I would give up
I’d trade my favorite
I want sleep more than I want
Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. According to the 2020 Sleep in America Poll from the National Sleep Foundation, most adults feel sleepy three times a week. And most of us (62% to be precise) just try to “shake it off.”
While that tactic might work great if you’re Taylor Swift, when it comes to fighting fatigue, you need a plan. That’s especially true for those of us who say we aren’t sleeping well enough (versus those who lack the time to sleep).
Fatigue and sleep issues impact women and men differently, with women being more likely to experience daytime sleepiness and P.M. interruptions in sleep. And, back in 2017, another sleep survey found that eight in 10 women would have chosen more sleep over sex (a little more than half that many men would have made the same choice)!
Healthy sleep is a foundational pillar of overall health both in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western practices. Our bodies need sleep – preferably at least seven uninterrupted hours a night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – to function optimally.
Sleep is when your body processes memories, filing them away for future reference. It’s when your body makes routine and on-demand repairs. And it’s when you replenish your energy stores. Constantly shortchanging your sleep routine is like dipping into your savings account. Over time, you’ll notice your balance drifting toward the red.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to fight fatigue, even starting as soon as today.
1. Say no when you can.
Working too much – and that can include the work we do to care for others – can lead to mental fatigue. A study out of the United Kingdom looked at working hours and cognitive function. Turns out there’s a lot of truth to the saying “work smarter, not harder.” Those who worked over 40 hours a week, and especially those clocking over 55 hours, scored lower on vocabulary tests than those who worked fewer hours.
The fix: Quitting your job or hiring a staff to help at home aren’t options. But saying “no” and delegating tasks can help. Can you only say “yes” to extra projects (like school volunteer days) you have the bandwidth to take on? Can you turn down a co-worker’s request to shoulder some of their load? Can you automate or outsource tasks that take time you could spend in other ways? (I.e., grocery delivery or subscription services – more on that later!)
2. Put yourself on a schedule.
It’s 11 p.m. You’re exhausted, and it has been one of THOSE DAYS. You are desperate for sleep, but instead you stay up scrolling on Instagram and watching one more rerun of Grey’s Anatomy. The next day, you can’t press the button on your coffee machine fast enough. What gives?
Three words: Revenge bedtime procrastination. This describes what happens when we stay up later than we know we should, because we didn’t have control over our day – and we want to spend more time doing whatever we want to do. Yes, it feels good in the moment, but this is like putting a new designer purse on your credit card. The bill will come due sooner than you think!
The real solution? A bedtime for grown-ups. Yes, you might feel like you’re missing out on “me” time or your time to wind down, but the best thing you can do for your future self is get a solid night’s rest. Set an alarm to go to bed, then change into your jammies, start your evening routine, and grab a Hello Dreams™ Sleep Strip with Melatonin and Calm Down™ Herbal Blend. Turn on a sleep story as you let it melt on your tongue and swallow. Then drift off to sleep.
3. Embrace rest when you can.
When it comes to healthy sleep, focus on progress not perfection, just as you would with any new habit. After a doozy of a year, we’re all languishing, described as “the absence of well-being.” We’re tired, we’re worn out, we need a haircut and a vacation – and we’re just not our best selves. That’s OK.
Do your best with what you have, and take your rest one day at a time. Look at your schedule each week. Are there times where you could schedule for little ones to sleep over at a friend’s or grandparent’s house? (With Mother’s Day approaching, this is perhaps the best “free” gift you will ever ask for!) Block off your lunch hour (if you’re still working from home) for a power nap, then eat at your desk? Take an extra 10 minutes in the grocery store parking lot to rest your eyes and clear your head?
Sleep is a natural process, but it doesn’t always come naturally. As you prioritize sleep, go slow. Change takes time, so be gentle with yourself as you adjust to making time for rest. This process is worth it. Adequate sleep – especially during middle age – can help protect our brains as we grow older.
4. Lean on adaptogens.
Pop quiz: When you’re fighting fatigue, what do you reach for? If you answered coffee, you get partial credit. The caffeine in coffee will definitely give you a boost of energy and some pep in your step. But when you brew – and drink – a pot, the ROI (return on investment) starts to diminish.
Instead, play the long game, by making coffee and adaptogens part of your daily routine. Good Morning Sunshine™ coffee + adaptogens combines organic, Fair Trade Certified coffee (reallllly good, smooth coffee!) with organic red ginseng extract. Each pod is expertly dosed to help you fight fatigue, experience sustained energy and stress less.*
Adaptogens are a category of herbs, used in TCM and other forms of herbalism around the world, to help your mind and body adapt to stress.* These herbs are usually taken for longer periods of time. So have your morning cup of coffee for energy – but expect more from that cup!
5. Acknowledge and avoid decision fatigue.
Do you feel like you don’t have the energy to make another choice in life? We make thousands of choices a day, and over time these can lead to decision fatigue. You know the feeling even if you don’t know the term: It’s when you can’t decide what to have for dinner because you’ve spent all day making choices. It’s when you’re standing in the cereal aisle and can’t pick one. And it’s especially when you have to get dressed and can’t figure out what to wear.
How can you fight decision fatigue? Streamline your life. Routines and automation are the two easiest ways. Plan your meals and repeat them for a few weeks, or (even better) order meal prep kits. Pick out your clothes for a few days – or come up with a uniform of sorts. Schedule for your favorite products to be delivered every month, so you don’t have to think about it.
6. Get to know your daily energy cycle.
It’s completely normal to have ebbs and flows in energy levels. It’s part of the body’s natural routine and your circadian rhythm. After lunch, your body diverts attention to digesting your food, so you might feel a little less alert. After a good night’s sleep, you might wake up feeling refreshed and revived. After sunset, the darkness triggers your body’s release of melatonin, to help you start to wind down. TCM has a whole 24-hour clock that breaks down when certain organs and systems are “in charge,” and they align with your natural energy flow.
Can you look at your day and rearrange when you do certain tasks? Schedule low-energy tasks for those times you know yours start to dip, and high-energy ones for when you know you have an abundance. This is a natural way to fight fatigue by… not fighting it!
As you might have noticed, Good Morning Sunshine™ and Hello Dreams™ are formulated to start and end your day, with ancient wisdom in convenient formats for your busy modern life. That’s no accident! We want these formulations to seamless, easily fit into your everyday routine, so you can get the most out of every single day. When it comes to fighting fatigue and waking up rejuvenated, we’ve got your back!*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.