Am I Tired, or Just Exhausted?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

So many of us walk around physically zonked, as we desperately grasp onto the hope of “I am getting to bed early so I can get some good sleep tonight”, we find ourselves stumbling through the day, putting whatever is available into our systems, to ensure our bodies stay ‘awake’ and ‘functioning’ in some sort of respectable fashion.

A tired brain can bring about some of the most interesting thoughts, can’t it? What makes them interesting is you can’t properly discern if they’re a valid contemplation or simply exhausted emotions. It's an exciting gamble!

The other day, during one of my daily ‘missed nap times’, (aka between the hours of 2-4pm), I was sitting at my desk at work when the realization came to me that I don’t think I will ever stop being tired.

Here’s why I say that. I’ve read about studies that show it is virtually impossible to ‘make up missed sleep’. I’ve also seen other studies that say it is possible, but that in order to achieve that, it requires the person being responsible enough to simply “add an hour or two” onto their normal sleep schedule.

Well, sorry Mr. “whoever studied that”, I can’t just tell my body to go to sleep an hour earlier than normal. If I could, I wouldn’t be so effing tired all the time.

I’m going with the belief that it’s impossible to make up sleep. Reason being that as we get older, our bodies require more and more sleep in order to feel “rested” and fully functioning. Problem is, as we get older, more and more things pile up in life that drown our minds and make it so it’s either-

A. Harder, or damn near impossible to fall to sleep, or

B. We don’t actually have the time to sleep because there are a million looming tasks that requires us to remain awake.

It seems to makes more sense to just hook up to a caffeine IV, and continue on this death march called ‘Life’. Mush. Mush.

Now, in case you’re wondering, YEAH- You could say my head is a jumbled mess right now, and you’d be totally right, I am a mother who has been up the past three nights with a sick child. HELP!

That is the amazing catch-22 of robbing my neuron’s ability to function properly; my brain thinks it’s time to work over-time, to combat it’s failing abilities. To be honest, as I write this post, I am silently hoping it will iron itself out , quickly, so it can become a readable item that might actually help someone.

Question: When you’re asked that numbing question each day of “how are you?” Do any of you use the same go to answer of, “Oh good, tired.”? I do. Every flipping time. Because it’s true.

You know, come to think of it, I have never, in my 33 years of living on this planet, heard someone answer that question with “Oh I am so good, not tired in the slightest.” Because, let’s face it, we are ALL walking around internally haggard.

Every single one of us has had a moment in life where we yearn for a chance to just collapse on the floor- grab a pillow and blanket, and Go. To. Sleep.

I mean, back when you were 2 years old, it was not only OK, but encouraged, that you just descend to the floor where ever you stood, and take a snooze. Now a days, being found face down at my desk is considered a “firing offense.”

I’m personally not sure how that makes sense? (Kidding) But it seems I need sleep more, now, than I ever did when I was 2! (Hello- it’s called endless energy, as a toddler!!)

So how do we combat all of this sleepiness? How do we learn how to be ‘OK’ with being in a constant state of done for? If our mental is so overtaxed, due to lack of sleep, that we can’t even think straight, then how are any of us supposed to get ourselves out of this seemingly swirling toilet bowl of exasperated thoughts?

Excellent questions. The Answer to all three of those is….. I don’t know for sure, BUT (stay with me) I have decided to write out a small list of a few simple things I try to do, each day, to support my ever failing cranium.

1. Drink coffee.

It has to happen. Each morning, I crawl out of bed, try not to fall down the stairs, stumble to my coffee maker (praying I remembered to set it to automatic turn on the night before) and pour myself an amazing cup of hot, black liquid. Next I attempt to get it into my body as fast as possible without scalding my esophagus.

I know, I know, many don’t like coffee. There are several other forms of caffeinated liquids out there to give you that ever-loving boost you need in the morning. Below are a few of my alternative choices, when I either can't get my hands on coffee, or on the rare occasion that coffee doesn't peek my interest:

a. Jocko White Tea. It's Organic, It contains ZERO SUGAR, and it's tea!

b. Energy shots such as 5-hour ENERGY (Not organic, but will do the job nicely)

c. V8 + Energy Natural Energy Drinks (Super tasty, bursting flavor, and provides a perfect shot of energy to get me through the rest of the day)

d. Pre-workout's like Amino Energy (My 'Go-To' before each workout)

2. Next, try to shut off the caffeine drip after 11 am.

Why, you ask? Because if you don’t, you'll probably drink it all day, and then be up all night. You get it, not a good deal. So do what you can to limit your caffeine intake to purely the morning/ mid-morning, then drinking water along with maybe a boost around 2 pm of a lesser caffeinated drink such a V8 + Energy. (link above)

3. Always eat breakfast.

Yes, breakfast. Skipping that morning meal will throw off your body’s rhythm, and your energy levels will be zapped due to low blood sugar levels. Your muscles and brain need fuel, so they can function to their proper abilities!

