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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

5 Sources Of Fatigue And How To Fight Against Them

5 Sources Of Fatigue And How To Fight Against Them

Have you ever felt extreme tiredness to the point that you feel unable to function? Are you bordering on exhaustion rather than feeling a little ‘low?’ Feel like your mental and physical capacity is suffering? Well you may unknowingly be suffering from fatigue and it’s about time you do something about it.

Millions out there are struggling to get up and out in the morning and feel the effects lasting throughout the day, most notably at work where we feel like the lack of mental and physical capability is stealing our productivity. So what to do then?

Below are the five common causes of fatigue and ways to tackle them so you can be more productive, maintain razor-sharp focus and have bags full of energy throughout the day.

Like everything in life there is a cause and effect and fatigue is no different. There are both physical and mental symptoms of fatigue, which can frustrate you if you don’t know how and why they are occurring. Whether it be stress levels, nutrient deficiencies or lack of self worth, fatigue is out to stop you in your tracks so it’s time you understand what can be done about it.

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What does mental fatigue feel like?

A lock of focus, the inability to concentrate for long periods, a wandering mind, and lack of creativity is what mental fatigue feels like. Once the brain is clear on what it has to do and the mind isn’t playing tricks on you, you will find that your focus improves, and your motivation is back.

And what about physical fatigue?

Struggling to get out of bed, always feeling like you want to sit down, lacking drive and energy to do the things you love are all signs of physical fatigue. If your brain isn’t functioning then the body will start to shut down too. Your brain’s primary role is to keep you safe and sound and is more concerned with surviving than thriving so your body won’t be allowed the energy to perform everyday tasks. So on to the five main sources of fatigue…

1. Lack of sleep

Lack of sleep is too common nowadays. It can start off with a few late nights and before you know it months have passed and you haven’t been able to remember the last decent night’s sleep you’ve had. During sleep your brain and muscles go in to repair mode. Hormonal and metabolic changes take place and your cells get a chance to regenerate. Sleeping helps improve your mood, energy and vitality in both the short and long term.

Here are my top three supplements to help you get a peaceful night’s sleep:

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1. Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain which regulates your sleep cycle.

2. Valerian root. Got a lot on your mind which is causing you to keep awake at night? Well this supplement will help reduce anxiety and help you relax so you can get great sleep.

3. Magnesium. Studies show most of the population lack magnesium. In order to help your muscles relax and calm your nerves take this mineral daily.

2. Stress

Yes I went there! I said the ‘s’ word. You’ve got stress bombarding you from all angles and your adrenal glands are not happy about it. The walnut-sized glands sit on top of your kidneys and their role is to manage stress levels. Be careful how you treat them as they can only take so much damage. When you are suffering from fatigue you can be sure that your adrenals are crying out for help. Overworked adrenals lessen your ability to conceive, maintain energy and perform sexually as well as maintaining sugar levels and reducing inflammation.

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How to manage stress? Start by not taking life too seriously. Stress is only your perception of what’s going on around you so the minute you realize life isn’t as bad as you make it out to be then that will help you on your way to reducing your stress levels.

3. Spending too long working out

Over the years as a fitness and well-being professional, I have seen people slave out in the gym for hours on end. I get that if you want to have your dream physique you’ve got to work hard in creating it but there is a difference between working hard and working smart. Studies by researchers show that after 45 minutes your testosterone levels drop and your cortisol levels rise which is what you don’t want considering you are looking to drop your stress levels. In reality most of us spend too long in the gym doing things that aren’t relevant to our workout. Focus on getting quality work done within the 45-minute mark. Otherwise you are placing unnecessary stress on your body and will find it harder to recover increasing your chance of fatiguing.

4. Dehydration

Considering you are a minimum of 70% water, don’t you think it would be helpful to keep up your water intake throughout the day? A lot of the time exhaustion is actually dehydration in disguise. We don’t consume near enough water as we need leaving us feeling tired, lethargic and heading for the nearest coffee machine. Your cells, just like your car need the right liquid to work so make regular stops to the gas station to get you feeling full of beans again.

