Have More Energy & Stop Hitting Snooze! 5 Lessons I Learned Through Health Literacy
Sarah Mae (SMae) |
Are you ready to have more energy and stop hitting snooze a billion times before dragging yourself out of bed in the morning? This week’s Essential Skill is Health Literacy and it’s how I accomplished both!
Honestly, I’m embarrassed that I used to hit snooze AT LEAST 4-5 times in the morning. I would put my alarm on the most obnoxiously loud sounds I could find, which for a while it was an untuned radio station. I placed it on the other side of the room and I STILL hit it 4-5 (sometimes 6) times. I would just get up, turn it off, and go back to sleep.
Eventually, I would get up, rush around getting ready, and leave my house already stressed and tired.
Yet I never thought anything was wrong.
It wasn’t until I started contemplating more education that I began to question why I was SO TIRED all the time. Up until then I just thought it was normal to be tired all the time. Can you relate?
Worried that I would not have enough energy to do all the things, I started researching what successful people do to get more done. I mean, if they can be tired all the time and be so successful, what’s their secret?
In this post, I’m sharing 5 things I learned that inform all my current health-related decisions.
What is a Health Literacy?
The CDC defines Health Literacy as, “the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.”
Our current healthcare systems are designed to be reactive rather than proactive, and there is lots of money driving the related food, diet, and exercise industries.
Therefore, if you want to live a long and healthy life you’re going to have to take an active role in your healthcare. No one knows your body better than you do.
Keep in mind, however, that there is also a TON of misinformation out there, and so it’s equally important to work with qualified health professionals as you optimize your health.
How I was able to have more energy & stop hitting snooze?
Here are 5 lessons I learned by increasing my Health Literacy Skills and paying attention to my body.
1) Food is Fuel
When I first started looking into how other people have so much energy, I quickly realized that I had to work on my nutrition. It seems obvious now, but I hated cooking and found eating to be such a chore. Can you relate?
In my research, I came across a Mindvalley program called WildFit. Through the program, I adapted my lifestyle by removing dairy, grains, processed food, and refined sugars. This is hands down the best decision I have ever made.
The immediate changes in my energy and productivity levels BLEW me away and I have not hit snooze once since I completed the program.
I used to be very apathetic towards food; I could take it or leave it. However, once I learned to truly listen to my body to understand what foods make me feel great and what foods don’t, I began to love food and using it as fuel to jump out of bed each morning and “do all the things”.
Please note, I’m NOT advocating any form of food restriction. My biggest takeaway from the program was that food is fuel and you should be able to choose what fuel you consume, not the food industry.
The reality is that most people are overfed and undernourished. One way to make ensure you’re getting enough nutrients is to have a green smoothie every day.
I like to include: avocado, celery, cucumber, collard greens, ginger, and arugula. I toss all the ingredients in a blender (I love my Vitamix!) and top with filtered water. I like to batch mine and freeze them, and you can customize the recipe to whatever you like. Try adding apple or lemon juice is good if you prefer it sweeter, and switch up the ingredients now and then for variety.
Energy literally comes from the food we eat, so you’ll be surprised how much energy you have once you start properly fueling yourself.
Next time you are at the grocery store, what ingredients will you pick up for your Green Smoothies? Make a list!
2) The Significance of Sleep
How many hours of quality sleep did you get last night?
If you were in bed for 7 hours, you may be tempted to say that you got 7 hours. However, the amount of sleep opportunity you give yourself does not equal the amount of quality sleep you get. Did you fall asleep the second your head hit the pillow? Did you wake up in the middle of the night? How much REM and deep sleep did you get?
If you don’t know, you’re not alone.
Apart from feeling like I never got enough of it, I never really thought much about my sleep. I certainly never thought about it as something I could work to optimize.
Yet, sleep is more important than many of us realize and, best of all, you CAN optimize it to get more quality sleep, which will help you stop hitting snooze and have more energy!
According to sleep scientist Matthew Walker, “Once you drop below seven hours [of sleep], we can start to measure objective impairments in your brain and your body. The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. Short sleep predicts all-cause mortality.”
