How does sleep affect your energy levels?
Do you ever wake up feeling like a zombie, trudging through your day with leaden limbs and a foggy mind? We've all been there.
The culprit might just be sleep that’s been evading you. After hours of tossing and turning on your bed, you surrender to sleeplessness and start your day, only to realize you are grumpy, everything irritates you and you can’t seem to do things you used to do effortlessly.
Apart from sleep, there’s another reason for this zombie-like state. Your energy is at an all-time low.
So, let's dive into the fascinating world of slumber and unveil how it waltzes with our energy. Stick with us till the end, we have a bunch of steps you can do if you’re running on a low-energy-low-sleep day.
The Sleep-Energy Tango
Imagine sleep and energy as dance partners – an intricate tango that sets the rhythm for your day. When you're well-rested, this duo orchestrates a harmonious symphony, propelling you through the day with vitality.
Sleep, particularly deep sleep, is when your body recharges its batteries, repairs tissues, and synthesises essential molecules. It's like hitting the refresh button on your body and mind.
The relationship between sleep and energy is symbiotic. Adequate sleep enhances your energy levels, and in turn, energy levels impact the quality of your sleep.
A well-rested body has more energy to invest in physical activities, cognitive functions, and emotional stability.
It's like a virtuous cycle – the more you sleep, the more energy you have, and the more efficiently you use that energy.
What happens when you're low on energy and sleep?
Adenosine triphosphate, ATP, your body's energy currency, comes into play. ATP is produced within your cells through various processes, and its availability determines how energetic you feel.
Sleep deprivation disrupts ATP production and utilisation, leaving you feeling like your battery is draining faster than you can recharge it.
The Hormonal Havoc
Sleep and hormones are like a symphony – they need to be in tune for things to work smoothly.
When you're sleep-deprived, the balance of hormones responsible for appetite regulation goes haywire. Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, spikes, leading to increased cravings for sugary and high-calorie foods.
Simultaneously, leptin, the hormone that signals fullness, takes a nosedive.
The result? You're not only low on energy, but you're also more likely to reach for that energy-sapping doughnut.
Stress, Cortisol, and the Never-ending Cycle
Stress and sleep have a tumultuous relationship. Lack of sleep can increase stress levels, leading to elevated cortisol – the infamous stress hormone.
Cortisol, in the right amounts, is beneficial. It helps regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, and metabolism.
However, chronic sleep deprivation can push cortisol levels into overdrive, leading to a vicious cycle.
High cortisol levels disrupt sleep, and poor sleep quality leads to even higher cortisol levels. It's like a never-ending loop that leaves you feeling drained and frazzled.
Energy isn't just about physical vigour; it's also about mental alertness and clarity. Sleep deprivation doesn't discriminate – it affects your cognitive functions, too.
Memory consolidation, problem-solving abilities, creativity, and even emotional regulation suffer when you're running on empty. That mental fog and difficulty concentrating? Blame it on your sleep-deprived brain struggling to function optimally.
Navigating Low Energy
Fear not! There are ways to navigate the frustration of running on low energy when sleep has eluded you.
A short nap (15-30 minutes) can provide an instant energy boost without disrupting nighttime sleep. Just be cautious not to nap too close to bedtime.
Move Your Body
Engaging in light physical activity can invigorate you. A brisk walk, some stretching, or a quick workout can jumpstart your energy levels.
Hydration and Nutrition
Dehydration and lack of poor nutrition exacerbate feelings of fatigue. Sip water throughout the day and opt for balanced, energy-boosting meals. Choose a few of these foods for your dinner, to ensure you fall asleep faster.
Mindfulness and Breathing
Practising mindfulness or deep breathing can help manage stress, giving you a mental energy recharge.
Focus on essential tasks and break your day into smaller, manageable chunks. This prevents overwhelm and conserves your limited energy.
While a cup of coffee can provide a temporary energy jolt, avoid excessive caffeine consumption, especially after late afternoon, as it can disrupt your sleep cycle.
Create a sleep haven for yourself
Just as you get home after a long day of sleep deprivation, you don’t want to delay entering dreamland any further. Shut out lights with dark curtains, put your phone away, and hit the bed. At this point, when you’re downright exhausted, the last thing you want is to hit an old, saggy bed that sinks to the ground.
How would you feel if you fell asleep on a mattress that felt like a cloud wrapped around your body? A mattress that keeps you cool, holds you gently, cradles your pressure points, and relaxes your body so much that you don’t realise you’re falling asleep automatically.
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