Advertising
Advertising

Revenge of the Lack of Sleep

Revenge of the Lack of Sleep

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” That’s the mantra of the work-obsessed. You may feel like sleep is an area where you can cut corners, but not getting enough sleep is bad for your health and productivity.

Approximately 90% of people don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep that they need every night.[1] Like many aspects of healthy living, we tend to ignore what’s good for us until we notice negative side effects of unhealthy choices.

If you’re forgetful, tired in the middle of the day, or have trouble concentrating, you may be sleep deprived. It’s tempting to work longer hours to get more done, but the reality is that you won’t be able to maintain solid performance without rest. You’ll more likely notice a drop in your productivity as you sleep less.

Advertising

Sleep-walking through your life is dragging

Some people think they can make up for a night of poor sleep. Taking a nap the next day or sleeping in on weekends may make you feel like you’ve compensated for lost hours. If you’ve never had a health issue related to sleep deprivation, and you’ve been staying up late throughout high school and college, you might feel that this isn’t a big deal.

    Unfortunately, you can’t just make up for lost sleep. Your body does best when you’re on a regular sleep schedule. Depriving yourself of rest is not like a charge on your credit card that you can pay off later. After you’ve lost the sleep, you can’t pay off sleep-debt. Read more about Why You Can’t Pay off a Sleep Debt You’ve Accumulated Over the Week.

    Advertising

    Some people say that they can get by on 6 hours or less per night. They may be more tired than they realize. Just because you’re present and conscious doesn’t mean that you’re in top condition.

      A study published on Brain and Behavior shows that our bodies sleep more efficiently if they have to, but our brains won’t be able to achieve peak performance.[2] In fact, the brain of a person who sleeps less than 6 hours per night behaves like they’ve had a few drinks.[3] Clearly, you won’t be able to do your best work if you aren’t well-rested.

      Advertising

      You’re not yourself when you’re sleep deprived

      Only a well-rested mind has the chance to be healthy and productive.

      • Being tired makes you stubborn. Nothing makes you quite as bull-headed as wanting to take a nap. Even the most agreeable people become stubborn when they’re tired. Change requires energy, so naturally a sleep deprived person will be set in their ways.
      • Forget about being creative. When you haven’t rested, you have to work extra hard to do basic tasks. With rest, you can come up with new ways to solve problems.
      • You won’t feel motivated. Not only does your brain become less efficient after one night of poor sleep, but your drive to work also decreases.[4] Even the easiest tasks seem challenging when you’re tired.
      • Waiting around seems impossible. Patience goes out the window when you’re sleep-deprived. If you’re already tired, you may become impatient with anyone or anything that requires more effort or energy.

        Find out more about how sleep is closely related to productivity here in this article:  8 Secrets About Sleep And Productivity I Wish I Knew Earlier

        Advertising

        Break the sleep-deprived cycle

        There’s still a lot that we don’t understand about sleep, but we know that our brains need it to function well. Just like your body needs to recharge after physical effort, your brain also needs real breaks to restore your energy.

        Your mind has to rest in order to solve problems. If you focus on an issue for too long, you get tunnel vision. Allow yourself to enter diffused thinking mode, in which your brain works on the problem while you are doing other things. When you’re struggling, taking a break or sleeping on the problem is the best thing to do. Take a look at this article to find out Why Sleeping on a Difficult Problem Helps You Get the Answer.

        Inspired to set yourself up for sleep success? Try Lifehack’s CEO daily routine: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

        Being sleep deprived may not seem bad on the surface, but it can cause a lot of health and productivity problems for you. You can’t be the best version of yourself without rest.

        Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Jolie Choi

        Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

        The Only Music That Really Eases Stress and Pain Why You Can’t Pay off a Sleep Debt You’ve Accumulated Over the Week You Probably Forgot To Do This If You Can’t Sleep At Night How to Stop Your Thoughts From Running Inside Your Head and Fall Asleep in 8 Minutes Getting Your Wake Up Time Right is More Important Than Sleeping Tight

        Trending in Restore Energy

        1 13 Best Energy Boosting Foods to Help You Stay Sharp All Day 2 15 Fast and Easy Ways to Boost Mental Energy Levels 3 Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Tired and How to Fix It 4 15 Tips to Manage Shift Work and Your Quality of Life 5 The 5-Step Guide to Self Care for Busy People

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on January 18, 2021

        13 Best Energy Boosting Foods to Help You Stay Sharp All Day

        13 Best Energy Boosting Foods to Help You Stay Sharp All Day

        Do you find you need a “pick-me-up” in the middle of the day? Or maybe your energy wanes just before it’s time to leave work? In these instances, energy foods can be a great solution.

        Many of us feel fatigued at a certain point during the day – maybe you didn’t go to bed early enough, or maybe you’re a new parent and just not getting enough sleep through the night. You could be having trouble sleeping and possibly need to look at your sleeping habits.

        What if there were some foods that could help increase your energy and are actually healthy for you?

