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What to do when your brain feels tired and saturated

You are at your desk, hunched in front of your laptop working for hours to meet that looming deadline. You feel maxed out and your brain’s very tired. To top it off, you have not been having enough sleep for the past few days, partly due to insomnia, and partly due to the nightmares about not being able to finish your project in time.

In such instance, most of us will depend on strong doses of caffeine to provide the artificial wake-up boost. Desperate times calls for desperate measure. If one cup is not enough, then five will surely do.

If you have done that, you would have invariably felt the temporarily boost, followed by your mental energy levels sinking into rock bottom- way bottom. You’ll end up feeling more tired that before you have drunk that first drop of coffee. It’s worse when during times of stress, we may be tempted to nibble at some sweets, chocolates or cakes. If you led a sedentary lifestyle- you will find your that these treats work against your favour.

When your brain felt tired or drained out, a cardio boost will help tremedously. If you keep pushing yourself on, your productivity will drop- and you will not be working efficiently as you would want to be.

What would really help is you get your heart rate up by doing some physical activitity- to boost your circulation.

My previous job used to be very stressful- often I would feel that my brain gets very saturated. Like many others, I resort to caffeine boost- in fact, I am a confirmed caffeine addict. However, the fact is, caffeine doesn’t work after a while and you have to find something else to get your brain functioning again. The best way is through exercise… and to watch your food intake- don’t load yourself too much with processed carbs.

What I used to do is I will just leave my cubie and do brisk climbs up and down the stairs- or you can take a brisk walk around the block if your boss don’t mind and if the climate is not hot and humid. Invest 10 minutes of your precious time and you will come back feeling better than before. The operative word here is ‘brisk’, means the pace should not be leisurely- the purpose of the walk is to get your heart rate up and keep it for 10 minutes. OK, if you feel stressed and want to explode, then, you may want to walk at a leisurely pace to just relax your mind.

Last weekend, I was working on a new blogdetailing my travels to Thailand. It was a time consuming process of manually transferring travel photos and notes from Webshots to a new blog but have to be done nevertheless because Webshots is just getting too commercised. I slept at almost 2am on Sunday morning- and woke up next morning in a semi-zombie state. Coffee did not help and after lunch, I felt even more tired.

Then, I decided to hit the gym- and after about 10 minutes of working out in the cardio machine, the semi-zombielike feeling just evaporated.

I used to be able to stay up till 3 or 4am easily but once the age goes up, the staying power goes down. But it is true for most night owls- you will mostly wake up with that hang over or semi-zombie like feeling. If you cannot change your lifestyle to be a morning person, then instead of resorting to frequent unhealthy caffeine boost, try switching to exercise for a change.

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  • pablo January 28, 2010, 4:08 pm

    this is really helpful! thanks!

    • Yin Teing January 28, 2010, 10:15 pm

      Thanks Pablo

  • Danny June 8, 2011, 2:40 pm

    Like it… Especially when you quoted ‘desperate times call for desperte measures’ …. been working on a project that I finished yesterday & I was depending on conc caffeine. I was up the whole night the day before yesterday… slept a great deal today but I still woke up with the ‘semi-zombielike feeling’.
    Time to hit the gym!!!