Let’s be real here. You and I both know that the one singular difference between you and people like JK Rowling Elon Musk and Saitama isn’t your smarts, it isn’t your motivation and it isn’t even your work ethic. The one difference between you and them is that you are constantly tired. Right if not for that one teensy little difference then you’d easily be able to crank out a couple of chapters in the next great American novel each morning before heading out to fight crime and lesser tasks like studying for exams and not subsisting entirely after Totino’s pizza rolls would be trivially easy but as it stands you can’t do those things because you are basically a zombie.
Well maybe not like a literal zombie like in that one episode of Space Dandy but the similarities are mounting. You got bags under your eyes. You feel sluggish and there’s that inexplicable craving for raw meat but more importantly you just don’t have the energy to do the things you want to do on a daily basis. So what I want to do today is explore some methods for breaking that cycle of constant tiredness and getting back your daily energy reserves. Now before we get started I do want to mention that I am not talking about conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome and SEID which affect millions of people here in the US alone and are very difficult to cure and pin down. What I am talking about is that much more common feeling of general tiredness that affects many many more people and is entirely preventable through adopting healthier habits, chief among them being to get better sleep. Now you’ve probably seen the recommendations put out by the National Sleep Foundation about how many hours you should be sleeping each night based on your age but even if you’re using those figures to set your alarm clock you still might be waking up in the morning feeling like you just got hit by a truck and if that’s the case it’s probably because you’re not respecting your body’s sleep cycle.
See, during the night sleep happens in several different stages that each correspond to different levels of brain activity and together these are known as the sleep cycle. Now I’ll link to some sources down below if you want to go more in depth on this but what you need to know right now is that if you wake up in the wrong stage of the sleep cycle you’re gonna feel absolutely awful and that’s a risk you run when you use an alarm clock. For most of human history we didn’t have access to alarm clocks or electric lights for that matter. Our sleep patterns were much more in tune with the cycle of day and night and they’re also governed by the body’s sleep cycle itself. Someone living before the invention of the alarm clock would almost always wake up at the completion of a sleep cycle unless they were disturbed by something like a rooster’s crow or an invasion of Mongol’s. And because of that they’d almost always wake up feeling well-rested. By contrast if you let alarm clocks startle you awake in the middle of a sleep cycle then you’re gonna be waking up in Zombie mode.
As Pierce J Howard put it in his book The Owners Manual for the Brain, a person who sleeps only four cycles or six hours will feel more rested than someone who has slept for eight to ten hours but who has not been allowed to complete any one cycle because of being wakened before it was completed. Now each of these sleep cycles takes an average of 90 minutes to complete and in the past I recommended a site called sleepytime.me which uses that number to help you figure out when you should wake up based on your bedtime.
But one thing I’ve learned recently is that this 90 minute figure really is just an average and it can vary by up to 30 minutes in either direction. So instead of just setting your alarm based on that 90 minute ballpark figure you should instead work to figure out when you naturally wake up. This might take a while for you learn but once you know what it is you can then use your alarm as a backup method and ideally you’d wake up at the completion of your final sleep cycle before it goes off in a natural well-rested state. The alarm is just there to make sure you do get up on time if something goes wrong. Of course that also means you need to get to the habit of actually going to bed on time to wake up before that alarm goes off and if you have trouble doing this like I do I did make an entire video that I’ll link to in the description down below but the main key habit you to establish now is building a winddown ritual.
Basically you want to disengage from anything you typically get sucked into well before your bedtime. For me this means turning off my computer around 9 p.m. Each night, otherwise I’ll convince myself I can answer a couple of emails and then I’ll inevitably get sucked into a click hole quiz to see if I have what it takes to train Freddy Krueger to be a barista. Spoilers I really really don’t.
Now even if you have got a rock-solid sleep schedule you might still be suffering from a couple of problems that are really common to students and that are related, a lack of sunlight exposure and a lack of exercise. We’re gonna get into some science here in a second but first I do want to note that when I feel tired during the day when I get those feelings of brain fog going outside for a 20 minute walk always works. It is the number one method that can get me out of that state. So I definitely recommend trying it out. And honestly this makes intuitive sense because our bodies were designed to move. Humans used to trek miles and miles to catch their prey and even when we turn to agriculture for food production that still involved being outside for most a day doing hard work and plus you get to wear stylish overalls.
