Strategies to improve your energy……that work!
Are you somebody that finds themselves exhausted all of the time no matter what you do?
Do you find that sluggishness sets in mid-afternoon, and you struggle to stay alert?
Could your energy levels just do with a boost?
Studies tell us that the average Briton spends more than seven-and-a-half years of their lifetime feeling tired. This equates to more than 20 hours each week feeling drained and low in energy.
The reasons people give for being tired include:
- Sleepless nights
- Getting up early
- A late night
- Working long hours or punishing workload
- Poor diet
- Too much or not enough exercise
Before reaching for that extra cup of coffee, what can you do to banish fatigue, increase mental alertness and start each day fresh and ready for anything that it brings?
- Reduce carbs and increase healthy fats
Although they are thought of as the ‘energy’ food, foods that are high in carbohydrates can leave you feeling sluggish. But not all carbs are created equal, and the main villains in this piece are the refined carbohydrates like sugar, biscuits, bread and pasta. Substituting complex carbohydrates into your diet such as vegetables and wholegrains can sustain energy levels for longer. For example, ditching the potato and switching to a sweet potato will boost you for longer.
Healthy fats from oily fish, avocados and olive oil provide the body with a long-lasting energy source and have the added benefit of omega-3 fats which help the brain stay mentally alert. You can supplement your diet with fish oil by taking an omega 3 softgel.
- Optimise those energy producing B-vitamins
The process of converting nutrients from foods requires B-vitamins. An insufficient supply of any of the B-vitamins will slow you down and make you sluggish.
The best food sources include wholegrains, meats, eggs, dairy products, nuts and seeds, but certain lifestyle factors often rob you of these important vitamins. Medical conditions, medicines, alcohol, caffeine and stress deplete the body of B vitamins.
The best way to ensure that your body has sufficient levels of B vitamins is to take a daily B-complex supplement.
- Drink water
Before thinking that another coffee will do the trick, make sure that you’re well hydrated by drinking enough water. One of the first signs of dehydration is feeling tired and exhausted.
You should aim to be drinking between 2.5 and 3 litres of water a day, but if you are exercising intensely you may need to increase this amount, adding some electrolytes which are lost when working out.
- Improve your sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene is a term that covers your bedtime rituals and nightly habits. Getting this right is key to increasing your energy levels during the day.
- Find out how many hours you need to feel rested and make sure that you go to bed at the same time each night.
- Make sure that your bedroom is as quiet as possible, not too hot and as dark as a bat cave! Blackout curtains may help you achieve this.
- Dedicate your bed to sleep and sex and nothing else. Remove any clutter from the bedroom, including the television, and invest in a comfortable mattress.
- Limit screen time in the evening and invest in some amber blue light blocking glasses, so that your body can naturally synthesise the hormones needed for restful sleep.
- Set a new bedtime routine of taking a warm bath or reading by soft light or meditating to set the scene for relaxation.
- Limit caffeine after midday as its stimulating effect can disrupt sleep quality.
- Enhance restful sleep by taking a magnesium and rhodiola supplement to ensure that ‘chill factor’ before bed.
These simple dietary and lifestyle changes can go a long way to improving energy levels, but keep in mind that low energy may also be a symptom of other conditions including thyroid problems, depression or anaemia. If fatigue persists consult with your doctor to determine the best method of treatment.