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27 Must Read Books Every Novel Lover Should Read at Least Once

27 Must Read Books Every Novel Lover Should Read at Least Once

Books open doors in our minds, allowing us to live an entire lifetime and travel the world without even leaving the comfort of our chairs.

When we read a book, we step into someone else’s shoes, see the world through someone else’s eyes, and visit places we might never otherwise go, whether a tiny village in India or the green fields of Narnia.

Books teach us about love, heartbreak, friendship, war, social injustice, and the resilience of the human spirit. Here are 25 must read books especially for novel lovers, and you should read them at least once in your life:

1. The Kite Runner (2009)

    by Khaled Hosseini

    Told against the backdrop of the changing political landscape of Afghanistan from the 1970s to the period following 9/11, The Kite Runner is the story of the unlikely and complicated friendship between Amir, the son of a wealthy merchant, and Hassan, the son of his father’s servant until cultural and class differences and the turmoil of war tear them asunder. Hosseini brings his homeland to life for us in a way that post 9/11 media coverage never could, showing us a world of ordinary people who live, die, eat, pray, dream, and love. It’s a story about the long shadows that family secrets cast across decades, the enduring love of friendship, and the transformative power of forgiveness.

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    2. Number the Stars

      by Lois Lowry

      This Newbery award-winning novel tells the story of Annemarie Yohansen, a Danish girl growing up in World War II Copenhagen with her best friend, Ellen, who happens to be Jewish. When Annemarie learns about the horrors that the Nazis are inflicting on the Jewish people, she and her family stop at nothing to protect Ellen and her parents, as well as countless other Jews. Lowry’s novel is a powerful reminder that cultural and religious differences are no divide between true friends and that love shines all the brighter against the darkness of hatred.

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      3. Pride and Prejudice

        by Jane Austen

        The opening line of this classic novel, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife” is one of the most recognizable first lines of fiction. Yet Jane Austen’s most famous work is more than a comedy of manners about the marriage market and the maneuvers of navigating polite society in 19th-century England. Pride and Prejudice remains one of the most enduring works of English Literature not because we find such rewarding pleasure in watching sparks fly between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy (though that’s certainly reason enough). Readers embrace the novel because Austen candidly captures the human character with all of its beauties and its imperfections. Pride and Prejudice is a novel about overcoming differences of cast and class, about learning to laugh at life even when it’s grossly unfair, and about recognizing that loving someone often means accepting them in spite of rather than because of who they are.

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        4. The Outsiders

          by S.E. Hinton

          Hinton penned this novel when she was only 16 because she was tired of reading fluffy romances. She wanted a story about the harsh realities of being a teenager in mid-20th century America, and since none existed, she wrote one herself. Told from the perspective of orphan Ponyboy Kurtis, this multiple award-winning young adult novel tells the story of a group of rough, teenage boys on the streets of an Oklahoma town, struggling to survive and stick together amidst violence, peer pressure, and broken homes. The novel reminds us that growing up is never easy and that pain, loss, friendship, and love are universal experiences that both create and dissolve socio-economic boundaries.

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          5. Little Women

            by Louisa May Alcott

            A richly written novel with a cast of memorable characters, Little Women invites us into the warm, comfortable home of a 19th-century American family. Everyone can find a character trait that resonates with them, whether Jo’s temper, Meg’s vanity, Amy’s mischievousness, or Beth’s shyness. The novel is a coming-of-age story that follows four sisters (the March girls) from girlhood to womanhood in Civil War America. Together they learn about the harsh realities of poverty, illness, and death, and how to dream, love, and laugh through it all. This is a heartwarming, timeless classic about the importance of family and the simple, home-spun comfort of never being alone.

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            6. A Single Man

              by Christopher Isherwood

              While this is far from a light read, it’s one of the first novels I suggest whenever someone asks me for a book recommendation because it really packs a punch. Right to the solar plexus. The novel looks at a single day in the life of George Falconer, a middle-aged English professor grieving the loss of his partner, Jim. As George struggles against the grip of his depression and wonders what the point of life is any more, he gradually learns, through a dinner with his best friend and a heart-to-heart with a student, the gift of being alive with all its trials and its triumphs. Through the snapshot of a single day in a man’s life, Isherwood reminds us that every moment counts. His clear, direct prose will grab hold of you, snap your head around, and challenge you to stare your mortality in the face.

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              7. Charlotte’s Web

                by E.B. White

                OK, let’s lighten things up a bit. Who doesn’t love a novel about talking animals? A Laura Ingalls Wilder Metal winner, E.B. White’s children’s classic about Wilber the pig and his host of barnyard friends from Charlotte the spider to Templeton the rat flings wide the door to imagination and makes us wonder what a world where animals could talk would be like. On a more serious note, it challenges us to ask ourselves how we’d treat animals if they could talk. If they could tell us their joys and their fears, would mankind treat them more humanely? White’s novel is a lesson for children and a reminder for adults of the beauty of nature, the cycle of life, and the importance of remembering that every creature has its place on this earth.

