How to Stop Being Tired All the Time
Are you always tired? Let’s look at some methods to remedy that.
- Get better sleep-The main idea is to wake up at a completion of a sleep cycle. Throughout the night, you can through several sleep cycles. If your alarms wakes you up before the completion of a sleep cycle, you will feel terrible. Each sleep cycle takes 90 minuets to complete.
If you train your body to wake up naturally at an end of a sleep cycle and only use an alarm as a backup, you will wake up well rested.
- Sunlight exposure-This can be as simple as taking a 20 minute walk during the day. Sunlight is also the main source of vitamin D. This can’t be fixed through a diet. Even if you increase vitamin D intake through food and supplements, nothing can substitue the vitamin D captured through sunlight. Vitamin D supplements are a good alternative during winter months if you live in cold climates.
- Exercise-You’ve heard this one before, but this can be as simple as walking outside for 20 minutes. It doesn’t have to be an extreme daily workout routine.
- Use caffeine sparingly. Don’t rely on it to get you through the day. This way, when you really need it, it will be very helpful.
- Drink plenty of water.
Video by Thomas Frank
Let’s be real here. You and I both know that the one singular difference between you and people like JK Rowling Elon Musk and Saitama isn’t your smarts, it isn’t your motivation and it isn’t even your work ethic.
The one difference between you and them is that you are constantly tired. Right if not for that one teensy little difference
then you’d easily be able to crank out a couple of chapters in the next great American novel each morning before heading out to fight crime and lesser tasks like studying for exams and not subsisting entirely after Totino’s pizza rolls would be trivially easy but as it stands you can’t do those things because you are basically a zombie.
Well maybe not like a literal zombie like in that one episode of Space Dandy but the similarities are mounting. You got bags under your eyes. You feel sluggish and there’s that inexplicable craving for raw meat but more importantly you just don’t have the energy to do the things you want to do on a daily basis.
So what I want to do today
is explore some methods
for breaking that cycle of constant tiredness
and getting back your daily energy reserves.
Now before we get started
I do want to mention
that I am not talking about conditions
like chronic fatigue syndrome
and SEID which affect millions
of people here in the US alone
and are very difficult to cure
and pin down.
What I am talking about
is that much more common feeling
of general tiredness
that affects many many more people
and is entirely preventable
through adopting healthier habits,
chief among them being to get better sleep.
Now you’ve probably seen the recommendations
put out by the National Sleep Foundation
about how many hours
you should be sleeping each night
based on your age
but even if you’re using those figures
to set your alarm clock
you still might be waking up in the morning
feeling like you just got hit by a truck
and if that’s the case
it’s probably because you’re not
respecting your body’s sleep cycle.
See, during the night sleep happens
in several different stages
that each correspond to different levels
of brain activity
and together these are known as the sleep cycle.
Now I’ll link to some sources down below
if you want to go more in depth on this
but what you need to know right now
is that if you wake up in the wrong stage
of the sleep cycle
you’re gonna feel absolutely awful
and that’s a risk you run
when you use an alarm clock.
For most of human history
we didn’t have access to alarm clocks
or electric lights for that matter.
Our sleep patterns were much more
in tune with the cycle of day and night
and they’re also governed
by the body’s sleep cycle itself.
Someone living before the invention
of the alarm clock
would almost always wake up
at the completion of a sleep cycle
unless they were disturbed by something
like a rooster’s crow
or an invasion of Mongol’s.
And because of that
they’d almost always wake up
By contrast if you let alarm clocks
startle you awake in the middle of a sleep cycle
then you’re gonna be waking up in Zombie mode.
As Pierce J Howard put it in his book
The Owners Manual for the Brain,
a person who sleeps only four cycles
or six hours will feel more rested
than someone who has slept
for eight to ten hours
but who has not been allowed
to complete any one cycle
because of being wakened
before it was completed.
Now each of these sleep cycles
takes an average of 90 minutes to complete
and in the past I recommended a site
which uses that number to help you figure out
when you should wake up
based on your bedtime.
But one thing I’ve learned recently
is that this 90 minute figure
really is just an average
and it can vary by up to 30 minutes
in either direction.
So instead of just setting your alarm
based on that 90 minute ballpark figure
you should instead work to figure out
when you naturally wake up.
This might take a while for you learn
but once you know what it is
you can then use your alarm
as a backup method
and ideally you’d wake up
at the completion of your final sleep cycle
before it goes off
in a natural well-rested state.
The alarm is just there to make sure
you do get up on time if something goes wrong.
Of course that also means
you need to get to the habit
of actually going to bed on time
to wake up before that alarm goes off
and if you have trouble doing this
like I do I did make an entire video
that I’ll link to in the description down below
but the main key habit you to establish now
is building a winddown ritual.
