Could your energy level use a jump start? You’re not alone. A sizeable portion of the population complains of feeling constantly tired, even when they get seven or eight hours of sleep a night. The good news? If you’re otherwise in good health, making a few lifestyle changes could help put some pep back into your step. Here are some energy zappers that steal your energy and how to correct them.
Skipping meals is a common cause of feeling exhausted. You get busy at work or running errands, and you completely forget to refuel. Many people who are constantly tired don’t start the day with a good breakfast. If you don’t fuel up after an overnight fast, your body slows down to conserve energy. Don’t let this happen to you. Start the day with a morning meal that contains a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates. Good choices are a bowl of oatmeal with nuts or a spoonful of peanut butter, or eggs with a slice of whole grain toast. Don’t skip meals, and make time to eat a snack that contains protein and complex carbs every three to four hours throughout the day.
Energy Zappers: Not Drinking Enough Water
Have you noticed when you’re out in the hot sun all day you feel exhausted? Mild dehydration reduces blood volume to all the organs of your body and causes you to feel fatigued. Don’t use thirst as a signal that it’s time to drink, sip a minimum of eight glasses of water a day to ward off fatigue from mild dehydration. Carry a bottle of water with you to drink throughout the day, and watch your fatigue melt away.
Drinking the Wrong Beverages
Drinking caffeinated beverages sounds like a good way to boost your energy level, and it does, at least temporarily. But if you make a habit of taking in too much caffeine, your brain adapts to the caffeine and the energizing effects wear off. Then if you cut back on caffeine, you get caffeine withdrawal symptoms including headache and fatigue. Drink more water and give coffee and soft drinks a rest to allow your body to readjust to running on less caffeine.
Energy Zappers: Being Inactive
Ever notice how tired you feel when you feel when you sit for long periods of time? People who get regular physical exercise usually have more energy. Start the day with a video download workout or a brisk 20 minute walk. Find ways to stay more active during the day. If you have an office job, take a break every hour to walk up and down the hall or up and down the stairs. This gets the blood flowing to your brain and other vital organs and keeps your body out of idle mode.
Eating the Wrong Kind and Amount of Food
You’ll have more energy if you eat four or five small meals a day rather than two or three larger ones. When you eat a large meal, blood is diverted away from your brain and to your intestines to help digest your food. This causes you to feel sleepy and fatigued. Keep your meals small and low in sugars and simple carbohydrates that can spike your blood sugar and insulin level and send them plummeting. Don’t wash your meals down with soft drinks either. They’re the ultimate energy zappers.
The Bottom Line?
Don’t let these five energy zappers leave you feeling exhausted all the time. Make changes in how you live and eat to boost your energy level. If you don’t get a boost in your energy level, see your doctor. Some medical conditions such as diabetes and an under active thyroid can cause you to feel constantly tired, and it’s important to rule these out.
Merck Manual. Eighteenth edition. 2006.
Oxygen Magazine. Nutrition issue. 2006.