But now a lot of us are sedentary. We spend a lot of time in chairs and all the time we sink into screens and books keeps us indoors and away from the sun. And that could be huge contributor to why you feel so tired. It might not be as obvious a connection as it is for plants which need nothing but sunlight and Brawndo but make no mistake. The sun plays a huge role in maintaining your energy levels. For one sunlight exposure helps your body correctly time its production of melatonin which is a hormone that helps you go to sleep and plays a part in maintaining your circadian rhythm which helps you stay in sync with the cycle of day and night. But sunlight exposure is also your body’s main source of vitamin D which not only plays a role in keeping your bones healthy, keeps your immune system working, and your lungs working, but also plays a big role in helping you avoid fatigue. A study that was done in 2014 found a high correlation between vitamin D deficiency and fatigue as well as a big improvement in those fatigue symptoms once patients in the study got their vitamin D levels back to normal.
Now you might think that you can just eat better food to get your vitamin D but that isn’t the case. While improving your diet will definitely help your energy levels in other ways as Mark Sisson points out in his book the Primal Blueprint dietary efforts to obtain vitamin D are almost inconsequential compared to sun exposure. To put some hard numbers behind that a standard American diet will get you about 300 IUs or international units of vitamin D per day but experts recommend getting around 4,000. That’s a big gap, but fortunately just going outside for 20 minutes during the peak months of sun exposure can easily make up the difference. Now one thing to note here is that sun exposure alone often isn’t enough during the winter months if you don’t live near the equator. It’s just not powerful enough which is why a lot of people suffer from seasonal affective disorder. So if that’s the case for you you might also want to look into a vitamin D supplement during those months.
But even with those it is a good idea to try to get outside in the sun at least a little bit every single day even if it’s for just a quick walk. And that brings us the topic of exercise. Now you might be thinking I’m gonna tell you that the only way to not feel tired all the time is to do an intense workout every single day but luckily that isn’t the case.
In fact just doing some low intensity exercise like going for 20-minute walk outside like we just said might even be more effective at getting rid of those symptoms of fatigue and brain fog than a more intense workout. In 2008 researchers at the University of Georgia did a study and found that students who did just 20 minutes of exercise three times a week had huge improvements in both their daily energy levels and their levels of fatigue. And what’s more their improvement in these areas were actually better than the group in the study that did more intense exercise. So the bottom line is if you’re tired all the time get some exercise every single day. Doing a heavy bench work out or running 10 miles is fun for you then definite do that but if not you’ll still benefit from a quick walk at a pace that won’t make you spill your coffee. And speaking of coffee let’s talk about caffeine. Now I am not going to outright condemn caffeine here because if you use it every once in a while it can actually be a useful tool for staving off fatigue when we need to finish a particularly big project but as this recovering caffeine addict can tell you it is super easy to start using caffeine on a regular basis and that is where the problems begin.
For starters if you drink something caffeinated late enough in the day it can really mess with your sleep. And by late enough I’m not talking about like a 9 p.m. Cup of joe. I’m talking about like six hours before bedtime according to one study. So if you having an afternoon coffee you could be compromising your sleep which just makes you further dependent on it the next day. Additionally much like any other drug your body starts to build up a tolerance to caffeine as you use it regularly. To put this really really simply your body and your brain both have lots of receptors for a compound called adenosine and this compound tells your body that it’s tired and that it’s ready to sleep. Caffeine works by essentially impersonating that adenosine and it blocks up the receptors and it prevents the adenosine from getting through which makes you temporarily feel like you’re energetic and not tired. The author Stephen Braun liked in this process to putting a block of wood underneath one of the brain’s primary brake pedals.
Once the caffeine is moved through your system though all that built-up adenosine comes rushing through creating that all-too-familiar caffeine crash. Not only that but regular caffeine use will also cause your body to upregulate, to create more adenosine receptors and that means that as time goes on you need more and more caffeine to do the same job and get the same feeling. Eventually become like my friend in college who would chug three to four pots of coffee every single day. Now if you are already at that point maybe you are that friend of mine from college or you’re on your way to it like I have been at several points in my life the process of weaning yourself off of caffeine can be tough. Adopting the sleep and exercise habits we’ve already talked about in this video can definitely help but you can also use the following few tips to make the process even easier. First if you drink coffee or energy drinks try switching to tea. While most tea does have some caffeine it’s almost always a lot less than those other drinks.
