Since childhood, our doctors and parents have embedded it into our heads that we need enough sleep to be fully operative in our daily activities. "Get a full eight hours of sleep and eat a balanced breakfast every day." Easier said than done.. especially as an adult.
Were they exaggerating? What makes us tired by 3pm? Why do Mondays come so quickly and Fridays take so long to resurface each week? Let's start with the essentials, and explore the elements that help form our energy, why they are needed and how they're overused in order to understand how to preserve them.
Water and hydration directly contribute to higher levels of energy. Water helps speed up metabolism and works as a natural detoxifier. Water is essential to all functions of the body including blood circulation, digestion of food and even acting as a simple natural headache remedy. Reduced endurance is caused by mild dehydration and may cause negative effects on both the physical and mental capabilities.
A simple 8×8 rule will help remember the minimum water intake. Eight, 8-ounce glasses of water (also equivalent to half a gallon per day), will suffice for the average adult. A lot, right? You'll thank us later. Most importantly…listen to your body! If you're thirsty, drink. You know your body and daily activities better than anyone. During exercise, when it's especially hot or on a stressful day, consume more water and listen to what your body is naturally asking for.
The more energy you use, the more you have. That doesn't sound too convincing, I know. But think about it; how do all those people you see jogging up the hill do it so effortlessly? They do it regularly, so their body's endurance and muscle strength increases.
According to Mayo Clinic, physical activity delivers nutrients and oxygen to our tissues and increases the chances of a healthy cardiovascular system. Exercise releases endorphins, which contribute to your brain receptors. These receptors reduce the perception of physical pain, allowing your mind to strive forth with your exercise routine when the normal instinct would be to give up.
I have to admit, a soda on a hot day sometimes can be so refreshing. Although your thirst will be quenched for the moment, the lasting effects are more harmful than your original thirst to begin with. Soda, other drinks and foods containing a lot of sugar and high fructose syrup, create insulin in our bodies, spiking blood sugar levels.
Within an hour, the excessive sugar creates a blood sugar crash. This crash is felt physically, decreasing energy levels and removing motivation as a whole. The chances are less likely to find the energy to burn off the sugar intake, which also contributes to the chances of you grabbing for another sugary substance…and so the cycle continues.
It's time to stop the glorification of #TeamNoSleep. How is not sleeping going to make you more productive? It's not! I get it, your favorite rapper is making them "dolla, doll bills" by taking "no days off." And that's great. But the celebrities who are up all night, are likely to have the luxury of sleeping all day. So stop, just STOP.
A healthy brain and our emotional well-being is dependent on rest. Getting a good night's sleep naturally assists in healing heart and blood vessels, which is vital to our energy levels. You are not distributing the energy properly by staying up late all week and then comatosing all weekend. Hit the snooze button when you can and develop better sleeping patterns to be able to find the energy to participate in physical activity, improve memory, spark creativity, and lower stress levels.
When people have a lot on their plate and are unable to maintain a stable functioning schedule, things can get a little out of whack. There are many psychological triggers that contribute to stress. Anxiety is a large part of energy loss, it drains you mentally in a big way. If you are easily frazzled and react tensely to everyday life changes and challenges, you are likely to be a walking case of exhaustion. There are a few things you can do to help maintain your stress levels, but you must be open to chill out long enough to try them.
Our earlier examples of why exercise is so important to our energy levels goes hand in hand with your mental health. Going outdoors in general, will alleviate the tension from being in the office all day.
Step away from the desk, take walks frequently, go on a hike and enjoy Mother Nature's simplicity. In other words, breathe. Life will continue at its own pace no matter how fast you're moving…enjoy it!