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                8. The Reader

                  by Bernhard Schlink

                  Set in late-20th Century Germany, this novel boldly confronts long-standing German national guilt over the Nazi war crimes of the Holocaust through the strange, intergenerational relationship between 15 year-old Michael Berg and 36 year-old Hannah Schmitt, an illiterate tram operator and former Auschwitz prison guard. As Michael teaches Hannah to read books, Hannah teaches Michael to read the human character, and he comes to learn about the nuances between good and evil and of living with the consequences of one’s choices. The Reader is a story about personal as well as national guilt, about the consequences of keeping secrets, and about the power of redemption.

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                  9. Jane Eyre

                    by Charlotte Bronte

                    Bronte’s classic novel tells the tale of a young girl’s struggle to make something of herself in the world, from the tyranny she endures as a poor orphan under her Aunt’s roof and the deplorable conditions she lives in at Lowood school to the dark secrets she encounters in her role as Governess at Thornfield Hall, the home of the enigmatic and alluring Mr. Rochester. Strong-willed and resilient, Jane longs for the independence that Victorian England denied women, and her story stands as a timeless example of a woman’s determination to choose her own path in life in the face of hardship and ridicule.

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                    10. The End of the Affair

                      by Graham Green

                      This is another one of those books filled with nuggets of truth that you might cut your teeth on, but that we all need to learn to swallow. The End of the Affair tells the story of the brief but life-altering adulterous relationship between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah Miles. Set in part against the turmoil of World War II, the personal battles of love, hate, guilt, and the search for truth and redemption are all the more poignant. The story of Maurice and Sarah reminds us that the things we do for love can trigger an inexorable pull of fate that carries our lives on a passionate and sometimes perilous journey and that while love doesn’t always last forever, the lessons we learn from it do.

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                      11. To Kill a Mockingbird

                        by Harper Lee

                        This one’s gotten a lot of attention with the recent announcement that Lee will be releasing a prequel this summer, so even if you’ve read it before, now might be a good time to revisit it. Told through the point of view of the 6 year-old Scout Finch, the story recounts a crisis that rocks her Alabama hometown when the African American Thom Robinson is accused of raping a young white woman. Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, is the lawyer appointed to represent Robinson. Alternately humorous and brutally honest, the novel looks critically at social issues of class, race, and sex politics and the sometimes ironic injustice of the American legal system.

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                        12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

                          by J.K. Rowling

                          K, who am I kidding? Read all of them, but you have to begin at the beginning, right? The Wizarding world of Harry Potter has captivated children and adults alike. The story of the Boy Who Lived, a downtrodden, emotionally neglected orphan who discovers he’s a wizard, ticks all the big boxes on must-read lists. It deals with the enduring love of friendship, the pain of loss, the triumph of good over evil, and the reality that sometimes the fiercest battles we fight are within ourselves.

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                          13. The Secret Garden

                            by Frances Hodgson Burnett

                            A beloved children’s favorite about little Mary Lennox, who goes to live in the English manor house of her reclusive uncle after her parents die of Cholera, The Secret Garden is a timeless classic about the beauty of nature, the healing power of love, and a belief in magic. As the Yorkshire sunshine softens Mary’s hard little heart and she befriends the animal charmer Dicken, her invalid cousin Colin, and a host of gentle creatures, you’ll laugh with her and cry with her as she learns how to love, how to trust, and how to reach outside herself to nurture the world around her.

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                            14. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

                              by C.S. Lewis

                              When Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy slip into the magical land of Narnia, befriending talking animals and battling the White Witch, they discover the bonds of family and the value of bravery. This is more than a story about an entire world tucked away in an old piece of furniture. It’s a novel about the boundlessness of the human imagination. Set against the backdrop of World War II England, the land of Narnia represents the timeless hope in a better, brighter future.

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                              15. Anne of Green Gables

                                by L.M. Montgomery

                                When 11 year-old orphan Anne Shirley goes to live with the middle-aged brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, she discovers that there’s been some mistake and that they had actually wanted to adopt a boy. While this debacle initially drops Anne into a world where she fears being rejected and unloved, you’ll ultimately be rewarded as Anne’s spirited imagination and kind heart win over everyone whose life she touches. This is a heartwarming story of love and friendship and a poignant reminder that sometimes life not working out the way we want it to is actually the best thing that can happen.

