'I'm tired.' How many times a day do you say it (or think it?). Life is fast paced and if you have a hectic schedule or young kids (or both!) then I have no doubt that you are bloody exhausted! Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep are obviously factors as to why a lot of people are rubbing their eyes at work or daydreaming of a power nap at the next opportunity but what else are you doing that may be sabotaging your energy levels?
1. Coffee. Wait, what? Caffeine is supposed to keep you awake right? Yes it is but what goes up must come down and caffeine peaks in your blood at about 45-60 minutes after consumption meaning that after that, your energy levels can drop even lower until your next fix. Try to limit caffeine consumption to avoid an energy crash and don't rely on it to keep you awake.
2. Dehydration. Not drinking enough water can thicken your blood meaning oxygen takes longer to pump through your body, slowing everything down and making you feel lethargic. Drinking plenty of water keeps your body functioning at a high level so make sure to always carry a water bottle with you to sip on during the day.
3. Not exercising. Feeling tired is not a good enough excuse for me not to exercise. Of course there are exceptions to this rule but if I'm feeling more like a nap than hitting the gym then that's when I MAKE myself exercise. Exercise releases endorphins in the body that make you feel happy and energised which is why after a morning training session, you usually feel upbeat for the rest of the day. Exercise can also improve sleep and if you're sleeping better then you're more likely to feel like exercising. So if you're feeling a little bit tired tomorrow, try hitting the gym instead of hitting your pillow and you'll be thankful you did.
4. Processed and sugary foods. My last blog was about nutrition so I won't harp on too much about the effect that processed and sugary foods can have on your body but similar to caffeine, what goes up must come down. And what do you do when you start to come down from a sugar high? You reach for another sugary snack and so the cycle continues. Proteins, fats and low GI carbohydrates are best for stabilising your blood sugar and preventing a sugar crash.
5. Oversleeping (I can hear the scoff of every mum with young kids reading this right now! Over-whatting?) Everyone is different in the amount of sleep they need to function. I've got some clients that need between 10 and 12 hours of sleep to make it through the day (another scoff) but if you are feeling lethargic when you wake up then maybe you are getting too much sleep? Make a note of how long you are sleeping and how it's making you feel when you wake up. It may be as little as an hour here or there that could make all the difference.
Fatigue can be a sign of something more than just 'general tiredness' so if you're constantly feeling exhausted then you should look into getting your blood levels and hormones checked out. It's okay to take it easy when you are tired and sometimes you do need rest and recovery but nutrition and exercise play a huge role in how you feel every day so have a think about your daily habits and how you can make positive changes to give yourself the energy you deserve.
Here's to a happy, healthy and energetic you.