“How’s it going?”
“Yeah, not bad, so tired, though.”
Up and down the country and across the world, this conversation takes place every single day. It seems like the default mode for 21st living — current status: tired. So, so tired. One study found that a staggering 69% of workers feel fatigued throughout their working day. Fatigue is defined as “feelings of tiredness, sleepiness, reduced energy, and increased effort needed to perform tasks at a desired level.”
But why is this a problem, what can this near-permanent state of fatigue cause? Here are just a few of the reasons why fatigue is an incredibly problematic state.
- When fatigued, you are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident.
- You are 30% more likely to suffer a workplace injury.
- Fatigue costs you, on average, 5.6 hours of workplace productivity a week.
By living with sustained fatigue, you’re exposing yourself to a reduction in productivity and an increase in risks of injury or death. It doesn’t get much more suboptimal than that. So, now we’ve established the risks associated with fatigue, let’s take a look at what we can do to improve our sleep.
Good sleep is all about creating a routine and an environment which is conducive to quality rest. To establish a good level of sleep hygiene means addressing and correcting several different things:
- Caffeine – Caffeine is the number one substance people use to “wake up”. But timing is essential if you are going to consume caffeine. It can take up to 5 hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off. You should, ideally, aim to restrict caffeine after lunch and avoid it entirely within 5 hours of going to bed.
- Routine – Your body thrives off routine. When it knows what time it is going to be going to sleep, it can prepare appropriately in terms of releasing hormones and utilising energy. To give your body the best chance of optimising its utilisation of resources, you should aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (YES EVEN ON WEEKENDS)
- Blue Light – Speaking of hormones, the sensation of tiredness is triggered by the release of a hormone called melatonin. Your exposure primarily dictates melatonin production and release to light. Blue light, the type of artificial light produced by screens, tricks your brain into not releasing melatonin. This stops you from experiencing tiredness and affects your ability to get into a deep sleep. To limit the effects of blue light, you should avoid it in the hour before sleep.
- Food Sensitivity Testing – When you sleep, your body takes this opportunity to recover from the day just passed. Restore and repair muscles & generate and replace lost or damaged brain cells. To do this, your body needs specific resources. One of which is oxygen. Oxygen is essential in the restoration and reparation of brain cells which contribute to your experience of wakefulness the next day. When you eat foods to which you have a sensitivity, you can cause inflammation of the airways. When airways inflame they narrow which means you take in a lot less oxygen. This impairs your body’s ability to recover and can leave you feeling fatigued the next day. Food sensitivity testing is essential in helping you to identify the foods that you’re sensitive to, causing inflammation. Food sensitivity testing can also help you identify foods that could be causing bloating, headaches, diarrhoea and many other food sensitivity symptoms. Find a range of food sensitivity testing to suit your budget here.
- Temperature – This can be the most challenging metric to get right and is mostly dependent on your ability to alter it. There is a sweet spot, in terms of room temperature, at which you will experience the best possible quality of sleep. It is believed that a room temperature of between 60-65 °C is best to optimise sleep quality.