The number one thing I hear in clinic is that people are feeling lacklustre and tired a lot of the time which isn’t surprising given that most of us live in a cycle of caffeine - sugar - caffeine - alcohol - repeat at the expense of sleep, rest and proper relaxation. Having stable energy levels all throughout the day seems long forgotten, but it can be done. Ideally, you want your body to produce its own energy and not be depended on a pep up from a coffee or some chocolate at regular intervals. Here are my top ways to feel energetic from dawn to dusk:
If sleep wasn’t essential then evolution would have done away with it already. As it stands though, we go into a state of complete defencelessness for 8 hours every night, vulnerable to predators and threats and unable to properly protect ourselves. From a survival point of view this is absolutely bonkers but it makes you realise just how crucial sleep must be for our health as humans overall. Improving your sleep is the number one thing you can do for your health and wellness, needless to say your energy levels too. When it comes to sleep, do not compromise - go to bed and wake up at the same time each day for the best results, and, if you’re struggling with it then have a read of our recent post on ways to optimise your sleep and also the best sleep tech to help you get some serious shut eye.
Avoid too much sugar + eat nutrient dense foods
A lot can be achieved health wise if you focus on eating real food that is densely populated with nutrients. Avoid empty calorie foods like crisps and chocolate as although they’ll provide you with a quick injection of energy there is very little in them to promote health and you’ll most likely experience a slump in energy a couple of hours after eating them if they were high in sugar. Good quality proteins, lots of vegetables and complex carbohydrates are they way to go if your goal is to feel energetic and nourished.
If you’re a take it or leave it kind of person then the chances are that you’re not that addicted to caffeine and probably don’t need to worry as much. Although there are many benefits to drinking coffee, if you are dependent on it then you’re never really going to be in a situation where you’ll experience sustained energy throughout the day without needing to rely on it. The good news is that after about 7 days caffeine free you body starts to be sensitive to the effects again and you can start to use it as a performance enhancer rather than a daily crutch. Tea contains significant amount of caffeine too, albeit not as much as coffee, so watch your intake of that too.
Exercise will help you feel energetic and has the great knock on effect that it improves sleep too. When we exercise our bodies produce feel good endorphins which have a direct effect on our energy levels. Daily movement is key and it’s much better to be moving continuously than doing all your effort in one session - touch if you work a desk job. Try setting an alarm on your phone or fitbit every 30 minutes at work to remind you to get up and take a turn around the office, stretch your next and back and take some deep breaths. Exercising too late into the evening can have an adverse effect of sleep quality though, so it’s best to get your work out or your gym session done in the morning if you can.
You may feel that a glass of wine, or whatever it might be, actually helps you to fall asleep but studies have proven that although you may konk out quicker, the sleep that you then actually experience isn’t as deep or restful had you not have anything to drink. Alcohol can also have an effect on our body’s regulation of our blood sugar - so by boozing you might also be increasing your cravings for sweet, sugary foods which in turn will throw your energy levels out of line.
Or in other words, take a cold shower! (link this to the post on cold water therapy!) Cold therapy has been linked to many health benefits from both a physical and mental perspective, and the endorphin boost it gives you in like no other! You’ll be up and raring to go in no time.
We forget to breathe, properly breathe, as it’s an automatic process. However, taking ome big deep breaths is not only calming but helps to oxygenate all of our cells helping to optimise all cellular processes, including ATP production which equals energy. Ideally, if you’re feeling tired at work get outdoors into a park and do your deep breathing there.