Do you feel fatigued during times of the day when you used to have energy? Do you feel like you need that midday coffee in order to make it through the entire workday? Many people get tired around 3 p.m. every day and jokingly say that they need caffeine to get themselves going. Why does that happen?
More than likely you are not getting adequate sleep each night. Sleep is an integral, and arguably the most important, part of the big three—eating healthfully, exercising and getting enough sleep. Adequate sleep can also lower your risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease just to name a couple. It is important to realize that being fatigued is NOT normal and can be a sign of other conditions, such as sleep apnea.
Are you eating healthy and exercising? You may be missing the third piece of that puzzle — sleep. Sleep is necessary for healthy functioning and can also help regulate mood and improve learning and memory function. Getting the right amount of sleep will also help with maintaining a healthy weight and energy levels. So why is sleep the one thing that people think they can "live without" or do "when they die?" If you feel like you are doing all you can to get a full night's sleep, discuss your symptoms with your physician to ensure that you cover all of your bases.
Here are some things to try on your own:
Maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule. If you maintain a regular schedule, even on the weekends, it will help you to get better sleep.
Create a sleep environment that is relaxing, dark and cool. Your bedroom should be your sleep oasis and be free from distractions. A dark space keeps unnecessary light out of your eyes which causes you to wake up. Your body also drops in temperature as you sleep, so keeping your room cool will help with your sleep cycle.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol close to bedtime. All of these substances will disturb your sleep schedule. Avoid caffeine and nicotine for at least three to five hours before bed. Alcohol, which people usually think of as a sedative, actually disrupts sleep by causing nighttime awakenings. Consuming less alcohol will help you to sleep better.
Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Whether this be soaking in a bathtub, listening to soothing music or reading a book, a routine that will slowly lull you into sleep will help you to feel more rested and less fatigued.
St. Luke's Sleep Medicine and Research Center, with locations in Chesterfield and O'Fallon, Mo., offers adult, adolescent and pediatric sleep services. For more information, visit stlukes-stl.com or call 314-205-6030.
St. Luke's Hospital is a regional healthcare provider committed to improving the quality of life for patients and the community. It offers care in more than 60 specialty areas and was the only St. Louis hospital named an America's 50 Best Hospital™ by Healthgrades® in 2007 through 2014 based on quality.