Counsellor Nivedita Singh answers your queries about relationships, family, school and life
These days I always feel exhausted and tired. I constantly feel that I need to sleep. This has affected my study pattern and made me very cranky. I don’t understand why this is happening. How can I reduce my sleep time and concentrate on day to day activities?
Tired. Cranky. Sleep deprived. Burned out. Exhausted. Drained. Whatever you call it, with everything going on in their lives, this is a common refrain for the youth today..
It’s tough juggling academic responsibilities, peer pressure, self desires and wants, parental expectations, work deadlines..all at the same time. It’s bound to have an impact on your sleep pattern and concentration levels.
What are the common causes of fatigue? According to medical science, “The top things that can cause fatigue are number one, lack of good quality sleep; number two, stress-related hormone imbalances; and number three, poor nutrition,”
The key to avoiding daily fatigue is pretty straightforward: manage your energy, not your time
Here are some effective fatigue fighters:
Take care of your physical body
Even though you must have heard of it a hundred times, it can never be emphasized enough. Eat right. Sleep well. Breathe deep. Get some exercise. Hydrate enough. Eat food dense in nutrition and not calories. The body needs fuel just as your car needs gas. If you’re not eating enough carbohydrates, you may not get enough energy. By the same token, if you don’t eat enough protein, you don’t have a lasting fuel source. The body is complex, so every vitamin and mineral is important for chemical processes. A little self-care goes a long way.
Pick your peak time
Do the hard stuff when you’re at your sharpest. That may be 6 a.m. or 3 p.m. Each one of us is different. Not sure when’s your best time? Keep an activity log for a few days and note when you have the most energy and mental clarity, then structure your activities accordingly.
Sometimes you can’t do it all. Remember, work is infinite but time is finite. There’s always more to do. And there are only 24 hours in a day. Top tactic: focus on the most important tasks, and focus on only 3-5 of those at most. So learn to let go
Give yourself a break
Long hours don’t necessarily equate to productivity. A short or long break can boost productivity. If you are doing your studies, turn to organizing your room/papers or any other pending work. Try stepping away from things for a little bit and you will come back stronger, fresher and more focused.
A nap. A walk. A snack. Music. Talking to a friend. Dancing. Everyone has something that re-energizes them. Find what works for you and build it into your day.
When fatigue reaches the point where doing some or all of the above doesn’t work, it’s time to see the doctor, to be tested for medical conditions and hormonal imbalances and determine a course of treatment to alleviate your fatigue and reclaim your energy. You will probably be tested for nutrient and hormone deficiencies, or even food allergies, which are common among adolescents and not something to be worried about. It does, however, need to be addressed.