Basically you want to disengage
from anything you typically get sucked into
well before your bedtime.
For me this means turning off my computer
around 9 p.m.
otherwise I’ll convince myself
I can answer a couple of emails
and then I’ll inevitably get sucked
into a click hole quiz
to see if I have what it takes
to train Freddy Krueger to be a barista.
Spoilers I really really don’t.
Now even if you have got
a rock-solid sleep schedule
you might still be suffering
from a couple of problems
that are really common to students
and that are related,
a lack of sunlight exposure
and a lack of exercise.
We’re gonna get into some science
here in a second
but first I do want to note
that when I feel tired during the day
when I get those feelings of brain fog
going outside for a 20 minute walk
It is the number one method
that can get me out of that state.
So I definitely recommend trying it out.
And honestly this makes intuitive sense
because our bodies were designed to move.
Humans used to trek miles
and miles to catch their prey
and even when we turn to agriculture
for food production
that still involved being outside for most a day
doing hard work
and plus you get to wear stylish overalls.
But now a lot of us are sedentary.
We spend a lot of time in chairs
and all the time we sink into screens
and books keeps us indoors
and away from the sun.
And that could be huge contributor
to why you feel so tired.
It might not be as obvious a connection
as it is for plants which need nothing
but sunlight and Brawndo
but make no mistake.
The sun plays a huge role
in maintaining your energy levels.
For one sunlight exposure
helps your body correctly time
its production of melatonin
which is a hormone that helps you go to sleep
and plays a part in maintaining
your circadian rhythm
which helps you stay in sync
with the cycle of day and night.
But sunlight exposure is also
your body’s main source of vitamin D
which not only plays a role
in keeping your bones healthy,
keeps your immune system working,
and your lungs working,
but also plays a big role
in helping you avoid fatigue.
A study that was done in 2014
found a high correlation
between vitamin D deficiency and fatigue
as well as a big improvement
in those fatigue symptoms
once patients in the study
got their vitamin D levels back to normal.
Now you might think
that you can just eat better food
to get your vitamin D
but that isn’t the case.
While improving your diet
will definitely help your energy levels
in other ways
as Mark Sisson points out in his book
the Primal Blueprint
dietary efforts to obtain vitamin D
are almost inconsequential
compared to sun exposure.
To put some hard numbers behind that
a standard American diet
will get you about 300 IUs or international units
of vitamin D per day
but experts recommend getting around 4,000.
That’s a big gap,
but fortunately just going outside for 20 minutes
during the peak months of sun exposure
can easily make up the difference.
Now one thing to note here
is that sun exposure alone
often isn’t enough during the winter months
if you don’t live near the equator.
It’s just not powerful enough
which is why a lot of people
suffer from seasonal affective disorder.
So if that’s the case for you
you might also want to look
into a vitamin D supplement
during those months.
But even with those
it is a good idea to try to get outside
in the sun at least a little bit
every single day even if it’s for just a quick walk.
And that brings us the topic of exercise.
Now you might be thinking
I’m gonna tell you that the only way
to not feel tired all the time
is to do an intense workout every single day
but luckily that isn’t the case.
In fact just doing some low intensity exercise
like going for 20-minute walk outside
like we just said
might even be more effective
at getting rid of those symptoms of fatigue
and brain fog than a more intense workout.
In 2008 researchers
at the University of Georgia did a study
and found that students
who did just 20 minutes of exercise
three times a week had huge improvements
in both their daily energy levels
and their levels of fatigue.
And what’s more their improvement
in these areas were actually better
than the group in the study
that did more intense exercise.
So the bottom line is
if you’re tired all the time
get some exercise every single day.
Doing a heavy bench work out
or running 10 miles is fun for you
then definite do that
but if not you’ll still benefit
from a quick walk at a pace
that won’t make you spill your coffee.
And speaking of coffee
let’s talk about caffeine.
Now I am not going to outright
condemn caffeine here
because if you use it every once in a while
it can actually be a useful tool
for staving off fatigue
when we need to finish a particularly big project
but as this recovering caffeine addict
can tell you
it is super easy to start using caffeine
on a regular basis
and that is where the problems begin.
For starters if you drink something caffeinated
late enough in the day
it can really mess with your sleep.
And by late enough
I’m not talking about like a 9 p.m. Cup of joe.
I’m talking about like six hours
before bedtime according to one study.
So if you having an afternoon coffee
you could be compromising your sleep
which just makes you further dependent
on it the next day.
Additionally much like any other drug
your body starts to build up a tolerance
to caffeine as you use it regularly.
To put this really really simply your body
and your brain both have lots
of receptors for a compound called adenosine
and this compound tells your body
that it’s tired and that it’s ready to sleep.
