Are you feeling tired all the time?
Do you feel like having a mid-afternoon nap at work?
Are you lacking the energy to chase your kids around the backyard?
Or are you too tired get jiggy with your spouse?
Tiredness can effect every facet of your life and have a profound effect on your relationships.
I know kids can make you tired. I was really getting bogged down in the hum-drum routine of everyday life there for a while. My work days start at 7am and I was finding it really hard to get to bed early enough in order to have yawn free days.
So I started to wonder how to increase energy levels and bring back motivation and fun to my everyday life.
There is nothing worse than saying “I’m tired” all of the time. People, especially your partner (who hears it all the time) get really sick of hearing it! Instead of complaining, solve the problem!
Gaining energy and motivation is key to enjoying and getting the most out of your life and relationships.
I know when I am tired, I can get cranky. And no-one wants to be around a cranky and irritable wife/mother.
Before you can discover how to increase energy levels in your life, you need to first figure out the problem.
Ask yourself the question: “Why am I so tired all the time?”
Ensuring you get enough sleep each night is an essential factor affecting how to increase energy levels.
We spend up to a third of our whole lives asleep accounting for 7-9 hours per day between the sheets.
Look after your Circadian Rhythm
We have this amazing thing called Circadian Rhythm which is the body’s natural sleep cycle or body clock and modern life continually messes with this through use of mobile devices, television, even external lights and alarm clocks.
To look after and maintain a great rhythm it is recommended that we try to have a consistent schedule for sleep and wake.
This will mean trying to get to bed at the same time each night, as well as wake up at the same time each morning. As soon as you have a super late party night, and try to catch up on sleep with naps during the day, your rhythm can be majorly disrupted and it may take a good few days before your sleep cycle can fully recover.
Another way to confound our body clocks is the use of electronic devices late at night. The blue light used in phones and laptops actually trick our brains into thinking it is still daytime and can really confuse our sleep cycles.
To get around this, I recommend switching off electronic devices at least 2 hours before you plan to go to sleep and give your brain a rest.
Watch Your Caffeine Intake
While caffeine can be an easy solution for how to increase your energy levels in the short term and provide a quick boost with espresso, this is actually counterintuitive to your overall energy problem.
It has been well documented that coffee and energy drinks will lead to shorter and lower quality sleep in the longer term as well as frequent wakings and an increase in lighter sleep versus deep sleep.
The effects of caffeine on humans is rather variable and dependent upon the speed in which it is metabolised in the individual. But if you are wondering how to increase your energy levels, you should be drinking less, not more caffeine filled beverages for a start.
What else is stopping you from having an awesome 7-9hours of rich sleep a night?
As we do spend on average one third of our lives sleeping, it is so important to ensure we are absolutely comfortable in bed.
Get a new pillow, invest in some 1000TC sheets, a cosy duvet, some silk pyjamas. Eliminate external distractions such as lights and noises. Keep the temperature constant.
Anxiety is one thing that can keep me awake, especially when I know I have an early morning looming.
For some reason I can lay there tossing and turning and thinking and worrying for what seems like hours. I try resetting myself and tricking my body into sleep by getting up and going through my bedtime ritual of washing my face, going to the toilet and brushing my teeth again. Sometimes this is enough!
If not I go through a body relaxation technique that I have learned from years of yoga practice. This simply involves laying flat on your back with your palms facing upwards and moving through your body tensing and releasing each and every muscle in turn. You really focus on your breath by breathing in the good and exhaling the bad and by doing so, meditate yourself to sleep.
Counting sheep is an age old method for going to sleep and it works on the same principals by visualising and focussing on the sheep as they jump over the fence or your pillow or your bed.
If your anxieties are extreme enough to keep you awake most nights, please seek professional help.
Read a Book
Instead of watching that new Netflix series on your phone as you lay in bed, read a good book. For some people, this is a very successful way to fall asleep as it exercises your eyes and makes them tired.
Enlist your partner for help if you can’t get to sleep and bask in that delicious after sex tired glow to send you to sleep.
So, what if you are getting adequate sleep?
General fatigue which is not caused by a medical condition can be greatly reduced and even cured by as little as 20 minutes of low impact exercise 3 times per week!
Exercise greatly increases blood flow and tissue perfusion. This improved circulation helps the body’s natural willingness to carry richly oxygenated red blood cells around the body and gives tissues the ability to produce more energy.