4 ways you can start optimizing your sleep today:
- Be consistent! Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Start caffeine ☕️ intake 90min after waking and stop after 2PM
- Remove all junk light from your room… Total darkness is key as light messes with your circadian rhythm! This also extends to the hour before bed. Use red light glasses or just put electronics away.
Pick one and try it for a couple of weeks, paying attention to how you feel throughout the day. What will you try first?
3) Intentional Movement Is Key
Do you work at a desk all day? Do you spend weekends sitting on the computer or watching TV?
Sedentary lifestyles have become the norm, especially over the last couple of years.
However, if you want more energy you need to move your body. Intentional movement creates more of the hormones required to keep repairing and recovering, which is one of the main functions of sleep.
While exercise is a great way to do this, it doesn’t have to be!
It can look like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking at the other side of the lot so you have further to walk, going for a nice walk around the neighbourhood at the end of the day, or dancing around your apartment.
The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t need to be complicated and you don’t need special equipment.
Anything where you MOVE.
Moving your body has many benefits besides more energy and better sleep though.
According to a Harvard Medical School article, Changing your posture, breathing, and rhythm can all change your brain, thereby reducing stress, depression, and anxiety, and leading to a feeling of well-being.
I practice yoga in the mornings, and when I don’t feel like doing that I dance.
What are three ways you will add some intentional movement to your days?
4) Our Bodies Are Super Intelligent
If sitting in a certain chair every day made you feel sick, would you continue to sit in that chair? Or would you pick another one?
You’d probably pick another one, yet we do this all the time with food.
I used to eat a LOT of cheese. I couldn’t help myself despite it making me really bloated and uncomfortable. If you put a plate in front of me I would eat it, no matter how full I was. However, once I got support in removing it from my diet, I realized how much it was affecting me.
I remember going out to a restaurant one day after asking for no dairy and leaving with a sense of calm in my body that was completely foreign to me. I could only describe it as my body saying Thank You.
Now I always pay attention to how food makes me feel.
Next time you’re watching T.V. pay attention to the advertisements, it’s pretty common to see food commercials followed by ads for some sort of remedy for gas or bloating. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions there.
Remember: Your body is extremely intelligent, you need only to listen.
5) The Importance of Health Tracking
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Therefore, if you want to improve your energy levels and overall health, it is important to track the data.
I started tracking my health data by tracking my sleep. I have an Oura Ring and I use it alongside a Google Form that I created to track things like what time I went to bed, what time I woke up, how I felt in the morning, and how much (approximately) sleep I got.
Tracking too much can become overwhelming, so I recommend choosing one change and tracking it for 30-90 days to see how it affects your life.
In your quest to have more energy and stop hitting snooze choose one of the above strategies. For example, stop having coffee after 2pm every day for 30 days. Each day write down what time you had your last coffee, your AM and PM energy levels, your mood, any physical activity from the day, and how many times you hit snooze (if any!). This can give you an overall picture of how this strategy is working for you.
I like to create a Google Form that I fill out on my phone, but you can also just write it down. Do whatever will make it easy for you to be consistent.
What strategy are you going to try? How will you track it? Make your sheet today!
October is Health Literacy Month!
So there is no time like the present to start diving into Health Literacy.
Here are my 3 favourite books on Health Literacy to help get you started!
*note that clicking on a book cover will take you to my Amazon affiliate account, where I will get a small kickback if you purchase. I never recommend any books that I have not read and found helpful in my life.
I love talking about the books I have read, so hit me up when you’ve read any of these and let me know your thoughts! Email or Instagram DMs are the best way to reach me.
The Bottom Line
As science progresses our lifespans and healthspans are getting longer.
This concept alone drastically changed my life and I plan to be at least 120 years young! If you want to live longer too, you’re going to have to take an active role in your health care.
Health literacy, which is having the skills to be able to confidently find, understand, and use health-related information in conjunction with health care professionals, is your first step.
I hope it also helps you to have more energy and stop hitting snooze as I have.
P.S. I still have some spots in my signature 1-1 coaching program, Route to Rise, where I can help you gain the skills you didn’t learn in school and finally become the person you aspire to be with the healthy habits, motivation, and clarity needed to RISE to your Peak Potential and live the life you’ve always wanted. Find out more and book a clarity call HERE.