9 Ways to Beat Fatigue in the New Year

Fatigue plagues too many, too frequently. How often do you hear complaints in the office of being exhausted?

Between the travel, late nights and high pressure, the struggle is particularly common with meeting and event planners. But if you’re clocking a solid eight hours of sleep, there might be another reason you’re yawning at 11 a.m. Here are a few sneaky culprits of low energy and how you can resolve them just in time for the New Year.

1. Evaluate Your Diet

It’s important to take both your intake of nutrients and eating schedule into consideration when evaluating your diet. You could need more iron, Vitamin B12 or magnesium.

The solution: Try staggering small meals every 3-4 hours. Additionally, be selective about certain foods for certain meals. A protein-heavy breakfast is ideal to keep hunger steady throughout the day, as opposed to something rich in carbs, such as a bagel. Also, be honest about what you’re eating and what needs to be done. One of the best ways to kick this off is by logging your diet. This can easily be done in apps like FitnessPal.

2. Put Down the Coffee, Pick up the Water

Drinking eight glasses of water a day sounds easy enough, right? Then why are so many of usunable to meet this quota?

When you’re dehydrated, your body processes slow down—including cell function. With a drop in blood volume, your heart has to work harder and leaves you sleepy. Many drink coffee or other energy drinks to compensate, which actually makes it much worse.

The solution: To get in the habit, set reminders on your phone or computer. Make a reusable water bottle part of your routine. Better yet, purchase one that tracks your hydration.  Another useful method is to drink two glasses with every meal.

3. Move Your Body

It’s hard. When you’re feeling groggy, the last thing you want to do is push yourself physically. However, that’s actually the best solution. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity can "reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better." It also strengthens circulation, stabilizes your metabolism and stimulates adrenaline—all of which provide a lasting energy boost.

The solution: Fortunately, gym memberships offer generous deals in January. If you need motivation for keeping it up, try enlisting a gym buddy. It doesn’t have to be all pain or no gain either. You can work out at home or run somewhere local. Most importantly, find what works for you and experiment with different approaches.

4. Give Your Mental Health Some Love

This is a very complex topic, so let’s limit it to the basics. Surround yourself with positive individuals. When those around you are constantly complaining or harming your self-esteem, they will inevitably chip away at your mood. Another important matter of self-help is stress management. According to Mayo Clinic, stress is the top cause of insomnia. This can be a vicious cycle when sleep deprivation in turn creates more stress. But it can also be taxing as you go about your day and manifest physically through adrenal fatigue and digestive distress.   The solution: It’s crucial that you prioritize a stress-relieving activity in your life. Take time out of the day to meditate, practice Yoga, go for a walk or simply listen to music. And acknowledge when you need professional help as well.  

5. Give Up the Sleeping Aids

Alcohol, over-the-counter and prescription sleeping aids will all damage your quality of sleep. Alcohol forces your body to work harder than fat or carbs do. Plus, it reduces the amount of rapid eye movement (REM) you experience while sleeping. Meanwhile with medications, people typically develop a tolerance while growing dependent on them.

The solution: Let the crutch go and don’t worry about the amount of hours you’re getting in. Quality sleep is just as important, if not more, than the amount of time. Try natural remedies like melatonin, magnesium and tea. You could even try a warm bath before climbing into bed.

6. Abide by a Strict Sleep Schedule

When your body is conditioned to a stable sleep schedule, it will feel tired and restful at the proper times. Additionally, research has also shown that sleeping in late in general may harm your energy throughout the day. A 2008 Harvard study showed that morning people better anticipate problems and are more proactive than night owls.   The solution: Set timers for sleep and for waking up. Even on the weekends, try not to stray too far from your typical sleep schedules with few exceptions.  

7. Reset the Thermostat

This one can be very insidious, especially if you live with others. The temperature in your room will not only impact your ability to and quality of sleep, it can also irritate your body. Heaters dry out the air and consequently lead to inflamed skin.

The solution: A suggested temperature indoors during the winter is 70 degrees in the living room and 64 in all other rooms, according to the West Midlands Public Health Observatory. When it comes to your bedroom, always veer on the colder side. 

8. Tidy up Your Room!

That chair in your room with all of the clothes on it might seem harmless, but the disorganization will eat away at you over time—even if you don’t consciously realize it. A messy room may contribute to other obstacles. For example, it can make you run late, feel embarrassed to bring people over or remain another task lingering over you. National Sleep Foundation asserts that your bedroom should be clean, comfortable and conducive to rest.

The solution: Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Invest in a bed that’s comfortable, keep it organized and take pride in its cleanliness. Allow fresh air to circulate. If you like scents, purchase a diffuser, candles, incense, an air freshener or all three. Make your bed in the morning to kick the day off right.

9. See a Doctor

Several health conditions could be underlying your fatigue. For instance, hypothyroidism and diabetes are known for causing fatigue. Other conditions can have this effect as well.

The solution: If you can’t pinpoint a cause, then make an appointment. Even if you think it’s probably nothing, better safe than sorry.