Caffeine works by essentially impersonating
that adenosine and it blocks up the receptors
and it prevents the adenosine
from getting through
which makes you temporarily
feel like you’re energetic and not tired.
The author Stephen Braun
liked in this process
to putting a block of wood
underneath one of the brain’s
primary brake pedals.
Once the caffeine is moved through your system
though all that built-up adenosine
comes rushing through
creating that all-too-familiar caffeine crash.
Not only that but regular caffeine use
will also cause your body to upregulate,
to create more adenosine receptors
and that means that as time goes on
you need more and more caffeine
to do the same job and get the same feeling.
Eventually become like my friend in college
who would chug three to four
pots of coffee every single day.
Now if you are already at that point
maybe you are that friend of mine from college
or you’re on your way to it
like I have been at several points in my life
the process of weaning yourself off of caffeine
can be tough.
Adopting the sleep and exercise habits
we’ve already talked about in this video
can definitely help
but you can also use the following few tips
to make the process even easier.
First if you drink coffee or energy drinks
try switching to tea.
While most tea does have some caffeine
it’s almost always a lot less
than those other drinks.
And for those of you
that think tea tastes like dirty rain water
out of a gutter
I have three words for you loose leaf tea.
Not only is it more flavorful
and higher-quality than the bagged kind
but there are hundreds
of different flavors out there.
If you’re a coffee drinker
you might wanna start with something
like Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast
which aren’t exactly like coffee
but when mixed with milk
make pretty good substitutes.
Second use a habit tracking app like habitica
and do a 30-day challenge to kick caffeine.
This will give you a little bit of extra motivation
because you now have a tangible goal
that you’re working towards
and you’re marking down your progress
every single day.
And lastly drink more water
and you can create this habit
by carrying around a water bottle
with you wherever you go.
This will basically make water
or replacement for all those caffeinated drinks
you usually turn to
and while it won’t give you a buzz
it actually will help with those feelings of fatigue
and brain fog.
Even mild dehydration
can make you feel tired.
That’s because basically every part of your body
including your brain
needs a good supply of water
to function properly
and while the old advice
to get eight glasses a day
might not be scientifically sound
most people aren’t even getting
close to that amount
and that often includes me.
I don’t bring that water bottle with me
when I go out
I will drink barely any water during the day at all.
Alright we’ve covered a lot in this video.
So let’s do a quick recap.
If you want to not be tired of time,
you want to be energetic,
first get enough sleep
and respect your body’s sleep cycles
by not waking up with an alarm clock.
Try to wake up naturally
and use your alarm clock just as a backup.
Second, get outside.
Get a little bit of sunlight exposure
every single day
and in the winter months
also consider using a vitamin D supplement.
Third, get some exercise every day as well
even if it’s something relatively low-level
like going for a quick walk
or pulling around jumbo jets with your teeth.
Fourth, use caffeine sparingly.
Use it as a tool.
Don’t be like my friend in college
and drink three or four pots of coffee a day
and build a dependence.
And finally number five,
make sure you drinking enough water.
Now you might be thinking
that none of these habits
seems particularly out of the blue or insightful
but I would ask you
how many of them are you sticking to?
Because really avoiding a life
of constant tiredness comes down
to adopting healthy habits.
They might seem obvious
but sometimes we need a simple reminder.
We need to stop
and make a commitment
or put a system in place
to make us take them seriously
especially when we have things like goals
and school and relationships
and video games all vying
for our attention at the same time.
Now I don’t agree with a lot
of what the dude says these days
but Elliott Hulse made a very good point
when he said the most important part
of the game is your game piece.
So make your health a priority
and in return you’ll be rewarded
with an uncommon level of energy and focus
that you can use to tackle
all those other things
with a much greater level of intensity.
You might even find yourself
with the energy to take on projects
that you wouldn’t have even considered before.
Instead of finishing your homework
and then just watching Netflix
or playing video games,
you might actually have the energy
to teach yourself how to build video games
or learn landscape photography.
And instead of just ordering pizza
or making something easy,
you might actually want to cook something
that takes real skill.
Once you’re at that point
you’ll probably want to accelerate
your learning process as much
as you possibly can
and that is exactly what you can do
With over 17,000 courses
in a ton of different subjects,
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and they’re helping me spend a lot less time
on vegetable prep when I’m in the kitchen
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cooking with vegetables a lot more often.
And rather than just giving you the information
like in lecture,
Skillshare courses offer hands-on projects.
It’ll put what you’ve learned to the test
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even more quickly.
Plus if you happen to want help
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you can get it for both the teacher in that course
and the other people taking it alongside you.
So if you’re ready to put all that newfound energy
into learning a new skill effectively
give Skillshare a try.
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