How much water should you be drinking? In his book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, the leading figure in hydration, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, recommends one liter of water per 50 pounds of body weight. I would stick to that great advice as I’ve personally seen great results off the back!

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5. Too much caffeine

This point follows on perfectly from point #4. Coffee is the most addictive drug on the planet and its high caffeine content is the cause of fatigue in most people but instead we overload thinking we are dealing with fatigue. Too much of the stuff causes the adrenal glands to overwork and feelings of tiredness and lethargy start to kick in. Its addictive qualities will have you reaching for a cuppa every time you’re feeling a little low but be warned if you’re overloading on caffeine and have a toxic diet. Expect negative effects on quality of life.

There you have it, a clear guide to what is causing fatigue and knowing what you now know you can get on with building the right strategy that fits your life to make sure you can enjoy it without feeling tired, drained and demotivated.

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Last Updated on April 30, 2021

How to Stay Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Stay Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Coffee is a way of life for many employees. Caffeine gives them the boost they need to help them get through the day. But as we know, like sugar highs, eventually the caffeine boosts wear off. The million-dollar question at the office for many people should be googling is, “how to stay awake at work without caffeine?”

According to Gallup, a staggering 85% of workers are “not engaged” at work.[1] That means the majority of the workforce around the world view their work negatively or are doing the minimum required to keep their jobs. As a result, it should come as no surprise that people are getting tired at the office.

Perhaps, you’re like one of my clients. Every morning he starts off his day like many people all over the world. He heads into the kitchen, pops in a capsule in his Nespresso machine, and then sits in front of the TV while sipping his gourmet coffee. Then, throughout the day, he’ll have one or two more cups, especially if the Sandman is visiting.

According to The National Safety Council, 43% of workers are sleep-deprived so it’s not uncommon to see people with a cup of joe on their desk.[2] Add in the meetings that seem to drag on and the hours we spend in front of a computer screen and the battle for our focus is very real.

Caffeine has become the drug of choice for millions. People use coffee to jolt themselves back into focus. Starbucks has even made coffee hip and cool, not to mention pricey. But that doesn’t mean it’s good for us. Thankfully, there are better, healthier ways to stay awake.

Here are some tips on how to stay awake at work without coffee.

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1. H2O

We all know the importance of drinking water. What most people don’t realize is the effect it can have on our focus and productivity. If you’ve ever been on a 6-hour plane ride or longer, upon landing, your body feels heavy. The reason is dehydration. The adrenaline from the excitement of heading to Disneyland with our family can mask our lethargy for only so long. Once it wears off, our body will feel it.

The same thing happens at the office. The more dehydrated our body is the worse its functions. Headaches are largely linked to dehydration. Hydrating our body has numerous health benefits that are relatively unseen including the elimination of toxins from our bloodstream, improved digestion, lubrication of our joints and eyes, and increased concentration.

Just how much water should we be drinking? According to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, women should drink about 2.7 liters a day, while men should drink about 3.7 liters.[3]

Despite knowing we should drink more water, many people don’t. Why is that? Simply put—boredom. It’s lacking in taste. Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, or Monster Energy are what people turn to instead. It doesn’t hurt that they have caffeine in them either, giving them a double shot of energy in the form of sugar and caffeine.

How do we combat this? Easy, by making water “cool.” Liven up your water by adding ice cubes made out of 100% fruit juice or add wedges of fruits to your water infusing them with a hint of your favorite flavors.

Suggestion: Download an app or set up alarms to notify you throughout the day to drink water. Your body will thank you.

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2. Good Night’s Sleep

Like water, this should go without saying. It should, but with 43% of workers being sleep-deprived, it needs to be said, over and over again. Too many people shortchange their sleep because of work or fun.

