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Mental Fatigue: What to Do When Your Brain Is Too Tired to Think Straight

Take strategic breaks

Your energy levels will naturally decrease throughout the day, but you can recharge your batteries by taking breaks.

  • High performers work for fifty-two minutes, then take a seventeen-minute break.
  • Taking a five-minute walk every hour boost energy levels and sharpens focus, one study finds.
  • Social breaks are more effective at reducing stress and improving mood than cognitive breaks or nutrition breaks.
  • People who take short walks outdoors return with better moods.
  • Tech-free breaks increase vigor and reduce emotional exhaustion.
  • A 20-40 minute power nap in the afternoon has been shown to improve alertness and mood.

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Get More Sleep

Lack of sleep can result in you feeling lethargic, grumpy and tired. If you often feel this way, you may want to consider whether you’re getting enough sleep.

Try and aim for around 7 hour...

Reduce Stress

Feelings of stress can mean that you struggle to concentrate, experience racing thoughts, difficulty switching off and tiredness.

Strategies to improve your energy levels include taking some time for yourself to relax, reading or going for a walk.

Move More

One study found that sedentary people with persistent, unexplained fatigue decreased their tiredness by around 65% just by regularly participating in low-intensity cycling.

Get up and move your body like brisk walking or cycling to boost your energy levels.

Keep in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
  • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day;
  • Avoid sleeping in, even on weekends;
  • Limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon;
Melatonin

Is a naturally occurring hormone controlled by light exposure that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. 

Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, making you sleepy, and less when it’s light, making you more alert. 

However, many aspects of modern life can alter your body’s production of melatonin and shift your circadian rhythm

Influence exposure to ligh

During the day:

  • Expose yourself to bright sunlight in the morning. 
  • Spend more time outside during daylight. 
  • Let as much natural light into your home or workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid bright screens within 1-2 hours of your bedtime.
  • Say no to late-night television.
  • Don’t read with backlit devices. 
  • When it’s time to sleep, make sure the room is dark.
  • Keep the lights down if you get up during the night.
Sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation

Willpower, memory, judgement, and attention all suffer when you are sleep deprived.

You drop things, crave junk food sugar, overeat, gain weight. You’re more irritable, negative, emotio...

Get through sleep deprivation:
  • Stabilize your blood sugar, by eating hearty food (protein and fat) more often.
  • Reduce refined carbs and increase fats and proteins.
  • B-complex vitamin supplements can give you an immediate boost in alertness and mental clarity.
  • Soak in an Epsom salt bath - might even help you get enough energy to exercise the next day.
  • Drink more water than you usually do to help compensate.
  • Exercise is the single best way to “take out the trash” in your body, and after staying up more hours than you should.