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Are You Sick of Being Tired?
In American society exhaustion is considered a badge of honor by some, a testament to their devotion to work and family. But if you find yourself sleepwalking through the day and nodding off over dinner, then you need to become aware of the many ways fatigue can hamper your life.
Persistent fatigue can be a symptom of ailments such as anemia, diabetes, sleep apnea and fibromyalgia. If a trip to the doctor has ruled out medical causes for your exhaustion, then it's time to reassess your lifestyle.
Fatigue may be commonplace, but it's not normal. To help reclaim your energy, try the following tips:
1. Commit to eight hours of sleep. Sixty-three percent of adult Americans don't get the body's required eight hours of sleep a night. Over time, skipping even a couple of those hours each night results in decreased memory, decreased job performance and depression.
2. Set a bedtime routine. Small children love their nighttime rituals, and there's a place for them with adults as well. If possible, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even weekends. Over time you'll feel the positive results.
3. Have a small meal or snack every threeto four hours to maximize energy. Going long periods without eating causes blood sugar levels to drop and exhaustion to set in. Try to eat three small meals and two healthy snacks daily. Focus on protein and complex carbohydrates (found in vegetables, brown rice, beans, peanut butter, nuts, seeds and fruit), which provide steady, long-lasting energy.
4. Exercise early in the day. Exercise floods the body with adrenaline, making it difficult to sleep. Be sure to work out at least three hours before you turn in. It's also been proven that a regular exercise routine improves your ability to sleep.
5. Evaluate your beverages. Caffeinated coffee or soft drinks are fine in the morning, but should be avoided after the noon hour. It's also recommended that you avoid alcohol within three hours of going to bed. While alcohol may help you sleep in the short run, it often causes middle-of-the-night wakefulness, which robs you of deep, restful slumber.
6. Indulge in personal uplifts. Depression is one of the greatest causes of fatigue. Make time for healthy pursuits that lift your spirits-a walk with your children, volunteering, inspirational reading, a makeover or a visit with a friend who knows how to make you laugh.
7. Lose weight. Extra pounds are a major cause of exhaustion. Obesity is also a major contributor to sleep apnea, a medical condition that prevents people from experiencing deep sleep.
8. Learn to control everyday stress. Fatigue is a standard response when the body feels overwhelmed by stress. Exercise and stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation and biofeedback can be helpful.
9. Set realistic limits on your schedule. No one can be all things to all people every day. If you're having difficulty getting your schedule under control, it might be time to hire some outside help, cut back on activities and/or seek out a professional counselor to help you adjust.
© Your HealthStyle, 2002.
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