If you’re regularly hitting those 4pm slumps and struggling to get through the day, you might need to make some lifestyle tweaks to boost your energy levels, says health, fitness and wellbeing journalist, Vicki-Marie Cossar.
1. Move more
It might sound counter-productive but exercise, and movement in general, can boost energy levels. Research shows that even a brisk 10-minute walk can increase your energy, mood and even give a 15% reduction in risk of early death. If you can manage to stick to a low intensity running program three times a week for six weeks, you could be in for significant improvements in fatigue and sleep quality.
2. Reduce your stress levels
Stress uses up a lot of energy, so try to introduce relaxing activities like yoga and reading into your day. While this might not always be possible with a busy workload and children, you could try some quick relaxation therapies like meditation and mindfulness on your phone. Remember stress takes a serious toll on your physical and mental health, so bringing levels down is key to bringing energy levels up.
3. Eat well
As simple as it sounds, eating foods with a low glycaemic index (GI) will stop those nasty highs and lows. The glycaemic index is a measurement that ranks food containing carbohydrates according to how much they affect your blood sugar. Foods with a high GI include, refined starches like white bread, cakes, biscuits, breakfast cereals and bars. These cause a spike in blood sugar, which then drops leaving you feeling low in energy. Stick to low glycaemic foods like whole grains, high-fibre vegetables, proteins and fats to keep things balanced.
4. Cut back on the booze
That night-time tipple is having more of an effect on energy levels than you realise. While you might think a couple of glasses of wine has a sedative effect and sends you into slumber, in reality they just make you pass out. Alcohol also disrupts your sleep cycle which can impact energy, mood, concentration and decision-making the next day.
5. Create a sleep sanctuary
Sleep is proven to have a positive effect on mental and physical wellbeing, so creating a better sleeping environment is a no-brainer. A mattress protector and sheets made from 100% breathable cotton will help you maintain the perfect sleeping temperature, while an all-seasons 10.5 tog duvet will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter, preventing night-time sweats.
6. Drink more water
Every cell in your body needs water to function and dehydration has a huge effect on brain function, mood and energy levels. Not only that, but blood is more than 90 percent water and as it’s responsible for carrying oxygen and essential nutrients to different parts of the body and removing waste products, it’s imperative that you stay hydrated.
7. Up your magnesium intake
The mineral magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body and a magnesium deficiency can result in fatigue, muscle cramps and irritability. Magnesium helps transport blood sugar into your muscles and without it we cannot produce energy. Nuts and seeds are good sources with one ounce of almonds containing 20% of your daily magnesium needs.
8. Take a power nap
If you’re feeling zapped, don’t reach for the caffeine, instead reach for a throw and snuggle up. A 20-minute power nap is great for boosting alertness and motor learning skills. Over slept? Don’t stress, research shows longer naps help boost memory and enhance creativity.
9. Cut back on sugar
When you’re tired, it’s easy to reach for sugar-filled snacks, but that short-term energy boost wears off quickly and one study showed that people reported feeling 26% more fatigued when they followed a diet high in refined carbs and added sugar.
10. Phone a friend
Good friends are good for your health. Not only can chatting with your BFF boost your happiness, but it can also reduce your stress – which, as we know, is an energy zapper. If you feel tired, connect with friends, join a club or a class, or find a new hobby that can bring about social connections.