Eating is highly important. Not only that, but what you eat-is key. Don’t get all silly on me, I am not going to go off on some tangent about eating healthy, but I will say this.

There are studies that prove that fatty foods, and greasy foods, will cause your mind to go into a hazy, groggy, muddled, abyss. This is because your body finds it hard to digest all that grease you’ve ingested, due to its design. I guess God only intended us to live on apples and oranges, but thanks to Eve, we humans now ingest basically whatever is edible. Artificial or not, am I right?

So, try avoiding artificial sugars, preservatives, and start eating more wholesome foods that you know came directly from the planet, and not a factory. (i.e. oatmeal, nuts, fruits, veggies, meats, etc.) Yes, technically this is considered “eating healthy”, but let’s be honest, who cares what it’s labeled, if it works, right?

4. Next… here it comes… workout!!

Yup- there it is, I said it. It’s that dreaded thing that everyone knows is a good idea, but doesn’t want to have to do it. I know, I get it, but here is why lifting is going to help you sleep…. It exhausts the body. Simple as that.

Fact: when you are exercising, the body is working hard to stay cool. In doing so, you are burning calories, expanding energy, and taxing your muscles. It’s amazing.

Of course, you have to be careful because if you are over tired, you don’t want to push things even further, but if you’re looking for ways to improve your mental health, and ensure you’re able to sleep at night, do some lifting.

I remember being astounded at how well I slept, and how clear my mind was, once I began to lift on the regular. It makes sense, right?

5. Lastly, avoid too much light in your bed room.

When you do finally choose to hit the hay make sure all illuminating lights are minimal to off!.(I found was odd, but true) but blue light that imitates from phones, TVs, computers, and even some alarm clocks, can actually restrain the production of melatonin in your body.

What is Melatonin? It is a natural hormone that controls your sleep cycle, and reducing that can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. There are natural supplements you can take as well that contain melatonin, if your body still suffers from an inability to fall asleep on it's own. Not to mention they come in a gummy form which is a swift and yummy way to get in your system!

So shut off all screens, and I even go to the extreme of covering up lights (such as what’s on the air conditioner, or air purifier in our bedroom).

Let’s play a little devil’s advocate now:

“But I love to fall asleep with the TV on.” OK- that’s great and all, however, can you truly tell me that you are waking up each morning, feeling refreshed? Ever? I mean, as I said just moments ago, sleeping with that box glaring at your seemingly closed eyes all night, is again- hindering your tired carcass’ ability to produce that amazing sleep hormone, thus you never enter into the true, restful sleep state.

“But I have to have noise.” I get that. 100%. I do too. I love having some sort of noise on when I sleep, but not constant talking (from a TV). White noise, rain sounds, the ocean, that’s where it’s at. Buy a little noise machine, (link below) plug it in, boom- you’re golden. Or, if you have a way of not running your phone battery down, download an app on your phone that will play noise for you all night. There are ways around having to have a TV on, or radio on, all blasted night.

“But I don’t like eating breakfast, or anything that tastes healthy.” Yes, I’ve heard that one, and I know there are people out there who feel this way. You eat to fuel your body. To ensure you are enabling your being to function at it’s fullest potential possible. If you spend your entire life eating to enjoy, or eating whenever you want without any kind of schedule, you will end up eating (or not eating) yourself into a heart attack. Also, it is possible to change your pallet, it just takes time, and discipline.

Here is my favorite snack item that I highly recommend:

- ON Dark Chocolate Truffle Almonds. (because, chocolate!!!)

“But I can’t workout. I don’t have the time.” OK, yes, you do. Everyone has the time. You can workout at your desk, if you really wanted to. Working out does not just take place in a gym with weights and bars.

It’s all about moving your body, getting your muscles activated, getting the blood flowing, it’s just being active. Taking a walk around the block, is working out. Doing a few body squats every day, is working out.

You DO have time, what you don’t have is any legitimate excuses as to why you ‘can’t’. (In my humble opinion, of course)

In conclusion, being tired is natural. You are going to be tired the rest of your life until you die. So instead of using is as a crutch, use it as a tool to teach yourself about discipline. Tweaking little things here and there in your life style will have shockingly, drastic results on your body.

Finally, here is a little tip from one tired human to another:

Avoid taking your tiredness out on other people, especially those who are closest to you. Instead, figure out what you can do to ensure you are taking care of yourself, first and foremost!

Attempt to implement these five daily steps I’ve suggested, and always remember, (as the saying by Joko Willink goes), “Discipline equals freedom.”

Click link below for the Jocko's field manual:

Cheers to sleeping like babies, my friends!

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