Today I want to write about a subject near and dear to my heart… energy. I think we’ve all found ourselves in a situation where we wake up first thing and just cant wait to go back to sleep again. You go through the day and just want to sleep. You push the snooze button up until the last possible second. You sleep more than 8 hours per night. Sound familiar?
A few months ago I found myself exactly in that situation. I was always exhausted. Everyone I knew made comments about it, and I blamed it on “a stressful job”, “a crazy sleep schedule”, or even “I just need more sleep than average people”. Eventually I said “enough is enough” and decided to get to the root of the issue.
Now, I wake up at 5 am everyday (even my days off!) and am busy all day. I generally have enough energy to cook dinner, garden, blog, and even hike in my free time. I dont EVER go through my day thinking about sleep anymore! Let me tell you how I did it!
1. Take care of your body
It sounds obvious, but its amazing what this step will do to your energy levels. Are you drinking enough water? Are you eating enough throughout the day? Do you get enough vitamins and minerals? Do you get any exercise? All of these things have monumental effects on your energy throughout the day, especially when done consistently over time. Here are some MUSTS when it comes to taking care of yourself to have more energy.
- Buy a reusable water bottle, carry it everywhere you go. Even just having it available to you will make you drink so much more water.
- Take a multivitamin, especially one with B vitamins. They even make ones that are specifically designed for energy levels.
- Get some kind of exercise everyday. It doesn’t have to be running… it can be yoga, stretching before bed, or taking a walk on your lunch break. Just do something that gets your body moving, the more variety the better!
- Eat. Make sure you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A few snacks on top of that makes all the difference too!
- **A side note about food – There are a lot of theories about what kinds of foods are best. In my experience, protein and complex carbs are the best snack for when you’re feeling sluggish! Examples of snacks like this: whole wheat toast with peanut butter, a protein shake with fruit, yogurt, etc. I also highly recommend THESE Granola bars . They’ve been a serious game-changer for me when working those long retail hours! There are tons of flavors, all of them delicious!
This was the first area I started to improve on to increase my energy. It takes about a week of doing these consistently to notice a difference. But, when you do, let me tell you… WOW.
2. Have a consistent wake up time.
I know that for most people with lives its unreasonable to have a consistent bedtime. We all have lives, and those lives generally dont end at 9 pm every single night of the year.
I work retail, and the inconsistency of my schedule was taking a major toll on my sleep schedule. One week I could be working until 11:30 a few nights, and the next week I would be going in at 5 a few mornings. It was impossible to have any kind of consistent bedtime and wake up time.
But, one day I had a bit of an epiphany. I thought about when the earliest I would generally ever wake up for work would be.. and decided on 5 am. For a few weeks I woke up at 5 every day, whether I had to work early or not. IT WOULD BLOW YOUR MIND WHAT A DIFFERENCE IT MADE!
At 5 now, every single day I am ready to go. The funniest thing about it? The time I go to sleep doesn’t seem to affect me as much anymore because no matter what, my body knows its going to be ready to go at 5. This way, I’m also way more in tune with how much sleep I need. My body knows when its going to wake up, so I get sleepy at the time my brain knows it needs to go to sleep in order to be ready to go at 5. Surprisingly, that usually isn’t nearly as early as you’d think!
It doesn’t have to be 5! Some people thrive waking up every day at 11. Whatever it is, just make it consistent and everything else will fall into place.
3. Get the highest quality sleep you can
I’ve realized that with sleep (just like other things in life), quality is more important than quantity. Which would you rather have: 9 hours of tossing and turning or 6 hours of sleeping like a baby. Most people would take the 6 hours anyday. So, how can you make sure that your sleep is high quality? Here are a few places to start:
- Make sure your room is the right temperature. Its hard to sleep well when you’re too hot or too cold.
- Keep it as dark as possible! Self explanatory.
- Finish as many “quick” to-do’s as you can before bed. This includes things like: doing the dishes, taking the dog out, watering your plants, folding the laundry, etc. This will keep the things on your mind as you try to fall asleep to a minimum! It also lets you start fresh and less stressed in the morning!
- No screens before bed!!! That means TV, computers, and your phone. There are two purposes for this. Number one: the light from the screens apparently signals to your brain to wake up. Number two: texts, work/personal emails, Snapchat, Instagram, the news, and games on your phone are not what you want to have on your mind right before bed. Giving your mind an hour or so without having to think about those things will significantly lower your stress and racing thoughts as you try to fall asleep!
- Do something calm to wind down. It can be stretching, journaling, reading, talking to your significant other, drawing. It doesn’t matter, as long as its screen-free and something you enjoy!
4. Work towards having a life that you get excited about!
This one is a little less straightforward than all of the other steps, but has the most impact by far. The opposite of tiredness is passion and excitement. So, work on creating those in your life. It can even just be something that you’re looking forward to the next day, or a breakfast that makes you want to actually get out of bed.
I realized as I started to reflect on my sleeping patterns that I was sleeping to avoid things. I didn’t want to get out of bed sometimes because I didn’t want to start my day and go into work. Other times I took naps instead of cleaning the house! As I’ve started paying attention, I realized that almost everyone does this to some extent!
When I started waking up at 5, I took away that option to sleep the morning away on my days off. Instead, I started to slowly chip away at the reasons that I wanted to sleep in in the first place. I was avoiding responsibilities and a job that frustrated me. Sleep was more of an escape than an just an opportunity to rest.
Its amazing what facing those things head on. You are less tired because you’re happy with your life and the way it is when you’re awake. Create something to look forward to! Then, start getting to the root of the things that are making you tired. Only when you take that crutch of excess sleep and tiredness away do you realize what you were running away from!
Wrapping it up
I guarantee that if you start doing these things in your life, you’ll see a major shift in your energy levels within just a few weeks. I know some of the things in this post are hard to do, but will pay back dividends when it comes to your quality of life and energy levels!
Have any experience with tiredness? Any other pro tips?? Leave me a comment below!