How to Handle Exhaustion

Today for Wellness Wednesday, we’re talking about how to handle exhaustion.

Maybe you traveled somewhere really fun with your friends or family over the weekend, and you got back in well past your usual bedtime.

Maybe you stayed up very late because an old friend was in town, and going out for dinner and drinks was a once-this-year sort of opportunity.

Or your favorite team had a late game you simply had to watch (looking at you, Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs fans).

Whatever the reason is, you got to bed too late. Far too late. Today, you’re paying for that. But, it was probably worth it, and now you’ve got to overcome that tired feeling. Here are three strategies for how to handle exhaustion:

  1. Space out your caffeine, and only increase it slightly. Caffeine is a great tool for increasing your alertness level throughout the day. However, it is tempting when you’re tired to just drink cup after cup of coffee, tea, or pre-workout. Resist this, as too much caffeine can have the opposite effect, and actually make you more tired. One great way to do this is to look at your normal caffeine consumption, and add one additional serving, while spacing out the others. Let’s say you usually drink an 8 ounce coffee in the morning and the afternoon. On your extremely tired days, allow yourself another 8 ounces (on average this is 240-300mg caffeine in total, not an unsafe amount) and space it as an extra dosage in the morning and the afternoon. This will give you a little jolt without letting you crash.
  2. Take a 15-30 minute nap. If you can swing it, this is going to be the absolute best thing you can do to manage fatigue on your “no sleep” day. If you can find 30 minutes in your day to even sneak out to just your car in order to get a nap, you’ll feel much better for it. However, do not sleep past 30 minutes. At that point, you’ll start entering sleep cycles and feel worse when you wake up.
  3. Eat a higher carbohydrate diet. There is all sorts of debate among what fuel source your body and brain desires and functions best on, but research indicates your brain likes glycogen. Glycogen comes from carbohydrates. Therefore, eat a slightly higher carbohydrate diet on days when you’re exhausted. At the same time, reduce your fats a little. Being tired isn’t a reason to put on body fat. As always, keep your protein level high!