And for those of you that think tea tastes like dirty rain water out of a gutter I have three words for you loose leaf tea. Not only is it more flavorful and higher-quality than the bagged kind but there are hundreds of different flavors out there. If you’re a coffee drinker you might wanna start with something like Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast which aren’t exactly like coffee but when mixed with milk make pretty good substitutes. Second use a habit tracking app like habitica and do a 30-day challenge to kick caffeine. This will give you a little bit of extra motivation because you now have a tangible goal that you’re working towards and you’re marking down your progress every single day.
And lastly drink more water and you can create this habit by carrying around a water bottle with you wherever you go. This will basically make water or replacement for all those caffeinated drinks you usually turn to and while it won’t give you a buzz it actually will help with those feelings of fatigue and brain fog. Even mild dehydration can make you feel tired. That’s because basically every part of your body including your brain needs a good supply of water to function properly and while the old advice to get eight glasses a day might not be scientifically sound most people aren’t even getting close to that amount and that often includes me. I don’t bring that water bottle with me when I go out I will drink barely any water during the day at all. Alright we’ve covered a lot in this video. So let’s do a quick recap. If you want to not be tired of time, you want to be energetic, first get enough sleep and respect your body’s sleep cycles by not waking up with an alarm clock.
Try to wake up naturally and use your alarm clock just as a backup. Second, get outside. Get a little bit of sunlight exposure every single day and in the winter months also consider using a vitamin D supplement. Third, get some exercise every day as well even if it’s something relatively low-level like going for a quick walk or pulling around jumbo jets with your teeth. Fourth, use caffeine sparingly. Use it as a tool. Don’t be like my friend in college and drink three or four pots of coffee a day and build a dependence. And finally number five, make sure you drinking enough water. Now you might be thinking that none of these habits seems particularly out of the blue or insightful but I would ask you how many of them are you sticking to? Because really avoiding a life of constant tiredness comes down to adopting healthy habits.
They might seem obvious but sometimes we need a simple reminder. We need to stop and make a commitment or put a system in place to make us take them seriously especially when we have things like goals and school and relationships and video games all vying for our attention at the same time. Now I don’t agree with a lot of what the dude says these days but Elliott Hulse made a very good point when he said the most important part of the game is your game piece.
So make your health a priority and in return you’ll be rewarded with an uncommon level of energy and focus that you can use to tackle all those other things with a much greater level of intensity. You might even find yourself with the energy to take on projects that you wouldn’t have even considered before. Instead of finishing your homework and then just watching Netflix or playing video games, you might actually have the energy to teach yourself how to build video games or learn landscape photography. And instead of just ordering pizza or making something easy, you might actually want to cook something that takes real skill.
Once you’re at that point you’ll probably want to accelerate your learning process as much as you possibly can and that is exactly what you can do with Skillshare. With over 17,000 courses in a ton of different subjects, Skillshare’s library can help you quickly build confidence in almost any area you can think of, photography, music production, game design and yes even cooking. I recently took their knife skills class which taught me some techniques that I would have never thought of in my own and they’re helping me spend a lot less time on vegetable prep when I’m in the kitchen which means that I’m actually cooking with vegetables a lot more often.
And rather than just giving you the information like in lecture, Skillshare courses offer hands-on projects. It’ll put what you’ve learned to the test and it will challenge you to improve your skills even more quickly. Plus if you happen to want help or you want feedback on your project you can get it for both the teacher in that course and the other people taking it alongside you. So if you’re ready to put all that newfound energy into learning a new skill effectively give Skillshare a try. The first 500 people who sign up with the link down below will get a free two-month trial and after that a premium subscription is as low as 10 bucks a month if you want to keep learning. And if not it’s super easy to cancel. Thanks so much to Skillshare for sponsoring this video and helping to support this channel.
Seriously I love working with Skillshare. They are great guys over there. And guys as always thank you so much for watching. If you enjoyed this video and you found it to be useful then leaving like definitely helps this channel out and if there’s something I didn’t mention here that you found useful in your own life definitely leave a comment down below so other people can benefit from it. And speaking of things that were left out I know we didn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to nutrition and we also didn’t talk about how to take naps effectively. So I will definitely do videos on those topics in the future and you want to get notified about them and anything else I release you can subscribe to this channel right there. You can also hit that bell down below if you want to actually get notifications. Additionally if you want to get a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades you can click right there to get that.
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