Fight Fatigue With Short Energy Breaks
Too pooped to pop? Avoid energy drains and use the tips to put the spring back in your step.
March 18, 2004 -- Does even sleeping make you tired? You're not
alone. In fact, the CDC says we are far more exhausted than previously thought
-- 2.2 million people from all ages and education levels suffer from marked
fatigue lasting more than six months.
Being drained is no longer the trendy domain of overstressed
yuppies -- fatigue is affecting everyone, rich and poor, educated and
non-educated, and collars of all colors. And it takes a toll on us emotionally
"This is an epidemic of exhaustion spreading through our
country," says internist Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, a clinician who himself
suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome in the 1970s, inspiring him to study the
disorder ever since. Teitelbaum also authored From Fatigued to
Why We Are Dragging
"We need to feed the body, use the body, rest the
body," Teitelbaum tells WebMD. "The reason we are so tired begins with
the Standard American Diet, which features 150 pounds of sugar a year, white
flour, and almost no fiber. It's dreadful! This is the first time in the
history of the world that we have high-calorie malnutrition. We don't even know
which vitamins to take."
If you don't get enough sleep, eight to nine hours a night,
Teitelbaum says, you will be in pain, gain weight, and look older. "When we
are asleep, this is the time we make the human growth hormone everyone is
talking about," he says. "Sleep, sex, and exercise contribute to that.
We need those."
Another factor leading to exhaustion, says Jon Gordon, MA,
author of Become an Energy Addict: Simple, Powerful Ways to Energize Your
Life, is the fairly recent phenomenon of free-floating fear in the country.
Gordon was so negative and grumpy, his wife almost left him. "We are too
high on the fear scale," he tells WebMD. "We are running on adrenaline,
which is supposed to be for a short-term, fight-or-flight reaction. This is
taxing our adrenal glands."
Another energy sapper is the things we tell ourselves, Gordon
says. "I am so busy." "I don't have enough time."
Scattering focus also drains energy, Gordon says. "If you
finish what you are doing, you will have more energy."
All of these conditions result, they both say, from not taking
proper care of ourselves.