Modern life can leave you feeling exhausted, but it doesn't have to be that way. Many of the things that are common in everyday life decrease energy levels and make it difficult to be productive. If you are having trouble getting to the end of your to-do list, consider your lifestyle and look for changes that can give you the energy needed to power through your day.
While hearing we need more sleep isn't surprising, it isn't always the right answer, either. If you are getting between seven and eight hours of sleep each night and feel low in energy, sleep probably isn't the problem. If you are sleeping more than nine hours a night, however, you may want to consider cutting back. Too much sleep can leave you feeling groggy.
What we eat, and how much of it we eat can have a tremendous effect on energy levels. Eat a well-balanced diet, full of vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Try to curb your sweet tooth with fruit as much as possible.
Break your meals up so you never go more than four hours or so between them. This can help prevent dips in energy.
Another time-tested solution for low energy levels is exercise. Many people find this easier said than done, however, as it's a cyclical issue: low energy levels can make it challenging to exercise regularly, but if you stick it out you will see results. One way to make exercise more enjoyable is to get outside. The combination of fresh air and working out is a proven mood booster.
The science is behind it; caffeine does boost energy. Of course, it can also make you jittery and create problems when you try to go to sleep. Using caffeine to boost your energy strategically is fine, but don't count on it to keep you going all day. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, avoid having caffeine after lunch, or opt for low-caffeine options, like green tea, or herbal teas.
You shouldn't drink coffee all day, but having a water bottle close at hand is a great way to keep your energy levels high. Even a minor case of dehydration can leave you feeling fatigued and make it difficult to focus.
An added benefit of staying hydrated is the need for frequent bathroom breaks. Getting up from your desk and walking around for a few minutes each hour or so is another great way to boost energy levels. Creating this habit will also help lessen the muscle stiffness that inevitably comes from sitting at a desk all day.
Too much screen time can hurt your energy levels in a couple of ways. Blue light exposure close to bed, or worse, while laying in bed right before you try to fall asleep, makes it more likely you will spend time tossing and turning, which means you'll wake up tired.
Another problem with screens is how easy they make it to access news and other stressful information. Whether you are catching up on the latest political in-fighting or doom-scrolling through social media, fatigue about the state of the world has a very real impact on energy.
Now, what to do with the extra time you gain by putting down your phone? Consider using it to do something meaningful. What that means is individual to you. Maybe it is finding a charity you would like to support, or perhaps it means picking up a hobby you previously set aside. Even something as simple as dedicating the time to meal-prep each week can invigorate you.
No one is saying you can never have a glass of wine, but don't expect to have great energy levels if you regularly drink alcohol. Once you break out the liquor, your productivity for the day will decline. Plus, having a drink to unwind at the end of the day can harm your sleep.
You know it is bad for your long-term health, but it also lowers your daily energy levels. Studies show that smokers have more trouble falling and staying asleep. The stimulating effect of nicotine keeps heart rate and blood pressure up, but certainly doesn't make you feel energetic. Once you go to bed, you may find it difficult to quiet your brain so you can rest.
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No matter how many health hacks you incorporate to improve your energy levels, it is always possible to run low. If you are eating right, exercising, and otherwise doing everything you should, but still have low energy, look at your schedule. Is it possible that you are overextended?
Just because you cannot fit everything into your day doesn't mean you don't have enough energy — you may have too much planned. Keep a realistic schedule, streamline your to-do list, and prioritize tasks.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.