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                                16. The Girl Who Fell From The Sky

                                  by Heidi Duro

                                  This novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and black father. When Rachel, her mother, and her younger brother fall nine stories from an apartment building, Rachel is the only survivor, and she’s taken in by her black grandmother in a predominantly white Portland neighborhood. With her brown skin and blue eyes (a white girl’s eyes in a Black girl’s face) Rachel faces the challenge of learning what it means to be biracial in a black-and-white world. Duro offers a masterful novel that interrogates the cultural construction of race in America and challenges us to confront our own prejudices.

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                                  17. Bridget Jones’s Diary

                                    by Helen Fielding

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                                    A prevailing pop culture icon since her debut in 1996, Bridget Jones has been a symbol of everyday feminism for women all over the world from the UK to Japan. Her self-deprecating, candid cataloguing of dating and dieting debacles, her struggle with body image, and her desire for personal and financial independence resonates with readers because we’ve all been there at some point in our lives. Humorous and heartwarming, Fielding’s novel offers comical but critical commentary on what it means to be a woman in today’s world and reminds women (and men) that feminism is less about bra-burning and defying marriage statistics and more about standing up for yourself and loving yourself just as you are.

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                                    18. Uncle Tom’s Cabin

                                      by Harriet Beecher Stowe

                                      A well-known abolitionist novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a political and puritanical indictment of American slavery. Stowe weaves together the stories of several slaves from the fierce Eliza who will stop at nothing to rescue her son from being sold to the meek, modest Uncle Tom who bears his burden calmly and quietly, serving his masters with the faithful honesty of a man for whom freedom is as much a state of mind as a physical condition. This is a novel about the endurance of the human spirit and the moral obligation to fight for right.

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                                      19. The Bell Jar

                                        by Sylvia Plath

                                        The Bell Jar is a hauntingly realistic novel based on Plath’s own life and tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a talented young woman who gains a summer internship at a large New York magazine and discovers that instead of enjoying the glamorous New York lifestyle, she finds it frightening and disorienting. Lifted from Plath’s own struggle with depression, the Bell Jar is an authentic look into the human psyche and sheds light on the realities of mental illness.

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                                        20. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

                                          by Lewis Carroll

                                          A classic work of Victorian Children’s Fiction, this is a whimsical tale of magic and nonsense in which Alice finds herself in an imaginary world after chasing a white rabbit she sees while sitting quietly on the riverbank. Opening this novel invites you to fall down the proverbial rabbit hole and into a world of talking animals and magic mushrooms that cause Alice to grow or shrink depending on which side she eats. This novel has delighted children and adults alike with its blurring of the boundaries between real and make-believe and the all-too real sensation of trying to find our way around a world we can’t make sense of.

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                                          21. The Picture of Dorian Gray

                                            by Oscar Wilde

                                            In this chilling novel, the titular character, Dorian Gray, is the subject of a portrait by painter Basil Hallward, who is enamored of Dorian’s beauty. Knowing that his youth will fade eventually, Dorian wishes to sell his soul for beauty and youth, and his wish is granted. As Dorian grows more beautiful, his painting mysteriously takes on an increasingly monstrous appearance. Hauntingly descriptive and delicately crafted, Wilde’s novel challenges us to look within ourselves and acknowledge the darker side of human nature and the struggle between good and evil that each of us faces.

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                                            22. Murder on the Orient Express

                                              by Agatha Christie

                                              In one of Christie’s most compelling mysteries, the luxurious Orient Express is stopped in a snowdrift in the dead of night, and the next morning, a grumpy, dislikable American passenger is found stabbed twelve times with his door locked. Only the other passengers can have been the killer with the possibility of it being an outside job highly unlikely because of the snowstorm. As Detective Hercule Poirot investigates, a tangled tale is woven around the murdered man as each passenger is revealed to be connected to him. With her usual flare for intrigue, Agatha Christie gives us a mystery that blurs the boundaries between legal and moral justice, challenging us to decide when, and if, it’s ever justifiable to take the law into our own hands.

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                                              23. The Little Prince

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                                                by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

                                                The most-translated book in the French Language, The Little Prince is the story of a little boy who falls to Earth from an Asteroid after visiting several other asteroids to try to understand mankind. In his travels he meets a series of strange and delightful characters, including a king with no subjects, a drunkard who drinks to forget about the shame of being a drunkard, and an untamed fox. The Little Prince is an allegory about the foolishness of man and man’s tendency toward self-destruction through violence, as well as a heartwarming tale of the transformative power of friendship and trust.

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                                                24. The Fault in Our Stars

                                                  by John Green

                                                  A Compelling, touching story, The Fault in Our Stars recounts the experiences of Hazel, a teenager with cancer, and the experiences of the other teens in her cancer support group. As together they share their fears and their joys, readers come to appreciate the fragility of life through these young voices whose lives are at once burning with intensity and flickering on the point of dying. Green captures the struggles of terminal illness with tenderness and amazing authenticity, reminding us that love, friendship, and faith transcend all, even death itself.

