Are your eyelids sagging as the afternoon wears on? When low energy drags you down, don’t look to a candy bar, cup of coffee, or energy drink for a lift. The sugar and caffeine might give you an immediate pick-me-up, but after that quick high wears off, you’ll crash and feel even more drained
What you need: a lasting solution to keep sluggishness at bay. Here are 10 fatigue fighters that can leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.
1. Eat your breakfast. People who eat breakfast every morning report less fatigue and stress than people who skip it. High-fiber foods, like hot oatmeal, stick with you longer than a sweet roll or pastry. As the day wears on, they’ll prevent you from getting hungry (hunger can lead to low energy).
2. Do a downward dog. Some studies have found that yoga, which uses various postures and deep breathing for exercise and meditation, can be an excellent fatigue fighter.
3. Belt out your favorite tune. Singing gives you a kind of emotional high while it reduces levels of stress hormones in your body. So grab a hairbrush, put on your favorite song, and sing away. If you’re at work and don’t want to face your co-workers’ puzzled stares, you might want to save your vocal stylings for the car.
4. Have a drink of water. Dehydration can leave you feeling drained and fatigued. You don’t necessarily have to follow the “eight glasses a day” rule, but you do want to drink enough water to keep your body well hydrated. You can tell you’re well hydrated when you don’t feel thirsty and your urine is light-colored. Try to get to the fridge or water cooler for a refill every few hours. The walk there will also help you wake up.
5. Go nuts. Eat a handful of almonds or peanuts, which are high in magnesium and folate (folic acid). These nutrients are essential for energy and cell production. A lack of these nutrients in your system can leave you feeling weary.
6. Grab a cinnamon stick. Some people say that just a whiff of this scented spice can reduce fatigue and make them feel more alert. No cinnamon handy? Grab a mint from your bag. Peppermint’s sweet aroma is another fatigue fighter for some people. More research is needed to see if and how these aromas actually affect a person’s energy level.
7. Get moving. Exercise is a natural energy booster, because whenever you do it, oxygen-rich blood surges through your body to your heart, muscles, and brain. Regularly squeezing a workout into your day — even if you can spare only 10 minutes at a time — will help keep your energy levels at their peak. Move around every chance you get, even if it’s just to pace in circles while you’re on the phone.
8. Let the sunshine in. Research suggests that just a few minutes of walking outside on a warm, clear day may enhance mood, memory, and the ability to absorb new information. Going outside can even improve your self-esteem. If you absolutely can’t get out, at least open the shades.
9. Have a bite. Your brain needs fuel to function at its best. When your blood sugar level drops, your mind will start running on fumes and will feel fuzzy as a result. So if your head is starting to droop, eat a snack that will give you enough energy to take you through the rest of the afternoon. Snacks that combine protein with slow-burning carbs — like banana slices with peanut butter, or granola with fresh berries — are best for maintaining your blood sugar levels over the long term.
10. Hang out with upbeat friends. Emotions are surprisingly contagious. People who are constantly negative and down can sap your energy, while those who are always up and excited can give you a real lift.
Anderson, C. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental, July 2006.
Kreutz, G. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, December 2004.
University of Maryland Medical Center.
American Academy of Family Physicians.
Widenhorn-Muller, K. Pediatrics, August 2008.
Smith, A. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 1999.
Barton, J. Environmental Science & Technology, May 2010.
Oken, B. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, January-February 2006.
If you feel you’re suffering from fatigue, which is an overwhelming tiredness that isn’t relieved by rest and sleep, you may have an underlying medical condition. Consult a GP for advice.
Eat often to beat tiredness
A good way to keep up your energy through the day is to eat regular meals and healthy snacks every 3 to 4 hours, rather than a large meal less often.
You might feel that exercise is the last thing on your mind. But, in fact, regular exercise will make you feel less tired in the long run, so you’ll have more energy.
Even a single 15-minute walk can give you an energy boost, and the benefits increase with more frequent physical activity.
Start with a small amount of exercise. Build it up gradually over weeks and months until you reach the recommended goal of 2 hours 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.
Lose weight to gain energy
If your body is carrying excess weight, it can be exhausting. It also puts extra strain on your heart, which can make you tired. Lose weight and you’ll feel much more energetic.
Apart from eating healthily, the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to be more active and do more exercise.
Many people don’t get the sleep they need to stay alert through the day.
The website of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has information on sleeping well.
Tips for sleeping well include:
- going to bed and getting up in the morning at the same time every day
- avoiding naps in the day
- taking time to relax before you go to bed
Reduce stress to boost energy
Stress uses up a lot of energy. Try to introduce relaxing activities into your day. This could be:
- working out at the gym
- yoga or tai chi
- listening to music or reading
- spending time with friends
Whatever relaxes you will improve your energy.
