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  1. #1
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    Energy/Focusing Tips?

    Hopefully this topic is a bit different from the other recent BG Medical Advice Threads...I'm curious if anyone has any suggestions for increasing energy and staying focused throughout the day. Symptoms include waking up tired every day (8am wake up for work at 9am), having a hard time staying focused at work, and not being able to sleep before 12-1am (sometimes later).

    Additional stats: Male, almost 30, Full time 9-5 job as an IT Director so basically same pattern of events during the week. Wake up > Work > Home > Gym/TV/Games > Sleep. I do have an occasional drink or two during the week, usually with dinner (unless I'm going to the Gym that day) and will usually have a few more during the weekend. I probably wouldn't be surprised if alcohol can have an effect on this sort of thing but have never heard one way or the other.

    I know lack of exercise, depression, and other things can be a factor in this sort of thing and there are threads on those already so don't really need to get into the specifics of those. I just started getting back to the gym after a 6 month break and I don't think I'm depressed, I just have almost no energy during the day and can't concentrate on anything for a long period of time...

    So is energy and being able to focus just a combination of diet and exercise? Or are there maybe other herbal/natural drugs/recipes that can help with this? I'd like to avoid going the Red Bull/Various Energy Drink/Pill route if I can since long term I don't think those are going to help either.

    One random note that I've found interesting is I've been prescribed Prednisone for various allergy/asthma problems in the past and whenever I'm on that my head is overall a lot more clear and I have a lot more energy during the day, but the side effects of prolonged use aren't healthy (insomnia, fat redistribution, joint pain, increased hunger, mood swings, etc).

    /help

  2. #2
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    Include more raw foods in your diet. I started becoming allergic to everything known to man a few years back, and had to start adjusting to that, but as such, I found that a lot of the things that I thought were hogwash (basically all the organic b/s with food) is really worth it in the long run for health/energy reasons. Increase your enzymatic intake, and you'll allow your body to use its naturally produced enzymes for something other than digestion, greatly adjusting your tempo and energy. Diet affects more than that, and I've read that you can greatly affect your thought processing as well.

    If you want more examples, I can go greater in depth.

    (PS i'm also an IT director, and also around your age, although I have been working out every day for over 12 years now, and that also plays a part in energy levels)...

  3. #3

    I have pretty much the same schedule and I think the biggest thing you are lacking is sleep. I'm 27 and I still need 8+ hours to function through an entire work day and I still get tired from time to time. I find that my sleep pattern is one of the most important things to help me function better throughout the work week.

    I would also suggest drinking more water throughout the day with the occasional coffee or soda for a quick couple hours of caffeine boost when needed. This will help you focus when you have something imporant to do or get done that day. I would also drink more water to help with the allergies, i have both as well but have kinda grown out of them and they onlly effect me when i am sick or a drastic season change occurs.

    So i suggest, more sleep and more water. I know the sleep part is tough to do especially for people like us who spend a good amount of time palying video games. But i think this is where you will see your best results. And more water is just awesome in general, I prob drink 4-5 20oz ice water cups a day. One is it saves me a ton of money at work not buying drinks (i fill up at the ice machine) and two it really cleanses the body. I havent been sick for an extended period of time in a very very long time. Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like you need more Vitamin D and E and DHEA.

  5. #5
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    Do you have any other symptoms besides not being able to sleep? Do you have joint pain, increased or decreased hunger, hair loss (anywhere), increased or decreased weight, mood swings?

    It could be chronic fatigue syndrome or even narcolepsy. Both can account for trouble falling asleep but being tired constantly.

    Other things could be thyroid problems, or vitamin/mineral deficiencies. I think selenium and vitamin E deficiencies can cause these symptoms too.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuriko View Post
    Hopefully this topic is a bit different from the other recent BG Medical Advice Threads...I'm curious if anyone has any suggestions for increasing energy and staying focused throughout the day. Symptoms include waking up tired every day (8am wake up for work at 9am), having a hard time staying focused at work, and not being able to sleep before 12-1am (sometimes later).

    Additional stats: Male, almost 30, Full time 9-5 job as an IT Director so basically same pattern of events during the week. Wake up > Work > Home > Gym/TV/Games > Sleep. I do have an occasional drink or two during the week, usually with dinner (unless I'm going to the Gym that day) and will usually have a few more during the weekend. I probably wouldn't be surprised if alcohol can have an effect on this sort of thing but have never heard one way or the other.

    I know lack of exercise, depression, and other things can be a factor in this sort of thing and there are threads on those already so don't really need to get into the specifics of those. I just started getting back to the gym after a 6 month break and I don't think I'm depressed, I just have almost no energy during the day and can't concentrate on anything for a long period of time...

