Lack of energy is a common problem people face at all stages of life, but it can be especially frustrating after middle-age. Although a decrease in energy levels can naturally occur with age, sometimes a few check-ins on habits and nutrition are the best way to combat low energy. Here are three common problems and solutions to feeling sluggish.
Increasing your protein intake or switching to complex carbohydrate sources can help you feel more alert throughout the day. Protein and fat provide sustained energy, while carbs are “quick” and easy to burn through. Eating a handful of nuts instead of a sugary granola bar for a snack is one way to fight off the afternoon doldrums. A vitamin D deficiency is another common cause of fatigue, too, so load up on fresh veggies and citrus fruits!
Overeating and a lack of eating can also cause fatigue. Eating reasonable portions, taking nutrition supplements if needed, and including a range of fruits and vegetables in your diet can do wonders for how you feel each day. It’s better to eat small meals and snacks every few hours than three large meals a day. This approach can reduce your perception of fatigue because your brain needs a steady supply of nutrients.
Eating foods with a low glycemic index — whose sugars are absorbed slowly — may help you avoid the lag in energy that typically occurs after eating quickly absorbed sugars or refined starches. Foods with a low glycemic index include whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive oil.
Things like screen time before bed, late-night snacks, and continuing to mull over your worries when your head hits the pillow are a few things that can disrupt your rest. A supportive mattress and meditating before you fall asleep are just a couple of simple fixes to restlessness at night.
Timing your bedtime and wake-up time with your sleep cycle is another way to boost your energy in the morning. Instead of feeling groggy and out of it, you’ll slowly begin to wake up feeling more and more rested. Each sleep cycle is about 90 minutes long and waking up in the middle of one (even after getting a solid eight hours of rest) can result in a tough morning slog.
Just taking a walk around the block every day can make you feel perkier. Being sedentary is easy, but it’s a common cause of fatigue. You don’t need to run a marathon or partake in extreme sports, but finding a physical activity you can do regularly will do wonders for your energy levels and mood. Exercise is proven to release happy chemicals, also known as endorphins, that can improve your mood as well as your health.
It can be anything from Zumba to playing with the dogs, but any movement is good. A body in motion tends to stay in motion – that sounds like energy, doesn’t it?
Use caffeine to your advantage
Caffeine does help increase alertness, so having a cup of coffee can help sharpen your mind. However, to get the energizing effects of caffeine, you have to use it judiciously. It can cause insomnia, especially when consumed in large amounts or after 2 p.m.
If you’re going to drink, do so in moderation at a time when you don’t mind having your energy wind down.
What’s the only nutrient that has been shown to enhance performance for all but the most demanding endurance activities? It’s not some pricey sports drink. It’s water. If your body is short of fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue. Aim to drink half your bodyweight in water each day.
When you’re feeling exhausted, fatigued or stressed, adaptogenic herbs can help. These healing plants balance and restore the body’s natural ability to handle stress by regulating the adrenal system, which is responsible for controlling the way hormones respond to stress. Adaptogens help your entire body gently cope with stress, anxiety, and, of course, fatigue.
Some of the best ones to boost your energy include: ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, cordyceps, and ginseng.
Also known as the “energy vitamin,” B12 is the most complex of all vitamins. It supports thyroid function and keeps blood cells happy and healthy. If you’re vitamin B12 deficient, one of the first signs can be lower energy levels.
Coffee isn’t the only option when you need a pick-me-up. Sipping on an herbal tea can provide an all-natural temporary boost in energy levels without the risk of scary stimulants or processed ingredients.
Two wonderful options are green tea and rooibos tea. Green tea has many benefits to your body such as anti-aging and fighting free radicals. It is loaded with catechin, an antioxidant that helps fight damage in the body’s cell. If you’re looking for a wonderful green tea, I love matcha.
Rooibos tea is another type of tea that’ll fight fatigue. Made from South Africa’s red bush plant, this refreshing red tea is packed with antioxidants including aspalathin, an antioxidant that regulates the adrenal hormones, helping to reduce stress and keep energy levels high.