Do you find yourself feeling tired all the time? Have you lost the spring in your step? Fortunately, there are small changes you can make to your life, such as exercise, sleep and adding vitamins that will help increase your energy levels.
Here are 7 tips to help you can increase your energy levels.
Everyone goes through stressful situations. Work deadlines, challenging relationships, family and financial responsibilities can all create stressful periods in your life. Whether real or perceived, the impact of psychological factors, such as stress has a significant effect on your energy levels.
You’ve probably heard of the “fight or flight” phenomenon. This is your body’s response to a perceived threat. In this phase, many physical changes take place. For example, tightening muscles, increased blood pressure, quickened heart rate and breathing.
The body is designed to handle small doses of stress. The fight or flight response will protect you from real threats, like a burglar in your house! However, your body isn’t designed to handle prolonged periods of stress. When you’re chronically stressed, your body is flooded with adrenaline which keeps you in overdrive and eventually fatigue sets in.
The best thing you can do is try to recognise stress in your life, and then minimise it. Know your stressors and take active steps to reduce stress where possible. There’s no shame in talking to your doctor or a therapist to help you manage the stress.
Exercise is the last thing you feel like doing when you’re tired, but it’s a mega source of natural energy. Research has found that regular exercise significantly increases energy and reduces fatigue. It’s also been found to increase mental alertness and sharpness!
Plus, the psychological benefits of exercise have been shown to directly correlate with your energy levels. For example, when you go to the gym and take a group class or play a team sport, you’re interacting with others which eases a sense of isolation and reduces the risk of depression.
You’ve experienced what it’s like to try and function all day after a night without enough sleep. It’s not easy - you feel sluggish, moody, have difficulty concentrating and functioning at your optimum.
Poor sleep has been linked to a number of negative outcomes such as: weight gain, decreased activity level, weakened immune system and fatigue. On the flip side, a good night’s sleep plays a massive role in your energy levels.
During sleep, your body restores the vital functions that it relies on during the day. Have you ever noticed you get hungrier when you’re lacking sleep? That’s because your appetite, temperature, hormones, immune system are all negatively affected when your sleep is compromised.
Along with getting adequate hours of sleep, make sure you also develop good ‘sleep hygiene.’ Sleep hygiene involves having healthy practices surrounding your sleep to ensure quality sleep.
Avoiding stimulants like caffeine close to bedtime and being on your mobile phone in bed will help you sleep more soundly.
Hydration is a big one for energy levels and brain performance. There have been many studies exploring dehydration, and it’s been found that even mild dehydration diminishes mood and memory.
To stay hydrated, make sure you drink at least 2 litres of water every day, and monitor the colour of your urine. If your urine is a very pale yellow, you’re sufficiently hydrated; but the darker yellow it is, the more dehydrated you are.
The B-vitamins have a reputation of being linked to increased energy and for good reason. Let’s take a look at why.
The benefits of B-vitamins cover both physical and mental energy Research has shown that B12 and B6 deficiencies can result in cognitive decline and B6 deficiencies have been linked to lowered mental alertness.
Physically, the B-vitamins play an essential role in metabolic processes in the body. Vitamin B6 is involved in the breakdown of glycogen, which in turn provides your body with glucose for physical activity
You may not think of magnesium and immediately think “energy” - but magnesium plays a big role in energy and exercise performance. Unfortunately, an alarming 80% of adults are predicted to be deficient in magnesium.
Magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body, including converting food into energy. It does this by activating Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) in the body which helps to create energy in the body.
There is also some evidence to suggest that magnesium helps with sleep and reduce insomnia. Magnesium maintains healthy levels of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Research suggests that magnesium supplements can help improve sleep quality and restless leg syndrome.
Some excellent food sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, boiled spinach, dark chocolate, black beans, almonds and salmon. Or, consider taking a supplement to make sure you are getting enough of this vital mineral.
If you are experiencing relentless fatigue, it may be an indication that you have a thyroid condition. An underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, means that your body is not producing enough of the vital hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones play a major role in vital functions such as metabolism, heart rate and body temperature. If you’re concerned about your thyroid, book an appointment with your doctor to have your thyroid checked.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with constant fatigue. Simple changes like improving your sleep, limiting stress, exercising regularly, drinking enough water and checking your thyroid can help you increase your energy. If you’re ready to mega-boost your energy, consider adding a B-vitamin or magnesium supplement to your routine and you’ll soon feel like a new person.
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.