Over 75% of Americans are tired most of the time. We wake up tired, we go to work tired, we take care of our kids tired, and we go to bed tired. And especially during the fall and winter months, when we’re all getting less vitamin D, sunlight, and fresh air, it’s normal for fatigue to set in.
It might feel like there’s no solution. Your schedule’s overflowing with work meetings, dentist appointments, sports practices, deadlines, gym sessions, playdates, and holiday obligations. Just looking through your planner is exhausting.
And, at the end of the day, when you finally have a bit of time to yourself, it’s all too easy to zone out in front of the TV for an hour (or three) to unwind and relax before you finally turn in for the night. Then, before you know it, your alarm is beeping. Time to do it all over again.
So, is there any way to beat the brutal cycle of busyness, sleep deprivation, and fatigue? We think there is.
While it isn’t always easy to take care of your body, practice mindful habits, and maintain a healthy sleep routine, the benefits are 100% worth it. Here are five ways to sleep better, increase your productivity, and feel more energetic every day.
It’s always tempting to hit the snooze button a couple times before finally crawling out of bed. Especially when you’re facing a busy day and running on low sleep, those extra few minutes in bed can feel oh-so-important.
In reality, though, your body isn’t able to enter “rest mode” in those few minutes between hitting snooze and hearing your second alarm. Instead, you’re just setting yourself up for a rushed morning and a stressful start to your day.
Here’s a new habit for you: get out of bed the instant your alarm goes off. Instead of tossing and turning for five extra minutes (while your mind races with thoughts of the coming day), go through a short yoga flow to calm your mind and get your blood flowing.
SWAP OUT YOUR MORNING BEVERAGE
Instead of brewing a pot of coffee in zombie-mode, make a large glass of fresh lemon water (or a mug of hot lemon-and-honey water). You’ll hydrate, detox, and energize your body—all at once. You’ll also stop depending on caffeine for energy, which can help reset your natural energy levels and help you feel more awake in the morning (no coffee needed).
Can’t survive without your morning cup o’ joe? Start with lemon water and then grab a cup of coffee on your way out the door. You’ll get all the benefits of detox and hydration without sacrificing your cozy cuppa on the way to work.
TAKE SMART BREAKS
Studies show that the average American reaches for their cell phone over 80 times per day. Yikes. If you find yourself scrolling through Instagram, checking up on Twitter, or playing phone games whenever you have thirty seconds of free time, it may be time to find a better way to take a break.
Instead of reaching for your phone or opening a new tab on your computer whenever you get a break, try to find a truly refreshing and energizing way to relax.
Take a two-minute stretch break. Get up to drink a glass of water. Send a friend a text, just to say “I’m thinking of you.” That beats reading through another Facebook comment-war or seeing your coworker’s snarky Twitter update, right?
PRACTICE A DAILY TECHNOLOGY DETOX
For all the night-owls out there, I’ve got some bad news. The blue light glowing from your technological devices interferes with your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep (and stay asleep).
So, if you’re feeling tired all the time—and you’re worried that you’re not getting good-quality sleep—late night phone time could be the culprit.
Instead of skimming social media and checking for news updates right up to the moment you’re getting into bed, put your phone and computer away at least an hour before bedtime and allow yourself to slowly unwind before it’s time to sleep.
START A PEACEFUL BEDTIME ROUTINE
A rested, energetic morning starts the night before. If chronic late nights are interfering with your ability to get enough sleep, consider revamping your bedtime routine and making it a more restful, enjoyable process.
Start with turning off your TV, your computer, and your phone (like we talked about earlier). Then, find a few new habits to replace your old tech-based habits. Take a bath. Start a peaceful evening yoga practice. Take up journaling. Call your dad. Make a cup of tea while listening to a podcast. Clean up your home and get ready for the next day. Read a trashy novel (or a thought-provoking biography).
Make your bedtime routine something to look forward to—and start magically getting better sleep.
There’s no time like the present. As daylight gets shorter and the craziness of the holidays sets in, choose to prioritize your health and make smart choices for your mind, body, and soul. Here’s to better sleep and happier days.