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                                                  25. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

                                                    by L. Frank Baum

                                                    A classic novel about adventure and magic, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz tells the story of what happens to little Dorothy Gale when she and her dog, Toto, are caught up in a cyclone and whisked away from their Kansas farm to find themselves in the land of Oz, where they meet a host of colorful characters including the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion. Together they journey to the Emerald city to meet the celebrated Wizard in a quest for knowledge, love, courage, and a search for home. Immortalized in its famous adaptation starring Judy Garland, the novel is a heartwarming story about friendship and bravery, about appreciating what you have, and never forgetting that home is where your heart is.

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                                                    26. 1984

                                                      by George Orwell

                                                      One of the best-known dystopian novels, 1984 is Orwell’s nightmarish masterpiece. Its world is uniquely unsettling: the state controls every aspect of your existence, even limiting the language such that most human expression is totally excised from everyday life. Obedience is the height of safety, and any trace of dissatisfaction is unacceptable. The eyes of the government are everywhere, abetted by technology and your own children.

                                                      This is the book that gave us the neologism “Orwellian,” an adjective used to describe official surveillance and deception, like the activities conducted by 1984’s government. While it isn’t exactly a heartwarming book, it will definitely get you to think and make you more attuned to the big issues today: free speech and free press, the dangers of the surveillance state, and the importance of history.

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                                                      27. The Catcher in the Rye

                                                        by J.D. Salinger

                                                        Holden Caulfield is a captivating character, because his outlook is just so jaded – he’s merely sixteen. This book was first published in 1951, and its appeal back then – and now – is just how different it was from the typical novel of the early fifties. Salinger liberally uses profanity, portrays sexuality, and employs an unabashedly casual tone. Themes of angst and alienation thread throughout this classic text: it will appeal to teenagers and adults alike.

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                                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                                                        Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                                                        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                                                        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

                                                        Feeling tired all the time?

                                                        Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

                                                        I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

                                                        Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                                                        If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                                                        In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                                                        What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                                                        If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                                                        Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                                                        • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
                                                        • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
                                                        • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                                                        • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
                                                        • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                                                        • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
                                                        • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                                                        Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

                                                        Unfortunately, yes!

                                                        Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

                                                        Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

                                                        Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

                                                        Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

                                                        Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                                                        Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

                                                        1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
                                                        2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                                                        3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                                                        The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

                                                        It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                                                        Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                                                        Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

                                                        If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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                                                        Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

                                                        Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

                                                        But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

                                                        Symptoms of fatigue include:

                                                        • Difficulty concentrating
                                                        • Low stamina
                                                        • Difficulty sleeping
                                                        • Anxiety
                                                        • Low motivation

                                                        These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                                                        Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                                                        How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                                                        The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                                                        Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                                                        So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

                                                        The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                                                        Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                                                        Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

                                                        If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

                                                        And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                                                        It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

                                                        4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                                                        Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                                                        1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                                                        2. Exercising regularly
                                                        3. Using stressbusters
                                                        4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                                                        So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

                                                        After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                                                        In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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                                                        I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                                                        Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                                                        • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
                                                        • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
                                                        • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                                                        • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                                                        The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

                                                        And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

                                                        But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

                                                        L — Living Healthy

                                                        Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

                                                        So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

                                                        In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

                                                        As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                                                        Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                                                        1. Unplug

                                                        Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

                                                        So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                                                        2. Unwind

                                                        Do something to relax.

                                                        Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

                                                        3. Get Comfortable

                                                        Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                                                        Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

                                                        Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                                                        Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

                                                        If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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                                                        Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

                                                        This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                                                        E — Exercise

                                                        Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                                                        That’s what happened in my case.

                                                        But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

                                                        As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

                                                        My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

                                                        That made sense to me.

                                                        So, I decided to swim.

                                                        I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

                                                        Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

                                                        Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

                                                        So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

                                                        If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                                                        A — Attitude

                                                        Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                                                        When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

                                                        Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

                                                        Breathing.

                                                        But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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                                                        Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

                                                        1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
                                                        2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
                                                        3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
                                                        4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
                                                        5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
                                                        6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

                                                        This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                                                        When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

                                                        Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

                                                        N — Nutrition

                                                        Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                                                        If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

                                                        Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

                                                        For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                                                        Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

                                                        Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                                                        1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                                                        2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
                                                        3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
                                                        4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
                                                        5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                                                        6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
                                                        7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
                                                        8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
                                                        9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

                                                        Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                                                        That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                                                        Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

                                                        The Bottom Line

                                                        If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

                                                        If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

                                                        If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

                                                        • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
                                                        • Regular Exercise You Love
                                                        • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
                                                        • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

                                                        Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                                                        More Tips to Help You Rest Better

                                                        Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                                                        Reference

                                                        [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                                                        [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                                                        [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                                                        [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                                                        [5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                                                        [6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                                                        [7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                                                        [8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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