For most people, there’s just not enough time in the day to do everything they want to. Burning the midnight oil before a big presentation or project is understandable but long-term, our body and performance will suffer if we push our body too hard.

A few years ago, the WSJ coined the term “sleepless elite,” referring to a small group of people that only need a short amount of sleep every night. Scientists estimate they make up only about 1% of the population.[4] You might be one of them. Only you know how effective you can be on a few hours of sleep. I’m not one of them, and chances are likely you aren’t either. I’ve only ever met one person who fit the bill, but the impact it is having on their body is still unknown.

We are all unique. Each of our bodies functions slightly differently, but for most people, seven to eight hours a day is needed for optimum performance. But it’s not just about quantity but also quality, which is why it’s important to have a 30-minute cool-down before getting into bed.

Turn off all screens. If possible, switch to yellow light. If not, simply turn down the lights. Turn off notifications on your phone. Do everything you can to make your environment conducive to sleep. Finally, reading a chapter or two in a good book to make yourself sleepy is a great way to get ready for bed. Doing these simple things will dramatically improve the quality of your sleep.

Suggestion: Create a daily cool-down routine to ensure the quality of your sleep.

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3. 80% Rule

In Japan, there’s an expression, “8 bun me,” which refers to eating until you’re 80% full. It’s actually a stroke of genius, especially for those looking to get more done at work. Knowing how to stay awake at work without caffeine is a real challenge for many people, but adjusting your diet is a great place to start.

When I first moved to Japan, I often found meals to be much smaller than those in America. I’m not going to lie, it bugged me at first. I found myself still hungry after lunch. Over time though, my body adjusted.

The problem with a full stomach is that it pulls blood away from our brain, which is why many people feel sleepy after lunch. Not feeling full after lunch will allow you to operate at a higher level at the office.

Most of us have been taught to have a light breakfast, a more robust lunch, and a big meal for dinner. Ironically, it should be the other way around. The problem is a big meal for dinner is something most people don’t want to change. Therefore, we should go to work on the other two meals.

For many people in the West, breakfast consists of a banana, cereal, or peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So, by the time lunch rolls around, it’s not surprising they’re hungry. The large lunch leads them to be sleepy in the afternoon. Instead, consider having a more substantial breakfast that will see you through the day. That way, lunchtime can be nothing more than a snack, allowing your mind to stay sharp until you finish up for the day.

Suggestion: A few small changes in your diet can lead to improved productivity at the office.

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4. Breathing

Breathing is another undervalued technique to boosting our performance. Patrick McKeown’s The Oxygen Advantage, James Nestor’s Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, and Wim Hof’s The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential all delve into the power of breathing and oxygen.

Brendon Burchard, the bestselling author of Life’s Golden Ticket: A Story About Second Chances and the creator of High-Performance Academy, says, “I don’t hope to have energy. I generate energy.” He does this through a series of breathing and physical exercises and it’s remarkable how effective these are in helping us boost performance.

Suggestion: Take the time to learn how to breathe as it can an effective way to boost energy or relax your body.

5. Reward Your Body

Another long-term solution to help us stay awake at work is by rewarding our bodies. Our bodies work hard for us. The daily grind can take its toll on our bodies over time, which is why it’s critical to reward our bodies.

Massages are an excellent way to reduce pain and muscle soreness while improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure. Nice warm baths can also achieve similar results. Massages and baths help battle insomnia, reduce injuries and anxiety, help with joint pain, and much more.[5][6]

Suggestion: Schedule regular massages into your month.

Bottom Line

Learning how to stay awake at work is a real challenge for millions of people the world over. Many turn to caffeine in the form of coffee to give them the boost they need, but it’s a short-term solution for a long-term problem. Instead, we should focus on changing a few of our daily habits. The results will astound you and with any luck, you’ll be able to kiss the caffeine habit goodbye.

More Tips on How to Stay Awake at Work

Featured photo credit: Ilya Pavlov via unsplash.com

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