Read more about how to relieve stress.
Talking therapy beats fatigue
There’s some evidence that talking therapies such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) might help to fight fatigue, or tiredness caused by stress, anxiety or low mood.
See a GP for a referral for talking treatment on the NHS, or for advice on seeing a private therapist.
Cut out caffeine
The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends that anyone feeling tired should cut out caffeine. It says the best way to do this is to gradually stop having all caffeine drinks over a 3-week period.
Caffeine is found in:
- energy drinks
- some painkillers and herbal remedies
Try to stay off caffeine completely for a month to see if you feel less tired without it.
You may find that not consuming caffeine gives you headaches. If this happens, cut down more slowly on the amount of caffeine that you drink.
Drink less alcohol
Although a couple of glasses of wine in the evening can help you fall asleep, you sleep less deeply after drinking alcohol. The next day you’ll be tired, even if you sleep a full 8 hours.
Cut down on alcohol before bedtime. You’ll get a better night’s rest and have more energy.
The NHS recommends that men and women should not regularly drink more than 14 units a week, which is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.
Try to have several alcohol-free days each week.
Read more about how to cut down on alcohol.
Drink more water for better energy
Sometimes you feel tired simply because you’re mildly dehydrated. A glass of water will do the trick, especially after exercise.
Help us improve our website
Can you answer some questions about your visit today?
Take our survey
In today’s society, we are always busy. Most of us are continually balancing our relationships with our hobbies and our work. To manage the things we have to do and the things we want to do, it is important that we have enough energy. With insufficient energy, you feel tired and your motivation to simply do the things that your are supposed to do will dwindle. Feeling low in energy can have many causes, ranging from sleep deprivation to depression. By following The Wim Hof Method, you will learn to focus on the things that matter and to let go of stress that only costs you energy. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world already benefit from the Wim Hof Method in their daily lives.
Natural ways to boost your energy level
When you are feeling low on energy, you can raise your energy level by taking away the underlying causes. Depending on the cause, there are many things that you can try to naturally boost your energy level.
You are dehydrated. Scientists have found that people that don’t drink for long periods of time are twice as tired compared to people that are properly hydrated. Making sure that you drink enough water can help you get through the day.
You don’t eat properly. When you eat properly, your body will reward you with more energy. Avoid processed foodstuffs and those high in sugar. This will prevent an energy dip later on.
You are stressed out all the time. Stress will bring you body in a state of fight or flight. This consumes large amounts of energy. Furthermore, stress hormones can bring your body rhythm out of balance and have a negative impact on your sleep. Therefore, chronic stress can be detrimental for your energy level. Proper stress management is key to avoid negative effects from stress.
You don’t get enough quality sleep. Most of us don’t get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day. On the other hand, more sleep doesn’t always have to be better for your energy level. When your sleep cycles are constantly interrupted, you can wake up more tired than before you fell asleep. A healthy diet and low levels of stress can do wonders for your quality of sleep.
You don’t exercise. Nowadays, many people are living sedentary lives. We sit at work, we sit in traffic, and we sit on the couch when we are at home. Research has provided us with evidence that people that get 75 tot 150 minutes of exercise each week, experience more energy than those who don’t. But don t overdo it — overtraining can have a detrimental effect on your energy balance.
We’ve all been there, struggling to get up in the morning. Or, later, when you feel your head getting heavy and you think your eyes will snap shut any minute. Maybe you experience a slump in energy in the evening and find it difficult to make it to the end of the day. It’s a challenge to keep your stamina up all through the day.
Here’s ten handy tips to stay energized from morning to night.
Helpful Tips for Boosting Daytime Energy
Let in the Sunlight
Natural light is the strongest factor which controls our circadian rhythms. First, start the day by opening the blinds or going out for a walk. It’s a great way to start the day for many reasons. Melatonin – the hormone which induces sleep – will decrease in response to the sunlight. Getting some sun lets your body know that it’s time to wake up and get going.
Start the Day with Protein
Next, prepare yourself a breakfast that will help keep your energy levels up for longer. In the morning, select foods that are rich in protein, like eggs, yogurt and nuts. Protein and whole grains take longer for your body to break down into energy. This helps prevent a crash later in the morning like that caused by a breakfast full of simple carbohydrates and sugar. Plus, protein boosts your ability to concentrate and be productive. Eating foods full of protein for snacks, and throughout the day, also help keep you feeling invigorated.
You know your body. There is likely a time of day when you feel more tired. Instead of lying down, you could try getting up and moving at that time of day. A brisk walk outside is the best way to wake your body up and recharge. As an added bonus, exercising in fresh air and sunshine boosts mood-lifting endorphins, the immune system and the metabolism.
It’s true that coffee and other caffeinated drinks give you a jolt of energy, but it can also cause you to feel even more tired when it wears off. Caffeine is a stimulant but doesn’t have a long-lasting effect and can create dependency. As your body feels the effect less and less, it will crave more caffeine. Additionally, caffeine tends to increase stress levels, make you feel jittery, cause headaches, contribute to high blood pressure and make it more difficult to relax and fall asleep at nighttime.
Fatigue can be caused by dehydration. So, to feel more active during the day, be sure to drink water. Doctors recommend 8 glasses of water per day. Try keeping a large water bottle on hand as a reminder to stay hydrated and start each meal with a big glass of water. This will give your body what it needs to stay energized at all hours.
Check out this image showing our top 10 ways to increase energy.
Try a Power Nap
Some people find it helpful to take a short 20 to 30-minute siesta in the afternoon. It can help you to recharge and be more alert for the rest of the day. It be tempting to sleep for longer, but power-nap proponents say that it may have the opposite effect and leave you feeling more tired than before. Sometimes longer daytime naps can also negatively impact your ability to fall asleep at a decent hour that night.
Take a Multivitamin
Nutritional deficiencies and general fatigue can be remedied with a daily multivitamin. People with iron deficiencies or anemia struggle with tiredness. If your doctor says this is the case for you, take a multivitamin to help replenish energy.
Not only is smoking bad for your health, it may cause you to feel more tired during the day. Nicotine is a stimulant; it increases the heart rate and blood pressure, plus it can contribute to insomnia. Like caffeine, nicotine may also cause your energy to crash and burn when the buzz goes away.
You probably already know that drinking alcohol can make you sleepy. But you may not know that a drink in the afternoon has the strongest effect on your energy. It’s best to avoid alcohol at lunch or in the afternoon in order to feel peppy until later in the evening.
Get Plenty of Rest
It’s not possible to feel good during the day if you haven’t slept well at night. But getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep is difficult for some. Good sleep hygiene can help.
- Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. which will help you relax naturally at the end of the day. Consider a warm bath, relaxing stretches, meditation and reading a book.
- Make your bedroom a sleep-inducing environment; it should be dark and cool.
Watch this video for more ways to increase energy.
Are Your Feeling Groggy During the Day?
Talk with your physician if you consistently feel a lack of energy or struggle to get enough sleep at night. A referral for sleep evaluation at a certified clinic should help you and your doctor find the best solution for getting the rest you need and feel more energized. Contact Sleep Health Solutions to set up a consultation.
“Fatigue is the No. 1 complaint I hear from my patients and from the general public,” says Beverly Hills, Calif.-based endocrinologist and metabolic specialist Eva Cwynar, M.D., author of just released The Fatigue Solution: Increase Your Energy in Eight Easy Steps. “Women are told it’s either in their head or it’s because they’re having kids, raising kids, managing the household, working too hard or getting old. Fatigue is an illness. There are things we can do to get our energy back.”
According to Cwynar, millions of women around the world grapple with weight gain, chronic stress, poor sleep, forgetfulness, low sex drive, mood swings, hormone imbalances and constant fatigue. More often than not, they’re told: “That’s normal. You’re getting older.” It doesn’t have to be, she says.
Cwynar, who herself experienced a total lack of energy, low sex drive and poor sleep after the birth of her second child, developed a simple guide to help you figure out why you’re tired and how to get your energy back. From easy lifestyle changes to knowing what to ask your doctor, she offers these eight steps to kick fatigue for good.
Change Your Diet
“People think they are eating right, but there’s a difference between watching calories and eating for energy,” says Cwynar. Eating lots of protein is essential for staving off fatigue, especially early in the day when your cortisol levels are high. At breakfast she suggests eating eggs, having a slice of ham on the side or adding protein powder to your oatmeal. Otherwise, if you eat only carbohydrates, you’ll crash early and hard.
Cwynar also recommends eating small amounts every three to four hours to avoid over-eating at meal-time and to keep your blood sugars up in between meals. Snacks like fruit and nuts, string cheese, a couple scoops of cottage cheese or even beef jerky will satiate your hunger and boost energy levels. She recommends avoiding soy products, which act like estrogen in the body, using smaller plates, making meals beautiful with color and plating, and to try replacing grain with quinoa, a plant protein.
Clean Out Your Gut
Cwynar says energy levels are tied to the health of your gastrointestinal tract, and if you’re frequently tired or feel bloated, you may want to get your gut in shape. A common problem she sees is “leaky gut syndrome,” which occurs when the lining of the intestines weakens so much that its contents escape to the bloodstream, causing fatigue, headaches and food sensitivities.
Luckily, there are some easy all-natural fixes. To get the body’s pH balance to equilibrium, Cwynar advises avoiding the use of aspirin, cutting out alcohol for two to four weeks, and drinking about eight glasses of water each day (0.6 ounces multiplied by your weight). Also, although diet soda doesn’t have any calories, the aspartame in it acts like “a film inside your colon,” she says. Because artificial sweetener is a pro-inflammatory, you’ll end up putting on weight. She notes that one patient lost 20 pounds in two months after cutting it from her diet.
Get Better Sleep
An estimated 50 million to 70 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder. Cwynar says to get better sleep “you need to improve your bedroom hygiene.” First, get the television out of the bedroom. Studies show that even if you don’t turn it on, your brain associates the TV with stimulation. Also, forming habits is important. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
Some tricks: Keep the bedroom cool to help you fall asleep. Studies have found a correlation between high core body temperature and insomnia. If you have trouble falling asleep, get up and leave the room until you feel tired. Finally, “never exercise after 4 pm,” she warns. While exercise will improve your sleep, it’s better to do it earlier in the day, so that your body has time to come down.
Have More Sex
Think you’re just too old and too tired to have sex like you once did? No way, says Cwynar– good, frequent sex is one of the best things you can do to increase your health and get rid of fatigue. “It stimulates brain function, burns calories, increases oxygenation, boosts immunity and relieves stress and depression.” If you feel you’re not as interested in it as you once were, she advises having your testosterone levels checked out, noting that, in women, testosterone boosts libido and energy.
Plus, it’s a good way to start the day. “I advocate for sex in the morning,” Cwynar says. “Most women will find an excuse at night. But if they start their day with it, from a hormonal perspective, they’ll be much more energetic. It invigorates people.”
Move More To Boost Metabolism
Yeah, yeah, you’re too tired to exercise, right? Well studies show that the more you move, the more energy you’ll have. “No more excuses,” scolds Cwynar. Oftentimes, she finds that people don’t push their bodies hard enough. While it’s true that any exercise is good, try to really sweat. She recommends burst training, where you work at nearly 100% capacity for 45 seconds, rest for 90 seconds, and then repeat for 20 minutes. It helps burn fat for the next 36 hours and increases metabolism.
Cwynar has also noticed that many of her patients feel mortified by using a gym. “It’s like going into a nudist colony or something.” If you’re embarrassed, she advises exercising at home with workout DVDs, exercise equipment or by running in the neighborhood. Dancing is another way to get out and have fun while burning calories.
Get Your Thyroid Checked Out
“Although millions have a thyroid problem, only about half of cases are diagnosed,” says Cwynar. Hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid disorder, can cause nightmares, anxiety, mood swings, weight gain, impaired concentration and severe fatigue. If you experience any of these issues, she suggests getting a simple blood test to check your TSH levels. However, she notes that not all doctors agree on how to read the test. Some believe that below 5.0 is “normal,” but she believes your levels should be below 2.5.
Prepare For “That Time Of The Month”
Cwynar says hormones greatly impact fatigue, and PMS can hijack your energy if you don’t prepare for it. “You’re losing fluid, your hormones are plummeting and you can get neck pain and confusion. Some of us become lunatics,” she says. (Thanks, Doc.) To curb the fatigue that comes with PMS, fill up on fruits and veggies, eat more fiber and complex carbs, avoid salt and caffeine, exercise more and try yoga or pilates. Natural remedies like Japanese krill oil, magnesium supplements, chasteberry herb, vitamin B6 and licorice may also provide relief.
When it comes to perimenopause, the transition to menopause, “fatigue” is better described as chronic exhaustion and deep weariness. Usually, the culprit is a hormonal imbalance. Although controversial, Cwynar advocates for hormone replacement therapy. Additionally, many of the natural therapies that ease PMS will also help with both perimenopause and menopause. She also suggests herbs like St. John’s wort, black cohosh, red clover, evening primrose oil, valerian root and ginseng.
See A Specialist
If you can’t find relief through lifestyle changes and your general practitioner says everything’s normal, you may want to consider diagnostic testing to pinpoint exactly where the problem lies. From a food allergies profile test to vitamin analyses, you’ll be able to figure out exactly why you’re so tired. “You know your body,” says Cwynar. “You know when there’s something not right. Don’t accept aging as a natural consequence of life.”
Every time you giggle, chortle, or chuckle, your brain releases endorphins. "These feel-good chemicals flood your brain—helping you feel awake and refreshed," says Michael Miller, M.D., director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center, in Baltimore. "They also boost your immune system, ward off heart disease, and actually reduce your risk of depression." Need a quick laugh? Check out the hilarious (and totally fake) news stories at theonion.com, or sign up at thedailydose.com to get a G-rated joke e-mailed to you each day.
- RELATED: 14 Jokes for Kids That Will Actually Make You Laugh
2. Bust a Move
Exercise helps increase your circulation, relieves muscle tension (which can wear you down physically), and causes your brain to release endorphins. That's not all—it also helps you take in more oxygen and fires up your metabolism. While you should aim for a 30-minute workout several days a week, try for five or ten minutes anytime you need energy. Here are seven quick pick-me-ups.1. March in place2. Jump rope3. Power walk4. Climb stairs5. Run around the yard with your kids6. Do lunges and squats7. Dance with your baby in your arms
3. Use a Little Pressure
"Massage stimulates your nerve endings, which increases blood flow and gets your circulation pumping," explains Maureen Moon, past president of the American Massage Therapy Association. Try any of these easy, do-it-yourself moves.1. Using your fingertips, rub your scalp or temples in a gentle, circular motion for two minutes.2. Vigorously rub each earlobe between your thumb and forefinger for one minute.3. Place your forefingers behind your ears (where the base of your skull meets the top of your neck), press for ten seconds, release, and repeat.
4. Sniff Stuff
Feeling sluggish? Get a whiff of this: Certain scents may increase your attention span and help you focus. To recharge fast, inhale deeply as you cut into or squeeze a lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit. If you're in the mood for something more exotic, try breaking off a fresh leaf of mint or rosemary, or sipping a cup of peppermint tea—these aromas can also invigorate the senses.
5. Drink Up
Surprise—the most common reason people feel tired is because they're dehydrated. Why? The less water there is in your system, the less oxygen is circulating in your bloodstream. The cure: Drink eight glasses of water throughout the day—and chug a glass of the refreshing stuff whenever your energy lags.
- RELATED: 7 Foods to Keep You Hydrated During Your Summer Pregnancy
6. Try Tai Chi
This ancient art form is a great way to clear your mind, rev up your circulation, and calm your spirit. Susan Gold, a practitioner at Wholistic Health & Healing, in Bonita, California, recommends this super-easy move called "The Beginning."
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, and eyes gazing forward, rest your arms at your sides. Keeping relaxed—and breathing normally throughout—slowly raise your arms out in front of you, letting your wrists and fingers hang limply. As your wrists reach shoulder height, slowly extend your fingers as you bend your elbows and draw your arms back towards your body, with wrists at shoulder height. Lower your arms until they again rest comfortably at your sides. Repeat five times.
7. Snack Smart
Noshing on a healthy mix of carbohydrates and protein can provide a prolonged boost to your blood-sugar level, giving you energy for hours. Here, Connie Diekman, R.D., director of nutrition at Washington University, in St. Louis, suggests snacks to pep you up.1. Half a bagel with peanut butter.2. One cup of whole-grain cereal with skim milk and fresh fruit.3. Half a cup of trail mix containing nuts and dried fruit. If your kid needs a pick-me-up, carry along a Clif Kid ZBars Filled that contains 3g of protein and almond or peanut butter filling.
- RELATED:8 Power Snacks Your Kids Will Love
8. Turn on the Tunes
One of the easiest ways to bust out of a slump is to listen to music you like. The beat and rhythm of the song stimulate your brain, making you feel more alert. Suzanne Hanser, Ed.D., chair of the music therapy department at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, suggests picking tunes that start off slow and gradually build in tempo. A bonus: Bouncing to the beat—even if it's just tapping your toes—revs up your circulation.
9. Stand Tall
For an energy boost that takes no time at all, make your posture perfect. "When you slouch over, your ribs compress, making it harder for your lungs to expand and reducing the amount of oxygen flowing to your brain," explains Patrice Winter, a physical therapist in Fairfax, Virginia. "This lack of air can actually cause you to move more slowly."
10. Strike a Pose
A yoga pose, that is. Judy Fuhrer, a yoga instructor at Dance Emotions Studio, in Chappaqua, New York, suggests two simple positions that'll improve your circulation and relieve tension.
- Eagle Arms. While you're sitting or standing, cross your arms in front of you so that your left elbow is resting in the crook of your right elbow. As you bend your elbows, your hands should be back-to-back and resting in front of your face. Now rotate your hands so that your palms are facing each other. Hold for two or three deep breaths and release. Repeat with your right arm above your left.
- RELATED: Yoga and Parent-Child Bonding
- Leg Stretch. Lie flat on your back with your butt and legs straight up against a wall. Take several deep breaths. Now create a diamond with your legs by turning your ankles and knees out and sliding your feet halfway down the wall. Making sure the soles of your feet are touching, take several more breaths.
Beware of These Energy Zappers!
SUGAR Sweets give an immediate surge in blood sugar—and a temporary burst of energy. But soon after, blood-sugar levels plummet, leaving you tired and cranky.
OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDS Certain drugs can make you feel as if you're asleep standing up. If one product, in particular, seems to wear you out, talk with your pharmacist about a drowse-free alternative.
ALCOHOL Not only does booze act as a sedative, it also dehydrates you and makes it harder to fall—and stay—asleep.
BEING INSIDE It's true! Staying indoors can sap your energy and your spirit. Half an hour of exposure to natural sunlight each day charges your brain's production of the mood-boosting chemical serotonin.
These days, many people are feeling the effects of an energy crisis. Not one within our environment—but one within our own bodies. As a health and sleep expert, I know how important it is to get optimal sleep and feel well-rested. That’s why I’m sharing five big issues behind our great energy depression and key tips to help turn it around:
1. Your sleep cycles aren’t optimized.
Even if you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep, you can still wake up feeling like a piñata after the party if you don’t optimize your sleep cycles.
Your sleep cycles are approximately 70 to 100 minutes each, cycling through phases of REM and non-REM sleep, plus all of the stages in between. Each phase is correlated with specific regeneration or detoxification of cells and organs throughout your body.
Factors like elevated cortisol (stress) levels and unstable blood sugar levels can throw off your sleep cycles. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend in bed if your sleep cycles are not healthy. Disrupted REM sleep, for example, has been found to be associated with mild psychological struggles such as irritability and difficulty concentrating.
How to fix it
Research suggests that getting more sunlight exposure in the morning can decrease cortisol levels later in the evening. You should also eat a well-balanced diet that’s focused on real food and avoid processed foods—good nutrition is foundational to keeping your blood sugar stable at night. A healthy diet can also help provide you with a number of key nutrients you need for great sleep, including potassium and vitamin D.
2. You’re deficient in crucial nutrients.
Your lack of energy could also be due to a lack of key nutrients. The main source of energy in our cells is something called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is essentially the currency that runs your body’s economy, but it can’t make any real transactions without the banker. And that banker is magnesium.
Though ATP is the main source of energy in cells, it must be bound to a magnesium ion (Mg) to be biologically active. So, ATP is really Mg-ATP when it comes to making the magic happen in your body.
Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 enzymatic processes that help keep you energized and healthy.* If you’re deficient in magnesium, that’s more than 300 processes your body can’t effectively do. The end result is you feel totally wiped.
How to fix it
Magnesium gets zapped from your system pretty quickly because it’s involved in so much. To ensure you are supporting normal magnesium levels, a magnesium supplement can help.* There are also tons of delicious magnesium-rich foods like spinach, chard, and pumpkin seeds.
3. You’re not moving enough.
Don’t mistake the occasional workout for living an active lifestyle.
If you work out an hour a day and then sit around the rest of the time, you’re not much more active than the rest of the sedentary population. There’s even a new name for the growing class of people who try to balance out being desk-bound all day with some time in the gym: The Active Sedentary.
Of course, getting some exercise is clearly better than no exercise at all—but to bolster those energy levels we’ve got to get back to basics.
How to fix it
The reality is, we human beings don’t “get” energy; we create energy. By simply moving around, you can help combat your fatigue. If you’ve been sitting for a while, simply standing up and doing 50 jumping jacks or bodyweight squats will generate enough electrical wattage to instantly make you feel more energized. The positive boost in your hormones and neurotransmitters will make you feel more alive, too. Just try it out and see for yourself.
Set a timer on your phone to do two minutes of bodyweight exercises every 90 minutes. You’ll easily feel more charged up during the day.
4. You need to drink more fluids.
Cell dehydration can literally damage your DNA. Because of this, your brain and nervous system take dehydration very seriously. Even just a small drop in normal fluid balance in your body is enough to cause headaches and fatigue.
Most people hear about the importance of drinking plenty of water, but time and time again it’s overlooked as a reason for common health challenges. Your cells, tissues, and organs are all operating in a water medium. The more murky that water becomes, the more you start feeling symptoms of fatigue.
When you drink a glass of water, within mere minutes that water begins to become your blood and extracellular fluid and pushes out the used fluid that’s now littered with metabolic waste products. If you don’t drink enough water, then that stuff stays gummed up in your system. And you start to feel like a microwaved couch potato.
How to fix it
Make it a must to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So, a 150-pound person would make sure to get in 75 ounces, for example. Also, knock out a nice chunk of that first thing in the morning when you wake up: Give yourself an “inner bath” to start your day by drinking 20-30 ounces of water shortly after getting out of bed. This will set the pace and ensure that you become hydrated before the busyness of the day takes over.
5. Stress is getting the best of you.
According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, as many as 80 percent of all physician visits are for stress-related issues. Stress is one of the biggest culprits in our mental and physical energy crisis today—and yet only three percent of patients receive stress management counseling during a doctor’s visit. Something definitely needs to change.
Stress suffocates your energy in a number of ways. With chronically elevated stress, your adrenal glands are forced to operate in maximum gear. This keeps cortisol and other stress hormones high. Excess cortisol leads to a surge of glucose to facilitate the perceived “fight-or-flight” situation you’re living in. This is your body’s attempt to make sure you’ve got the energy to run away from that man-eating lion (or run away from that overdue phone bill—because to your body, that stress is all the same).
How to fix it
Instead of running to caffeine or sugar for a pick-me-up, be more proactive in buffering stress in the first place. Simple breathing exercises can switch off your sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system within a few seconds. Meditation, restorative yoga, massage therapy, and even moving meditations like qigong and tai chi are all clinically proven to reduce your body’s stress load and enhance energy and well-being.
Find a practice that works for you and implement it for just a few minutes a day. A simple 5-10 minute practice can buffer your brain and body against stress and ensure you have the energy to have the quality of life you deserve.
Feeling drained and exhausted? There are ways to boost your energy in 60 seconds or less! Whether you haven’t had a great night’s sleep, suffer from the mid-afternoon slump or you’re tired at night from a day-long meeting, try these tricks next time you need a reboot!
Learn how to boost your energy in just 60 seconds
1. Morning energy booster: goddess pose
When your alarm clock goes off, think of this as an opportunity clock rather than an alarm that shocks your system into overdrive. Instead of jumping out of bed and starting your day on autopilot, get more energy by doing goddess pose for 60 seconds.
When you get out of bed in the morning, stand up and open your legs wide. Then bend your knees gently into a half squat. Bend your elbows and point your hands up to the sky. Slowly come back up to standing position and raise the arms up. Repeat this for 60 seconds.
This full-body pose is energizing because it works your major muscle groups, plus it loosens up your hips and upper body. If you go fast, it will also increase your heart rate and give an energy jolt to get you moving. If you have knee or joint issues, you can modify this to bend your knees less and still get a similar energizing effect.
2. Afternoon energy booster: desk stretches
If you’ve been stuck at your desk all day, this one is for you. While you’re sitting on your chair, march in place. This is so discreet! You’ll improve your circulation (which increases your energy) and burn some calories while you’re at it. Get your blood flowing even more by getting the arms in on the action: by raising your arms up over your head, you’ll be increasing your heart rate which ramps up your energy levels.
If you’re in a meeting and can’t move a lot, just reach your arms out to the sides and up, clasp your hands above your head, and take deep breaths. This overhead yoga pose is perfect for opening up your lungs, chest and muscles in the front of the body, which will allow you to breathe deeper. More oxygen equals more energy!
3. Evening energy boosters
Before kicking your feet up for the night, sit on the edge of the couch and sit up tall. Pull your naval in towards your spine, and then lift your feet up off of the floor. Glue your legs together and bring your knees in towards your chest, and then tap your feet down towards the ground. Do this reverse crunch for 60 seconds. By firing up your core with the reverse crunch, you’re activating your muscles and awakening your body before you relax on the couch. You’ll instantly feel tighter in the mid-section.
If you’re feeling energized and ready to do more, this is the perfect place to turn around and do some push-ups! Put your hands on the couch and go into a push-up position. Go down halfway or all the way into a push-up, and repeat for 60 seconds. This move challenges multiple muscles at the same time, so your heart will be pumping faster which will increase your energy. Try out these techniques the next time you’re looking for a boost!
I am a high-energy person. But I haven’t always been that way. There have been times in my life when I was utterly exhausted.
These were times when getting through the day was a big chore. Times when I had nothing left to give by the end of the day. Times when I just wanted to collapse into bed and pull the covers over my head.
But in recent years, I’ve been very deliberate about managing my energy level. I’ve done a lot of reading on this and have taken the time to learn and experiment with what works.
I tried some new things. I broke some old habits. Now, my energy level remains pretty constant through the day.
Here are ten practical ways I keep my energy level high and you can too.
1. Connect with God. This is where I start each day. You were not created to function without a connection to God. He is the ultimate energy source.
Trying to navigate life without Him is like trying to ride a motorcycle without starting the engine. You can do it, but it only works downhill. Unfortunately, a lot of life is uphill.
The way I connect is by reading several passages from the Bible and then praying. I am also mindful of His presence throughout the day.
2. Keep a positive attitude. This is crucial. “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Negative thoughts deplete your energy. Positive thoughts replenish your energy.
Attitude is not something that just happens; you choose it. Even in difficult circumstances, you can choose to have a good attitude. And, whether good or bad, it will have a direct impact on your energy.
3. Watch your mouth. Obviously, your thoughts influence your words and actions. But sometimes, it feels like my mouth has a mind of its own. It just runs out of habit.
Someone says, “Hey, how ya doin’?” Without thinking, we say, “Well, I’m surviving.” Or we might say, “Hangin’ in there.”
Guess what? That becomes our exact experience. We say it, and it shapes the way we perceive reality. That’s why, by faith, I always say, “I’m doing great.” (If you don’t believe it, then you need to practice this gratitude exercise!)
4. Feed your brain. You’ve heard the old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” This applies to the world of computers, but it also applies to your brain. I stimulate my brain by constantly feeding it new and stimulating content.
Some people complain that they don’t have time to read. I don’t buy it. Everyone gets twenty-four hours a day. What they really mean is that it’s not a priority.
I have a friend who recently gave me this excuse. When I probed, I discovered he was spending two hours each evening watching TV. Nothing wrong with that, but don’t tell me you don’t have time to read. You can’t afford not to read, not if you want to grow and be energized.
5. Exercise daily. I think this is one of the most important things you can do to turn the tide and start feeling more energetic. I know it’s counter-intuitive. You think, I don’t have enough energy to exercise or I’m tired now. If I exercise, I will be even more tired.
Wrong. Regular exercise will boost your energy more than almost anything else you can do. It stimulates your heart and oxygenates your blood. This directly increases your energy level. Besides, if you exercise, you will lose weight. Those excess pounds also consume energy!
6. Drink lots of water. How much? The general rule of thumb is that you should drink half your body weight in ounces each day. I weigh 180 pounds. That means I need to drink 90 ounces of water per day.
Water is great energy replenisher. You will especially notice the difference if you switch from soft drinks to water. It may take you a few days to notice the difference, but getting sugar out of your system and water into your system will definitely even-out your energy.
I find that this also has a way of reducing my appetite. Sometimes we think we’re hungry when we are really just thirsty. Drink 8 ounces of water an hour before a meal and notice how it curbs your hunger. More water will also increase your metabolism and keep flushing your body’s waste.
7. Get plenty of rest. Most people I know don’t get enough rest. Everyone is different, but most adults need about eight hours a night. Most people I know are trying to get by on five or six hours.
When you don’t get enough rest, all kinds of bad things happen. You get grumpy. You reduce your ability to handle stress. And, according to some research, you may gain weight.
Perhaps most significantly, you negatively impact your body’s autoimmune system. When you get run-down, you increase the likelihood of getting sick—and that’s definitely a drain on your energy.
8. Eat high-energy foods. The main thing to avoid here is the bad or fast-burning high glycemic carbohydrates. These are the ones that your body quickly turns to sugar. You get an initial boost from them as the sugar hits your blood, but you then hit a “trough” that is lower that your energy was before you ate them.
Carbs in this category include white potatoes, white rice, and white flour (or white bread). Worst of all, the energy that isn’t burned gets stored as fat.
Instead, eat slow-burning carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, wheat bread, and so on. I also like to eat more frequent, smaller meals. This keeps your metabolism up and your energy on an even keel.
9. Follow a supplement protocol. Even when we try to eat healthy foods, we’re often missing important vitamins and minerals.
I don’t think you need a handful of vitamins and supplements every day. But a good multivitamin, multi-mineral supplement is essential. For managing my energy, I pay special attention to vitamins B12 and D.
If you eat a lot of processed food, this is especially important. Most of us just don’t get the nutrition we need from the food we eat.
10. Avoid energy-depleting people. Let’s be honest. Some relationships are toxic. You know the type. Some people are so negative they are a giant energy drain. Others are so positive, you get energized just being around them.
Obviously, you want to surround yourself with enough positive people so you can keep your energy level up. And, you want to have this same kind of effect on others. Sometimes, you just have to tell people the truth. Not only for your sake, but for theirs.
Your energy level doesn’t have to remain low. You have more control than you think. But you have to be deliberate in managing it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use and believe will add value to our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.