    So is energy and being able to focus just a combination of diet and exercise? Or are there maybe other herbal/natural drugs/recipes that can help with this? I'd like to avoid going the Red Bull/Various Energy Drink/Pill route if I can since long term I don't think those are going to help either.

    One random note that I've found interesting is I've been prescribed Prednisone for various allergy/asthma problems in the past and whenever I'm on that my head is overall a lot more clear and I have a lot more energy during the day, but the side effects of prolonged use aren't healthy (insomnia, fat redistribution, joint pain, increased hunger, mood swings, etc).

    /help
    Eat foods rich in vitamins B and C, especially raw foods such as vegetables and fruits. Drink plenty of water too so that your body can properly absorb and distribute them. Also, stay active.

    Whatever you do, don't drink energy drinks or pills or any of that nonsense. You're giving your body way more than it needs and it will end up screwing up your sugar balance as well as toss more fat onto your bones.

  7. #7
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    What Kuro said works if you are just tired... if you actually have something wrong like a thyroid problem then you need more than just changing your diet. If the problem persists they can do sleep study tests on you as well as blood tests to see if any hormones are off balance.

  8. #8

    $1 says drinking an extra 2-3 glasses of water daily would have a pretty quick effect. May not be the answer to everything, but unless you're sure you're drinking enough water, give it a try.

  9. #9
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    1st- Go to the doctor, get a checkup, include bloodwork. Odds suggest you're probably fine, but you never know. And feeling tired can be a symptom of a million other more serious problems, most of which are better caught early rather than later. Most people hate going, but trust me, it beats being dead.

    As for other tips, drinking a lot of water is certainly a very good one. Keeps you from drinking stuff which is bad for you, and is just a good idea overall.

    You didn't mention your diet, but look at that, too. If you're sleepy at work, is it because you're eating a big lunch? Maybe try eating a little bit throughout the day instead of all at once. And of course cut out fast food and chain restaurants (TGI Fridays, Chili's, etc) if you can, because that shit is just absolutely terrible for you.

    As for sleeping, I use a couple of tricks-

    Don't get in your bed until you're ready to sleep. So don't play videogames or watch television in your bed, if possible. It sounds silly, but you can effectively trick your mind into making bed = sleep if you go this route. Doctors often prescribe this to people with mild insomnia.

    Cut off games/movies/other shit you have to pay attention to at a certain point. If you want to go to sleep at 11, quit at 10. Easier said than done, I know, but I personally can never just transition right from playing to sleeping. Even when I'm exhausted, I need to slow down before I actually go to sleep.

    Work out earlier if you can, too. On nights when I go running, I definitely can't sleep for several hours after I'm done. Your body needs time to relax before it can sleep, crazy as it sounds.

  10. #10
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    Doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary for someone on Prednisone. I've been on it a few times before for short periods of time (10-14days) and it causes me to have the same symptoms as you.

    For more side effects info:

    Prednisone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  11. #11
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    Honestly, it could be a bunch of things, from the foods you eat to mental/physical state. However, I second visiting the doctor too. There's a probability it's a medical condition you aren't aware of. Have you had your physicals, etc?

  12. #12

    I like to read for an hour or so after getting done with the day, in bed that is, before going to sleep, helps to distract my mind and slow down and if I pass out reading, then I'm tired enough to go to sleep. I've done the more water, eat breakfast, skip lunch, eat dinner thing for a while now, and I definitely noted the difference with more water and breakfast, not that it's healthy as it could be, working on it.

  13. #13
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    Caffeine is awful when it comes to energy, unless you continually consume it all day long, which is not good for you. Avoiding caffeine at all costs will actually boost your energy level overall. If you need it, drink one soda in the morning or a cup of coffee, and nothing else.

    Keeping yourself well-nourished is really the key to having a decent energy level. Blood sugar translates directly to energy. Contrary to what we've been told in the past, researchers have discovered that three square meals is bullshit. Three big meals means huge spikes and falls in blood sugar all day, which translates to vastly fluctuating energy levels (not to mention storage of excess blood sugar as fat, if you're worried about that). Eating 6 smaller meals, or even three decent-sized meals interspersed with snacks throughout the day, will be the number one change you can make to feel more energyized... as long as you're sleeping enough.

    And while I'm on that subject, 6+ hours of sleep a day, minimum. You can get by on 5 once in a while, but make it a habit and you're gonna feel like shit. Don't oversleep though. 7-8 is ideal for most people. Every person's body is different, find what works for you, just keep in mind that it will likely be in that range.

    Also, try to find an outlet for stress. Whether it's playing an instrument, journaling, engaging in a hobby, or something else, having an outlet for stress will keep you more energized during the day.

    It could always be a medical condition too, though. So if nothing else helps, go to the doctor. I, for example, found out that when I'm stressed I tend to start breathing short, shallow breaths, which keeps oxygen from flowing throughout my body, which makes me feel more tired and stressed out. Just knowing that and monitoring my breathing patterns when I start to feel my blood pressure rise has helped a lot.

