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5 simple ways to fight fatigue

Most of us experience a little low here and there at some point of the day – some get hit by it after lunch, others struggle to stay awake in the afternoon or are too tired to even make dinner by the time they get home after work. We all struggle with fatigue sometimes, but what can we do to fight it? Apart from the ususal “get more sleep”-advice, is there a way to feel less tired during the day?

Don’t worry, we are not going to tell you to get more sleep. Admittedly, getting more sleep (6 to 8 hours is what science agrees on is best for you) most certainly is a good way to start feeling less tired during the day. But if you are struggling with insomnia or cannot get more sleep for whatever reason, we have other ways for you to feel well rested during the day. Here are 5 tips that help you feel less tired and more active throughout the day.

1. Stay away from smartphones and tablets (at least at night)

A study published in the Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes journal indicated that people who are on their phone after 9pm for work-related reasons were significantly more tired and less resilient the next day than people who turn off their phone in the evening [1]. The researchers explain this due to the fact that we find it harder to come to rest and fall asleep if we deal with work-related things or other things that agitate us before going to sleep.

2. Drink plenty of water

If you don’t drink enough, your blood becomes thicker. This leads to a feeling of fatigue as thicker blood means that less blood flows to the brain, hence provoking the feeling of fatigue. The ideal amount of water to drink per day depends on your body weight, but science believes 2 litres are a about the amount you need in order to stay hydrated. If you’re having difficulties drinking sufficient water throughout the day, try keeping a water bottle near you, like on your desk next to you, so you easily remember to drink enough.

3. No alcohol before going to bed

This might come as a shock to you. Alcohol damages your sleep quality. Many would say the opposite – that drinking alcohol makes them tired but try having one or two glasses of red wine at night and you will want to cuddle up and fall into bed immediately. It is true that alcohol can make you feel tired and help you fall asleep. But, your sleep will be negatively affected from drinking alcohol as your body has to produce adrenalin in order to break down alcohol. And adrenalin is probably the last thing you want while you sleep. It agitates your body and disrupts your sleep, leading thus to a restless night. Staying away from alcohol at night is therefore advisable in order to have a peaceful sleep.

4. Keep things tidy

We are constantly bombarded by bits and pieces of information, demanding our attention. With an increasing amount of information, it is more and more difficult for our brain to decide which information is worth storing in our memory and which is redundant and should be let go of. The more information our brain has to process, the more tired we feel. A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience came to the conclusion that keeping things neat and clear helps us manage to have an overview. Even a tidy desk can already make us feel less overwhelmed [2].

5. A low-fat diet for better sleep

A low-fat diet can help improve the quality of your sleep, according to a study pubslished in the journal Sleep Medicine in 2010 [3]. The study also showed that a fatty diet can cause feelings of fatigue. If you cherish your sleep, it is therefore better to stay away from a too fatty diet. It will also help you feel less tired during the day. Sleep and nutrition are two of the main components that determine whether we feel drained and tired or energetic and well balanced.

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1: Lanaj, K., Johnson, R. E., & Barnes, C. M. (2014). Beginning the workday yet already depleted? Consequences of late-night smartphone use and sleep. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 124(1), 11-23.

2: McCains, S., & Kastner, S. (2011). Interactions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in human visual cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(2), 587-597.

3: Gradner, M. A., Kripke D. F., Naidoo, N., & Langer, R. D. (2010). Relationships among dietary nutrients and subjective sleep, objective sleep, and napping in women. Sleep Medicine, 11(2), 180-184.

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