Get through the day without getting drowsy
Daytime drowsiness can be a huge drag unless you maintain energy throughout the day and avoid the afternoon lull.
It’s inevitable. Some days your eyelids just want to droop and there’s no pop in your step. Most people think there’s nothing that can be done aside from pouring an extra cup of coffee. But that sleepy feeling can cause problems, getting in the way of things like daily work, childcare and even leisure activities. Before you order another double mocha espresso, here are a few things that can be done to help avoid a case of daytime drowsiness.
Manage your mealtimes. It’s not just when we sleep that regulates our internal clock. It’s also when we put fuel into our bodies. Start your day by eating a healthy breakfast to let your body know it’s time to be active, and eat lunch at the same time every day. If you don’t, your internal clock may fall out of sync and so can your sleep schedule. When it comes time for dinner, make sure to finish eating at least two hours before bedtime, or else your body will still be working hard to digest the food. Overall, healthy eating helps to prevent energy deficits during the day.
Don’t be afraid to break. Meditation doesn’t have to mean lighting candles and sitting cross-legged on the floor. It just means you’re hitting the mental reset button, which can help you make it through the day without hitting the wall. Set aside 10-20 minutes to take a few deep breaths. Closing your eyes and “taking-five” helps overcome fatigue and, in the end, may increase overall productivity. A hard day’s work can drain our mental energy, and a scheduled break can give you the drive and energy you need to help you get through your day. Any quiet place where you can find some solitude will do. If you need some inspiration, try.
- Deep breathing. First close your eyes. Then start taking slow breaths, making each one deeper than the last.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Starting at your toes and working your way to the top of your head, tense all your muscles as tightly as you can and then relax them.
- Visualization. Imagine a quiet, peaceful place that’s just for you. Close your eyes and think about how relaxed this place makes you feel.
- Yoga, self-massage and meditation are three other techniques that can help reduce stress.
Cut the caffeine. Too much caffeine can increase our heart rate, blood pressure and can lead to an inevitable crash once it wears off. It also stays in our system for up to ten hours after consumption, meaning that afternoon cup of joe might have helped get you through the day, but it also may be keeping you awake when it’s time for bed. The best way to consume caffeine is in moderation and avoiding caffeine close to bedtime.
Get your body moving. Working out for at least 20 minutes a day three or four times a week provides you with more energy throughout the day. This doesn’t mean you have to become a gym rat. Even a ten-minute walk can help you overcome that fatigued feeling. Spend ten minutes walking the halls, taking the stairs or circling the block. And exercise doesn’t just help you feel more refreshed during the day. It also regulates your body temperature, making it easier to fall asleep fast and sleep more soundly. Just make sure to avoid exercising within three hours of bedtime, as your body won’t be ready to call it a day. Also, remember to talk to your doctor before beginning or modifying an exercise regimen.
Wake up at the same time every day. The routine of always getting up at the same times helps anchor your circadian rhythm. That includes weekends, too, as any late sleeping can throw your internal clock out of sync and leads to grogginess the next day.
Light up your life. Daily sunlight isn’t just good for your soul. It helps to regulate your sleep patterns.
Schedule a full night’s sleep. We make to-do lists, but not many people ever think to write “sleep” on that list. In today’s over-stimulated world, maybe we should. If you find yourself too busy to get a full night’s sleep, rearrange your schedule and make the adjustments that allow for not only a full night’s sleep, but also relaxation time that allows your body to wind down before bed. Do more activities in the morning or evening instead of at night and eliminate the tasks that aren’t very important. You’d be surprised how a more organized schedule can lead to a more relaxing experience when it comes time for bed.
Give yourself a curfew. If you’re tired during the day, the most likely culprit is that you may not be getting enough sleep at night. Everyone requires a different amount of sleep, with most people needing between seven and eight hours. Gradually acclimate your body to an earlier sleep time by going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night for a few weeks. Then, if needed, go to bed 15 minutes before that. Before you know it, your body will be getting the sleep you need and daytime drowsiness will be the exception, not the norm.
Tell your body when it’s time to shut off. Your body responds to ritual. If falling asleep fast seems like a far-off dream, try adding a soothing activity to your bedtime routine. Meditation, a warm bath, soothing music or even a cup of tea of warm milk can all become reminders to our body that it’s time to sleep. This type of bedtime routine separates night from stressful and stimulating daytime activities.
Sleepiness can be more than a problem. It could be a condition. Don’t write off sleep disorders. If your daytime sleepiness is consistent even after you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, it may be time to see a specialist. Undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders are one of the greatest causes of daytime fatigue. Talk to your doctor if you think one of these conditions might also be leading to daytime fatigue.
Too many people treat sleep as an afterthought and end up paying the price the next day. In a world where we find ourselves surrounded by laptops, smartphones, TV and work 24/7, we need to work harder at preparing our bodies for sleep and getting the required hours every night.
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