From reducing stress to improving sleep, here’s how to naturally increase your energy levels
Today is National Fitness Day – an annual reminder that we could all benefit from moving more and staying healthy. But, as many people will know, keeping energy levels high is easier said than done. With life becoming increasingly busy and fast-paced, feeling tired and drained is all-too common, with work, household demands, social plans and more all demanding some of our energy.
However, as National Fitness Day looks to promote, there are steps you can take to change your lifestyle habits and naturally improve your energy levels. From working out regularly to sleeping effectively, eating healthy to de-stressing, there’s lots that can be done to make life happier and healthier. Let’s take a closer look.
Deal with any stress
Stress can be a huge drain on your energy levels, and we’ve all been exposed to a great deal of stress in the past few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress can impact all aspects of your wellbeing, making it more difficult to concentrate and fully relax. It has also been closely linked to tiredness, with one 2017 study finding a correlation between high levels of stress and fatigue in medical students.
It can of course be difficult to eliminate stress altogether but making time for relaxation in your daily life can help to significantly improve energy levels. Common strategies to reduce stress include reading, going for a walk, meditation and yoga.
Since it’s National Fitness Day, we’d be remiss not to mention the importance of exercise for promoting increased energy levels. Not only is regular exercise important for reducing your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, but it can also promote the release of energising hormones like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. Getting up and exercising might feel like the last thing you want to do when you’re tired, but a brisk walk on your lunch break or even just a few simple stretches can help you feel more alert.
Avoid smoking and alcohol
The food, drink and substances you consume have a direct impact on how you feel, including your energy levels. It will come as no surprise to learn that alcohol can make you feel drowsy, but it can also interfere with the quality of the sleep you’re getting. Likewise, smoking can be detrimental to your lung health and reduce their efficiency, making you feel tired. Cutting down or cutting out both of these factors can make a dramatic difference to your energy levels.
Following a balanced, healthy diet can also help to improve your energy levels, while relying too much on processed foods can make you feel more lethargic. High sugar foods may provide a short-term buzz, but this will be followed by a slump that will leave you feeling more tired than before.
Prioritise good sleep
Last but certainly not least is the importance of prioritising your sleep. When you’re busy, it’s easy to put your sleep schedule on the back burner, whether you’re staying up later to finish a task or waking up earlier to squeeze in a workout. Because of this, it’s estimated that more than 16 million UK adults are sleep deprived, and over two thirds (67%) suffer from disrupted sleep.
A lack of sleep can lead to low energy levels, impatience, and problems with concentration. In the long term, it can even make you more at risk of serious health conditions like depression, anxiety and heart disease.
Good sleep is vital when it comes to staying energised. Winding down from your day with relaxing behaviours before bed – like having a bath, reading or meditating – can help you feel ready for rest when bedtime rolls around. Give yourself a sleep schedule that you can stick to every night, allowing enough time to enjoy the seven to nine hours of sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.