Tired? 6 Ways to Combat Fatigue
Posted byChristine Yu
Whether it’s your non-stop lifestyle, lack of sleep or even your finicky monthly cycle, there’s no denying it — you are tired. And no matter how many naps you take, you can’t seem to shake that sleepy, drowsy feeling.
When you feel your eyelids drooping and your head bobbing, your instinct may be to order a double espresso for a quick caffeine hit. However, caffeine may not be the best tool to combat fatigue. Here’s why and what you should do instead to keep you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Research shows that it may be easy to become dependent on caffeine. While that initial jolt of energy may make you feel more awake and alert, you may start to crave more coffee or another energy drink after your caffeine buzz wears off. And when you don’t have another cup of joe, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal. A poll of 213 caffeine consumers found that after 16 hours of caffeine abstinence, participants experienced withdrawal symptoms like drowsiness, low alertness, difficult concentrating, mood disturbances and headache, reports the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.1
When you’re super tired, caffeine may have little impact on your alertness and performance, especially if you drink it often. And, thanks to caffeine’s lingering effect in the body, it may also make it hard to fall asleep at night, which may make you more tired the next day, creating a vicious cycle, according to research in Nutrition Reviews.2
While everyone responds to caffeine differently, higher doses of caffeine are associated with some not-so-great side effects like feelings of jitteriness and nausea, concludes a study in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.3
Instead of Heading to the Cafe…
So how can you combat fatigue without relying on caffeine? If you need a jolt of energy, try these six caffeine-free alternatives:
- Head outside and go for a walk. The fresh air and movement will get your blood flowing and help you feel invigorated. Or try a gentle session of yoga.
- Take a cold shower. It sounds crazy but there’s nothing like a splash of cold water to wake you up. If a cold shower isn’t your thing, try splashing your face with water instead.
- Take the stairs. Not only will you get in some extra steps, you’ll also get an energizing boost. Low-to-moderate intensity stair walking has been found to be more stimulating than a low dose of caffeine, notes research published by Physiology & Behavior.4
- Drink more water. Feelings of fatigue may be a sign of dehydration, says the Mayo Clinic.5 Next time you feel tired, try drinking a glass of water.
- Stick with complex carbs, high-protein snacks. This may help your body regulate blood sugar and energy levels, according to CNN.6 Enjoying protein and snacks throughout the day may keep your blood sugar up, and protein takes longer than simple carbs to digest, thus providing a long-lasting energy source.
- Try a power nap. Sometimes all you need is a quick cat nap to feel refreshed. Plus, good quality sleep is always the best answer to combat fatigue. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep at night, suggests the National Sleep Foundation.7
What May Work Best for You
While you may not fit exactly into the sample groups represented in the above studies, you can take their conclusions as background information. If you can’t stop yawning and it’s getting in the way of everyday activities, book a visit with your doctor and you can collaborate on how best to combat your fatigue.
1Juliano, L.M., et al. “Development of the Caffeine Withdrawal Symptom Questionnaire: Caffeine withdrawal symptoms cluster into 7 factors.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 124(3). August 1, 2012. http://www.drugandalcoholdependence.com/article/S0376-8716%2812%2900026-9/fulltext
2Spaeth, Andrea M., et. al. “The Cumulative Neurobehavioral and Physiological Effects of Chronic Caffeine Intake: Individual Differences and Implications for the Use of Caffeinated Energy Products.” Nutrition Reviews. 2014 Oct; 72 (01): 34-47. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404626/
3McLellan, Tom M., et. al. “A Review of Caffeine’s Effects on Cognitive, Physical and Occupational Performance.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2016 Dec; 71: 294-312. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.09.001
4Randolph DD and O’Connor PJ. “Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women.” Physiology & Behavior. 2017 May; 174: 128-135. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28302573
5“Dehydration, Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic. October 29, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/dxc-20261072
6Barrett, Tiffany. “8 healthy ways to boost energy.” CNN. November 28, 2012. http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/26/health/healthy-energy/
7National Sleep Foundation. “National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times.” https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times
- Posted by Christine Yu
- On September 8, 2017