The next step is finding the motivation to exercise when you do feel so fatigued.
Start off small and exercise early in the morning for a bonus boost to your circadian rhythms as well. Try to make exercise a part of your routine, turn it into a habit and before long your energy levels will improve which will make exercising much easier.
A balanced diet brimming with fruit and vegetables is great start to how to increase energy levels. Start of the day with a green smoothie. Avoid the trans fats, and eat smaller and easier digest meals.
Grab some fruit and green tea
If you usually have a coffee and a sugar loaded chocolate bar to help get over that afternoon slump, turn to an apple and green tea instead. The natural sugars in fruit will get you over the line without giving you an inevitable sugar low. And the anti-oxidants in green tea have energy boosting and weight loss results without caffeine interfering with your sleep cycle.
Iron is found in red blood cells and is essential in transporting oxygen throughout your body.
A lack of iron can be a major cause of low energy.
Iron is found in red meats, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, also in legumes, wholegrains and eggs.
A blood test may be required to find our your iron or haemoglobin levels and to ascertain whether short term treatment with iron supplements is required to boost levels. Please see your doctor.
Vitamin B12, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Complex Carbohydrates
Vitamin B is found naturally occurring in animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and fish. Fish has an added bonus of containing omega-3 fatty acids which also increase energy by combating depression.
The vitamins in the B group help convert the food that you eat into glucose, which is then used for energy so it is important to have enough.
Normal healthy individuals should get enough vitamin B from the food we eat but for those that are not getting enough, supplements are widely available. A simple blood test can find whether or not your are vitamin B deficient. Please see your doctor if you think you are at risk.
Complex carbohydrates are another food that we can consume that take longer to digest and so can help to keep blood sugars stable, while maintaining energy levels.
Whole grain wheat and pasta, brown rice and quinoa are all great sources of your complex carbs.
Are you getting enough magnesium?
This is a super mineral that is monumental in the production and storage of energy in the body.
Magnesium is a power house in activating the enzymes the body uses for digestion and it also keeps your nervous system healthy. Proper Mg levels are difficult to maintain by diet alone that’s why magnesium supplements are commonplace. Magnesium powders are popular for adding to smoothies, and transdermal patches are also gaining popularity as the benefits of magnesium are getting more widely known.
Drinking less alcohol and more water is essential when looking at how to increase energy levels.
Alcohol messes with your sleep big time, while plenty of water serves to prevent dehydration which causes fatigue as a major side effect. Add lemon to your water for even more health benefits!
More water = less fatigue!
Get outside and get some sunshine!
Vitamin D revitalises and energises so it is important to be able to soak up some rays each day.
If you are stuck at work, go for a walk around the block in the sun at lunch to improve your circulation and combat those mid-afternoon nap-time blues.
Negativity robs you of motivation and energy.
Surround yourself with positive and motivated people and their positivity will have to rub off on you.
Boost your ego by writing a list of things you like about yourself and start off each day with appreciation and wonder. Get an app that provides you with an inspirational quote for the day. There’s some great free ones:
- Inspirational Quote of the Day
- Be Positive
Stretch in the morning to wake up your muscles and boost your blood flow and energise you for the day.
Try some simple sun salutations .
Every couple of hours you can simply stand up and reach into the sky, and down to your toes to re-awaken those blood vessels as a way to improve circulation while energising your body.
Being overweight puts unnecessary and unwanted strain on all of your body systems so an effective way to gain more energy is to lose weight.
Check your Hormone Levels
See your doctor and find out your levels of estrogen for women and testosterone for both men and women as these important hormones, or a deficiency thereof can have symptoms of fatigue and tiredness especially a decreased libido.
If your tiredness persists, it could be a symptom of something more serious such as heart disease, hypothyroidism, depression, hypertension or more so please have a health check with your doctor.
A simple blood test can check your system levels of iron, vitamin B and hormones and quickly prescribe supplements where medically required before a simple lack of energy turns into something more serious such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Unfortunately, tiredness and lack of motivation can have a cyclic affect. Poor sleep resulting in lack of energy leads to poor diet and lack of exercise on top of this will lead to obesity and depression. Age needs to be considered as well but not used as an excuse for low energy levels.
So now you know just how to increase energy levels, it’s time to get motivated and get more energy today.