  14. #14
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    Went to lunch right after I posted this, didn't expect so many responses so fast, thanks!

    I have talked to my doctor a little about this and he did some blood tests for various things including Thyroid levels but everything came back fine so I don't think I have any other condition contributing to this.

    Food/diet seems to be a consensus and I definitely have not been eating many fruits/vegetables over the years (I was one of those kids who always hated eating his vegetables and I guess I never got over that like most do...). I have taken supplements from time to time like those Mega-Man vitamins from GNC, but I'm guessing they don't help quite as much as the real thing?

    I've been trying to drink more water during the day at work, though I get bored of drinking the same thing over and over pretty easily (I know, not an excuse) so after going a few days of drinking lots of water, I usually end up going a long time without drinking any.

    I do have a habit of going from TV/Gaming right to bed, and then using my laptop in bed for a few before going to sleep. What's a good way to slow down/unwind after quitting gaming and before going to sleep?

    In regards to the prednisone, yeah, I've experienced a lot of the side effects listed there, but none mention the difference in mental state I experience. It mentions mental confusion, indecisiveness and depression. For me, I get the complete opposite of those. My head is clear, I'm more motivated and focused than ever and I'm a lot more decisive. That's why I thought it was odd so I mentioned it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuriko View Post
    Food/diet seems to be a consensus and I definitely have not been eating many fruits/vegetables over the years (I was one of those kids who always hated eating his vegetables and I guess I never got over that like most do...).
    One obstacle people face here is that their memories of fruits and vegetables are either canned crap their parents served them, or the terrible, wilted shit they got in the cafeteria at school.

    If you have the opportunity, see if there is a farmer's market near your house. Go one day (added bonus, LOTS of women, at least at ones we go to, lol), and check out what they have. The difference between fresh, organic stuff and what you remember is like night and day. Plus it's good for the environment and your community to buy from places like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nuriko View Post
    I do have a habit of going from TV/Gaming right to bed, and then using my laptop in bed for a few before going to sleep. What's a good way to slow down/unwind after quitting gaming and before going to sleep?
    My wife swears by the show "How It's Made" on Discovery or Science Channel. She puts it on every night (usually comes on at 11pm EST) before we go to sleep, and I swear to god it works. Monotonous, interesting without sucking you in, and the guy's voice is like a lullaby. We never make it to 11:30.

  16. #16

    OP, how much caffeine do you consume now? I know this sounds strange, but I would completely eliminate caffeine from your diet if you currently use any.

    Most folks load up on caffeine in the morning. It stays in their system for about 24 hours, so the next morning when they wake up they are groggy like you say.

    Ween yourself off of caffeine and you will wake up easier in the morning. Drink plenty of water. I recommend a gallon a day. Get some excercise. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Eat better.

  17. #17

    Quote Originally Posted by Absolutely Virtue View Post
    My wife swears by the show "How It's Made" on Discovery or Science Channel. She puts it on every night (usually comes on at 11pm EST) before we go to sleep, and I swear to god it works. Monotonous, interesting without sucking you in, and the guy's voice is like a lullaby. We never make it to 11:30.
    Heh, Iron Chef Japan would do this for me. You can find re-runs of it airing at 11pm on FLN.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norelco View Post
    OP, how much caffeine do you consume now? I know this sounds strange, but I would completely eliminate caffeine from your diet if you currently use any.
    I used to drink 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning and some soda later in the day. Last couple months I've cut down to sometimes a cup in the morning and still some soda in the afternoon/evening. I honestly think I've become immune to caffeine sometimes as for awhile now I haven't felt it do much for me which is probably part of why I've cut down on it. Most of the time I just drink it now for taste/habit.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuriko View Post
    I used to drink 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning and some soda later in the day. Last couple months I've cut down to sometimes a cup in the morning and still some soda in the afternoon/evening. I honestly think I've become immune to caffeine sometimes as for awhile now I haven't felt it do much for me which is probably part of why I've cut down on it. Most of the time I just drink it now for taste/habit.
    Just throwing this out there, but I have felt infinitely better since I quit drinking soda. I don't think it's even the caffeine. It's the fucking high fructose corn syrup. That shit is the devil.

  20. #20
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    Yeah I avoid HFC as much as possible. If you keep going to the doctor and you still cannot find anything and you are experiencing the same symptoms even after a diet and exercise change I would suggest going to a neurologist and participating in a 24 hour sleep study. They suck but they can really tell you a ton about your sleeping habits.

    This sort of thing can be caused by many different types of sleep related problems such as apnea, or narcolepsy. There are a ton of other sleep disorders too that they test for.

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