5 tips to fight fatigue at work
How to fight fatigue at work before coffee
It’s Monday morning, you’ve had a couple of lie ins at the weekend and in theory, you should be feeling refreshed right? But you don’t. In fact your mind's a bit foggy and you’re feeling like you're just constantly tired these days. Even after an early night you’re still struggling when your alarm tears you away from your bed.
But before spending the day reaching for a caffeine fix (or sugar fix), try these top 5 tips to fight fatigue and tackle morning tiredness.
1. Hydrate yourself
Did you know even mild levels of dehydration can lead to lower energy and decreased ability to concentrate?
Our bodies are a hive of activity when we’re awake and asleep. All this activity results in the loss of water, so we constantly need to keep hydrated. In the morning you wake up dehydrated so the first thing you should do is have 2 glasses of water.
You should be aiming for 8 glasses of water a day, but you may need more or less depending on your weight, age and levels of activity.
At work, if you feel a headache coming on, have a glass of water first before opting for paracetamol or a painkiller as you might be dehydrated!
2. Start your day with energy boosting foods
Avoiding sugary cereals and replacing them with eggs, porridge, nuts & seeds and fruit will reduce the morning sugar spike and keep you alert (and fuller) for longer.
Food is fuel, and what you eat impacts how you feel. Swap sugary snacks during the day and refined carbs for whole foods like sweet potatoes, spinach and nuts at lunch instead.
3. Check your vitamin D
Across the UK, 1 in 5 people are vitamin D deficient. This can result in tiredness, muscle aches and poor-quality sleep.
From late March to end of September your body can make vitamin D directly from the sun after being outside for short periods of time. So, if you’re in an office all day, get outside on your lunch break!
Winter sunlight won’t be able to provide enough vitamin D so make sure you’re eating oily fish, red meat and eggs. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, vitamin D is also added to some non-diary milk alternatives and cereals (but be aware of the sugar content in cereals).
Vitamin D deficiency can be hard to correct through diet alone during the winter months, therefore for many patients dietary supplements are recommended.
At London Doctors Clinic we provide Vitamin D blood testing to check your levels and provide advice if needed.
4. Get active
For most people, the idea of going for a run or doing a workout when you’re tired is barbaric. However, a brisk morning walk in daylight will activate your endocrine system and metabolism, giving you energy. Even just 10 minutes will wake up your body and energise you for the day ahead.
Exercise = energy (sorry...)
5. How do you sleep?
We know you’ve heard this before but having 7 – 9 hours a night is what many adults need for recovery and maintaining cognitive skills. Lack of sleep not only leaves you, well, tired, but also has a whole host of medical consequences. To name a few, heart disease, diabetes, lowered immunity, stress… need we go on?
By prioritising your sleep and sticking to a schedule you can improve the quality of your sleep, so you wake up feeling rested.
Some tips include:
- Sticking to a regular bedtime – set a wind down alarm an hour before bed and make this a relaxation routine.
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals late at night – indigestion is not your friend
- Reduce screen time and make time to relax – try reading a book or a 5-minute Headspace meditation
- Make sure your room is dark, cool and quiet – reduce the impact of the outside world by investing in blackout blinds and earplugs if you need them
- Keep your bedroom for sleep only – this to reinforce the association between sleep and the bedroom in your brain
If you’re tried all this (even the morning exercise) and you’re still feeling fatigued there could be a medical reason for why you're feeling constantly tired.
If you're finding it hard to fight fatigue for more than 4 weeks, book an appointment with a GP for further advice.
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Reviewed by Dr Daniel Fenton, Clinical Director at London Doctors Clinic