How to Start the Day with and Maintain Energy
We all know the feeling. We sluggishly wake up an hour later than we should and by midday we’re exhausted. What causes this? Why do we feel this way? Is there any way to stop it? This is a question most every worker, student, parent, etc. has asked themselves at one point. In essence, it’s a two-part question: how do we start the day with energy and then how do we maintain that energy throughout the day? To answer that question, we need to delve into the particulars of some lifestyle habits and science to get a complete picture.
The first thing to understand is that the two halves of this question aren’t separable. Waking up with more energy is necessary for maintaining energy throughout the day. So, how do we wake up energized? Well, that’s been a subject of discussion for a very long time. Everyone knows the dreaded feeling of waking up to an alarm clock and we all wish that we had the tenacity to avoid pressing the snooze button over and over. Thankfully, there are many ways this can be achieved.
Avoid Caffeine after Lunch
As we all know, caffeine is a natural stimulant that keeps us alert and awake. We consume it for that very reason. However, for those of us trying to get a good night’s sleep so that we can wake up energized the following day, caffeine can just as easily become our enemy. Caffeine naturally disrupts the natural sleep cycle by making us feel capable of staying up way after our circadian rhythm would have us rest. Naturally, we then feel a lot less rested when we are forced to wake up.
In general, caffeine is a hard thing to wean off of but if we want to maintain energy throughout the day, it might be a good idea to abandon it altogether (or at least mostly). See, our reliance on caffeine to keep us alert can be the cause of our midday fatigue since it prevents us from naturally building up reserves of energy. In addition, as with any addictive substance, the more we use, the more we need. For example, since I don’t drink coffee often, it only takes one cup to make me alert for hours. Frequent coffee drinkers I know often require three or four.
The snooze button is very likely the number one culprit that causes us to be late to work. Aside from that, it’s also one of the main reasons we wake up feeling tired. See, even though it might seem like we’re squeezing out the last bit of rest we need in a day, in reality we’re actually engaging in disjointed, heavily disrupted sleep. In the end, this isn’t really sleep at all and actually causes us to feel more tired in the morning and throughout the day.
If you can’t trust yourself to get up right away, consider relocating your alarm to a place where you cannot reach it. This will achieve two things. First, it will force you to stand up right away. Second, it will help jolt you and give you a bit of energy to propel you to the bathroom to brush your teeth.
Get a Routine
Impulsivity is a true impediment to productivity. Every day, we waste a lot of time and energy doing things that don’t necessarily help us in any way, shape or form. No time of day is more susceptible to this degree of rampant impulsivity than the morning. It’s very easy to slack off and get lazy in the morning but that’s exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. If we don’t have a good morning routine, it’s very likely that we will start the day off on the wrong foot and never be able to get our bearings. As the old saying goes “he who wins the morning wins the day.”
To help, here are some suggestions to help get a good, strong, healthy morning routine going. First, try and determine what you will do immediately after waking up. Stretch, shower, brush teeth, eat? It really doesn’t matter what you do so long as you do something. Not having an immediate destination after getting up is bound to lead you to indulge your greatest impulse at that time: going back to sleep.
It might sound counterintuitive but research has conclusively proven that exercise actually gives us MORE energy rather than deprive us of it. As a result, one common cure for midday fatigue is to simply do a bit of exercise to help jostle your system. If we extrapolate this out, it’s easy to see that continuous, interspersed exercise throughout the day is a great way to maintain energy throughout the day.
Be sure to not do anything too intensive. We’re not trying to body build or break a sweat. We’re simply trying to give our system an energy boost. That typically means cardiovascular exercises are the best. Think jumping jacks and running for example.
Contrary to the last tip, this one is very intuitive and, for that reason, often looked over. Being diurnal animals (meaning active during the day), our bodies are naturally geared to be awake during periods of light and restful during periods of dark. Light, but sunlight in particular, is a great way to help reenergize us. When feeling down, consider stepping outside to absorb sunlight. Not only will it help you get more energy, but it will also help keep you awake and beam down some fresh vitamin D.
Daytime fatigue is a modern problem that we all experience. It’s caused by insufficient sleep and lack of activity. With just a few simple steps, it’s easy to overcome the exhaustive power of daytime fatigue and stay on top of things with a clear body and mind. This article covered just a few of the many ways you can start your day feeling energized and maintain that energy till it’s time to sleep again.