How to wake up feeling great: The 90 minute rule
Make sure you keep track of your sleeping cycle from now on!
Make sure you keep track of your sleeping cycle from now on!
Last Updated on March 30, 2020
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.
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.
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. And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.
Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:
Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?
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.
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:
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.
Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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:
The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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).
Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:
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.
Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.
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:
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.
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:
Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.
Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com
|||^||YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week|
|||^||National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?|
|||^||The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?|
|||^||Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome|
|||^||Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?|
|||^||Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle|
|||^||American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep|
|||^||Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing|