Are your energy levels flagging? From not getting enough sleep, to sitting too long behind a screen, there are lots of reasons why your energy levels may be low - and some of these may surprise you. Here we look at what could be draining your mental and physical reserves.
…Of the sweet (or fake) stuff
Sugary, processed foods that are high in refined, quick-release carbs (found in white bread, pastries and sweets), may give you a quick energy fix, but after a couple of hours, sudden spikes in energy will plummet, making you feel tired and sleepy.
Energy fix: A protein-rich lunch combined with high-fibre carbs will help reduce the effects of blood sugar spikes and keep you fuller for longer.
Many of us reach for a mug of coffee to help fight fatigue, and in moderation, coffee can boost alertness, but too much coffee has been linked to agitation, a raised heart rate, raised blood pressure and fatigue.
Energy fix: Reducing your coffee intake can actually boost energy! Most research suggests keeping below 400mg of caffeine a day, or four cups of coffee, but if you’re especially sensitive to caffeine, try a caffeine-free alternative like A.Vogel Bambu Coffee Substitute . It’s enormously popular with customers who have trouble sleeping.
Too social for your own good? According to an article in Women’s Health magazine , research from the University of Illinois found that the constant use of a smartphone had a negative impact on mental health, leading to fatigue, anxiety and low mood.
Energy fix: Try sticking your phone on airplane mode for at least one hour a day and see how much better you feel.
Feeling stressed can take its toll on energy levels. Whilst it may not be possible to remove stress completely from your life, allow yourself at least 30 minutes each day to do whatever helps you to relax.
Energy fix: Take a walk, read a book, run a bath. Deep breathing and meditation can also help with stress, as can the herbal remedy AvenaCalm.
Low mood affects the body mentally and physically. Those suffering from low mood often experience fatigue and low energy levels.
Energy fix: If you’re feeling down, Jan de Vries Mood Essence may give support when it’s difficult to stay positive.
Up to 60% of the human body is made up of water. The brain, vital organs and muscles contain even more. Even slight dehydration will cause body tissue to lose fluid and function less well, resulting in tiredness and poor concentration.
Energy fix: Aim for at least 1.5 litres of fresh water daily to stay hydrated.
Poor sleep on an ongoing basis will deplete your energy levels. If you’re having trouble sleeping, taking time to wind down before bedtime will enable your nervous system to shift into a pre-sleep pattern.
Energy fix: Avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime and go to bed at the same time each night. Trouble nodding off? A.Vogel’s Dormeasan® Sleep with Valerian and Hops can help you get to sleep and also stay in the deeper stages of sleep for longer.
Heavy periods, even regular periods, can cause low iron levels, which can cause profound fatigue.
Energy fix: Food sources of iron include lean red meat, liver and shellfish. Vegetarian iron is not usually as easy for the body to absorb, but is available in spinach, beans, bran flakes, Tofu, figs, kale and lentils. An iron supplement can also help.
Of all the B vitamins, B12 is especially important for red blood cell formation and energy release. Having low levels of vitamin B12 will zap your mental energy, your attention span and your cognitive function.
Energy fix: Foods rich in B12 include mussels, mackerel, soya milk and yoghurt. Need a vegan alternative? Try BetterYou’s Boost B12 Oral Spray with additional chromium to help prevent spikes and dips in energy.
Low energy can also result from a sedentary lifestyle and a lack of exercise, especially if you spend most of your day behind a computer screen.
Energy fix: Exercise gives you energy! Try to exercise for at least 10 minutes a day, and if working at a desk, find creative ways to move more during the day.