        Before we get into the actual energy-boosting foods that can help, let’s talk briefly about how to eat for optimal energy. People that stay energetic throughout the day do a few key things:

        • To maintain blood sugar levels and energy evenly throughout the day, it’s best to snack every 2-3 hours
        • Having a balanced mix of the macro-nutrients—protein, fats, and carbohydrates—helps to ensure a slow, steady release of energy throughout the day
        • Including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables helps to ensure we get required vitamins and nutrients

        In addition to eating healthy, balanced meals and snacks spaced throughout the day, there are many foods that can help give a more immediate boost. Although we often crave junk foods when we’re tired, these will do a much better job of boosting stamina without the terrible sugar crash soon after. Let’s take a look at the best energy foods:

        Advertising

        1. Caffeine

        Coffee (and some teas) not only promotes central nervous system stimulation and boosts brain function, but it is also a great source of antioxidants and may possibly promote a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and liver disease[1].

        Caffeine is said to affect some neurotransmitters that could improve mood, reaction time, learning and vigilance, making it a great energy-boosting food for our list.

        2. Mint Leaves

        The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition says peppermint is thought to increase ventilation and brain oxygen concentration, which can lead to an increase in energy. That makes this an excellent energy food. Add some mint leaves to hot water for a drink that will get you through the afternoon.[2]

        3. Ginger

        Ginger is said to reduce fatigue by improving blood circulation and blood sugar levels. This deliciously fragrant food may also offer help to migraine sufferers – comparable even to the drug sumatriptan and with less side effects.[3]

        4. Quinoa

        Discovered by the Incas and thought to increase the stamina of their warriors, this grain has been touted as the super grain of the future, and one of the best energy-boosting foods for long-term health.

        Advertising

        Quinoa is the most protein-rich grain available, as well as a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids needed by the body. Quinoa contains iron, among other things that can help boost brain function as the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. It also contains Riboflavin (Vitamin b2) which improves energy metabolism within the brain, helping create proper energy production in cells.

        5. Dark Chocolate

        Dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which both help to boost energy levels – the darker the chocolate, the less sugar and more energy boosting potential it has. The next time you’re feeling a little lethargic, take a little chocolate break with this energy food.

        6. Yogurt

        Yogurt has a high amount of protein, which can help you feel full for longer, so hunger will not distract you from your daily tasks. The fat content in Greek yogurt also tends to be more satisfying. Add in some fresh fruit for an antioxidant boost as well!

        7. Berries

        Berries are full of antioxidants and vitamins. Specifically, Goji berries are known to have high concentrations of melatonin, which can improve sleep and give you more energy during the day.

        Berries are also said to stave off cardiovascular disease and some cancers. The healthy natural sugar in these sweet treats help offer a quick boost in your day, making them some of the best energy-boosting foods.

        Advertising

        8. Lentils

        Lentils are excellent at stabilizing blood sugar and, therefore, offer you a slow burning source of energy to keep you feeling full throughout the day. They also help increase your iron stores, which can help boost energy[4].

        9. Walnuts

        These nuts contain healthy fats, fiber, and protein, which prevents energy crashes and keeps your energy more level throughout the day. A handful of walnuts as a mid-day snack is a great idea if you’re looking to add energy foods to your routine.

        10. Cherries

        Cherries are also good sources of melatonin, which can help you to get a better night’s sleep to keep you fresh through the day.[5] They have also been shown to reduce inflammation, which can cause fatigue in the long-term. 

        11. Dried Fruits

        Dried fruits are an excellent source of quick, usable energy that provide many essential nutrients, including Vitamin A, B-6, C, and D. If you’re looking for energy-boosting foods, a small bag of dried fruit can give you the push you need to finish all of your projects.

        12. Salmon

        Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are said to improve brain function and reduce fatigue while also providing vitamin B and protein, which can help sustain energy throughout the day. Omega-3’s are also great at reducing inflammation in the body, which helps reduce sleepiness.

        Advertising

        13. Green Tea

        This type of tea contains some caffeine, which we know boosts energy. This warm gem has also been associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk[6].

        Learn more about the benefits of green tea here.

        The Bottom Line

        So many of the foods we eat can help boost our energy. Whether they include complex carbohydrates for readily available energy, or packed with fiber and protein for a slower energy release, they can help increase power and stamina.

        As a bonus, a lot of these foods also contain significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which have been shown to play a role in the production of energy within your cells.

        Incorporating these energy-boosting foods into a varied diet will definitely help increase energy levels throughout the day and help to stave off that mid-to-late-day slump.

        More Tips on Increasing Energy

        Featured photo credit: THE 5TH via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Harvard Health Publishing: The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee
        [2] Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: The effects of peppermint on exercise performance
        [3] Phytotherapy Research: Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine.
        [4] Harvard T.H. Chan: Lentils
        [5] Medical Daily: Cherry Health Benefits
        [6] World Journal of Clinical Oncology: Green tea compounds in breast cancer prevention and treatment

        Read Next