Waking up tired after a late night isn’t a surprise. However, feeling drained and tired every day, even when getting the recommended amount of sleep, is puzzling. Still, there are some things you can do to increase your energy levels throughout the day. Consequently, doing the things that increase your energy throughout the day will also help you sleep better at night.
It’s easy to dismiss the importance of a healthy diet, and even when people are aware of its benefits, they may only go on a “diet” for a time and then return to their old habits, wondering why they’re still void of energy. The trick to a healthy diet is maintaining it. It’s not a change you make for a few months and then revert. It is a lifestyle change that won’t only help you be physically healthier but also improve your quality of life. Instead of just making it through the day, you’ll own the day with lots of energy and save sleep for nighttime.
All calories from food give you energy but not all in the same way. Your body needs three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Carbs are the body’s fastest and favorite energy source with two kinds, simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are foods made up of only one or two sugar molecules. As such, they are easily digested by your body and provide fast energy. However, the downfall of simple carbs is they cause short bursts of energy that are followed by a crash. Examples of simple carbs are white bread, candy, fruit juice, and breakfast cereals. Many of these typically have added sugar and will cause you to feel sluggish after your short energy spell. Complex carbs have three or more sugar molecules and are more difficult for your body to break down. The effect of this is slower steam of energy for longer. A crash does not accompany complex carbs. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains are complex carbs.
Carbs also affect your energy levels through their glycemic index (GI). GI is the measure of how carbs affect your blood sugar levels. Like simple carbs, foods with a high GI are a quick, short burst of energy followed by a crash. Research shows that foods like white rice, potatoes, dairy with added sugars, and fruits with high sugar contents are high GI and low fiber—associated with lower alertness and sleepiness.
Caffeinated foods affect your body in a whole different way. Instead of boosting energy through carbs, caffeine blocks the brain’s adenosine receptors, leading to higher levels of dopamine and noradrenaline. Chocolate, coffee, tea, energy drinks, and matcha contain caffeine. Caffeine being a stimulant, has side effects like insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety.
Take Away: All this to say that by switching up your diet to include more complex carbs, carbs with a lower GI, and lowering your caffeine intake, you’ll have more energy throughout the day and sleep soundly through the night.
It seems odd that leading a sedentary lifestyle would decrease energy and daytime sleepiness. Yet, your body needs activity. The reason for exercise increasing energy is two-fold.
First, exercise encourages your muscle cells to produce mitochondria. Mitochondria are the “powerhouse of the cell” because they turn glucose and oxygen into fuel: more mitochondria = more energy.
Second, exercise increases the supply of oxygen in your body. Just like taking deep breaths can help you feel more alert and ready to tackle a task, exercise is a deep breath for your body. Making you more alert and full of energy.
Takeaway: Exercising can lead to more energy throughout the day, and better sleep at night. Strive to hit the recommended amount of exercise per week, 150 to 500 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
Get More Sleep and Drink More Water
There is countless research on the effects of poor sleeping habits, and the benefits that sleep can give to a deprived body. During sleep, your body restores. It stores information from the previous day, reorganizes cells, and prepares you for the day ahead. Without sleep, we are tired, moody, less alert, and can have headaches. Other, more severe consequences can arise from not getting enough sleep, too. Anxiety, depression, memory loss, weight gain, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, lower testosterone, and heart problems are among the list of consequences of inadequate or no sleep.
The human body is made mainly of water, and we need water to function correctly. When dehydrated, we experience symptoms like sleepiness, irritability, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Drinking more water throughout the day can increase your energy levels.
Takeaway: Strive to get the recommended amount of sleep per night and drink the recommended water. Adults should have at least 7 hours of sleep per night and drink between 11 and 16 cups of water per day.
What Can I Do When That Doesn’t Work?
Changing your habits and lifestyle isn’t always the golden ticket to more energy during the day. Sometimes, an outlying factor is either thwarting your efforts or making your hard work ineffective. One of these factors is sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition where you experience breathing pauses for as little as 10 seconds or up to a minute or longer. Depending on the severity of the case. When you have obstructive sleep apnea, the soft tissues in your airway sag and close off your body from oxygen. Eventually, after a decrease in blood oxygen levels and increased carbon dioxide levels, your body panics and wakes you up with a jolt. You may not always notice these awakenings, but it pulls your body out of deep sleep. The kind of sleep where your body is doing the hard work or restoring and preparing you for the next day. Symptoms of sleep apnea include,
- Daytime sleepiness
- Feeling unrested in the morning
- Moodiness, irritability, or depression
- Dozing off during inactivity (including while driving)
- Memory problems
- Loss of interest or energy
- Frequent urination at night
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight despite healthy diet and exercise
- Dry mouth in the morning
- Morning headaches
- Gasping or choking while sleeping
- Restless sleep
Sleep apnea can be mistaken for and associated with other conditions like high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, mood disorders, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), thyroid problems, and low testosterone.
Seek Sleep Apnea Treatment in Midtown Manhattan
If you’re sick of being tired, moody, having headaches, and are concerned about other conditions associated with sleep apnea, it’s worth it to get tested and find a treatment option that works for you. At Appolon Dental Group, we understand how important your sleep is to your quality of life. We offer sleep apnea treatment with oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy is a custom-fitted oral appliance that you wear at night. The appliance will keep your airway open while you get a good night’s sleep. No bulky CPAP machine and no fuss. Just a sleek guard that you wear in your mouth at night.
If you’ve tried everything to get your energy up and it’s just not working, call (212) 557-8668 or make an appointment online with Dr. Karthilde Appolon. Dr. Appolon is a leading New York dentist who can pave your way to better sleep.