Week 14: Fatigue. The destroyer of all forward movement. I don’t know about you, but when I am sleep deprived or sleep too much, my body, mind, and even my spirirt don’t function properly. Optimal for me is no less than seven hours, and no more than nine. I rarely oversleep, but too often in the recent past, my previous job prevented me from getting proper rest.
In the summer months, at the large river resort I managed, I worked as much on Friday and Saturday as many people work in an entire week. It wasn’t unheard of to pull 80 to 100 hours during the peak season. But no matter how much pressure there was to get more done, by tossing at night reviewing to-do lists, and trying to get an earlier start day after day, my performance actually suffered.
After a few years of this kind of unhealthy treatment, aches and pains increased, a prickly/numbing sensation traveled up my arms and legs, brain fogs sometimes settled over my mind, and my waistline grew. I knew I was in trouble when years of adrenal overload affected my thyroid, causing a goiter. This is why I spend so much time researching natural ways to combat the poor treatment I meted out on my body. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to the subject of Thyroid Health.
But there is good news for sufferers of fatigue originating from lack of sleep. Though the symptom list is long on how it affects us, the ways to combat it are short. Let me show you some of the things I’ve discovered about exhaustion’s impact, and ways to overcome it.
Consequences of Fatigue:
- Reduces mental clarity
- Steals our ability to deal well with stress
- Diminishes our ability to make good decisions. (Especially with healthy food choices.)
- Hinders our body’s ability to battle viruses and infections
- Destroys healthy cells, tissues, organs, and muscle mass
- Tricks our bodies into thinking it’s hungry, when in fact, sleep is what we crave
- Saps our energy, and the drive to do good things
- Depletes minerals and vitamins
- Deceives us into thinking we have a serious disease
- Shortens our life span
Did you notice exhaustion adds nothing positive, but takes away plenty? Whether it’s staying up late to play Words with Friends, text back and forth, troll social media sites, watch late night television, or any other activity that snatches away precious sleep, one of the best gifts you can give yourself is to go to bed at a decent hour. Even if you think you can’t sleep, with consistency, your body will finally succumb to a dark, quiet room.
This past week, I went back to my former job to help out with their biggest event of the year. After months of recovering from what I’d done to myself previously, it took only twenty-four hours for the old symptoms to show up again. After four straight days of brutal pushing, the bottoms of my feet felt like they were on fire, and my voice cracked with hoarseness. I needed a Sabbath, and so I rested for a full day.
Today, I feel only a residual amount of fatigue, but when I stepped on the scale, the number wasn’t pretty. This is yet another consequence of abusing my body. It will take a few more nights of good rest, plus a couple of mid-day naps, to move that number in the right direction.
The smart thing to do is prevent exhaustion from happening. Whether we are motivated to avoid unwanted weight gain, blocks to clear mental concentration, depression, anxiety, or any host of fatigue-induced symptoms, getting enough rest is critical to healthy well-being.
If you believe you are sleeping an appropriate amount of hours yet don’t feel rested, or feel like something more is off, go see your doctor. Listen to your body, it will tell you when it needs something. But do it now, so you can move forward to better living. Life is too short to waste stumbling in a sleep-deprived fog, merely existing. Good health is more than what we ingest, it’s also how much we rest.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Anita Fresh Faith
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, and national speaker. Anita is also the author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market. Now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, Lifeway, Christianbook.com, plus many fine stores, Christian and otherwise.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, Toastmasters, and a client of WordServe Literary Group. A graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita Brooks is passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith.
Anita’s favorite past time is lounging by a river or lake in Missouri, laughing with with her husband of thirty years, Ricky.