be that a body expending energy also giveth energy. This can be as simple as trying to get up and move a round for a minute every hour, and the benefits only compound the longer you do so.
In terms of diet, we don’t really have a definitive answer. That’s not to say diet isn’t incredibly important. Rather, diet is highly dependent on the individual and intuitive eating based on personal preferences, dietary restrictions, and lifestyle is really the best way to go about it in our opinion. What we will say is to avoid processed foods, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and try to focus on whole foods with lots of nutrients. There is no magical diet that will solve everyone’s problems, as we are all so different. More importantly, adopting a specific diet can lead to restrictive tendencies that only cause you to feel more unhappy with your meals. Try out new things and see what feels good for you, it’s all about trial and error and just generally ensuring that you are feeling fueled and energized after eating.
Now I know these tips may seem simplistic in nature, but that’s the beauty of it! Feeling more energized doesn’t have to be complicated, rather it’s all about focusing on the basics and really trying to nail them down. This means less money wasted on supplements and “superfood” pills and more time to focus on looking inward and finding simple ways to tweak your routine to benefit your lifestyle.
Let us know what you think in the comments below and be sure to let us know what has helped you feel less tired, more energized, and better equipped to tackle your goals!