10 ways to boost your energy levels and battle fatigue

Your energy levels affect every aspect of your life, from productivity at work and at home, to your social interactions and even your overall longevity.  Many people struggle to boost their energy levels for numerous reasons, but by trying to follow some of these suggestions you should be able to boost your energy levels, battle fatigue, and increase your overall productivity.  

1.  Get the appropriate amount of sleep per night

by AlishaV, on Flickr

I know — this seems like an easy one.  However, many people don’t get the appropriate amount of sleep a night.  There are a few great articles both at The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and at SleepFoundation.org that discusses both the quantity and quality of sleep required by children up through adults.  For most adults, it is recommended we get 7-8 hours of good sleep a night.    

Do you think you are getting that much sleep a night?  You may not be.  Many Americans suffer from some form of a sleep disorder and never realize it.  The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, up to 40 million Americans each year suffer from some form of chronic sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million Americans experience occasional sleep problems.  Some of these, like insomnia, affect the quantity of sleep a person gets each night.  Others, like sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, affect the quality of sleep an individual receives each night.   

If you are not getting the quantity and quality of sleep you need each night, you are robbing your body of rest, your muscles of recuperation time, and your mind of the time it needs to properly download information from your short term memory into long term memory.

If you think you allocating enough time to rest and are not feeling rested the next day, you should consult your physician to discuss if you could be suffering from some form of a sleep disorder.

2.  If you are overweight, lose weight

by alancleaver_2000, on Flickr

Carrying more weight than is healthy will affect your energy levels in many ways.  As we just discussed above, sleep disorders can affect energy levels.  Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, and many cases of sleep apnea can be eliminated or improved in overweight individuals by simply losing weight.  In addition, your body has to do more work to run an overweight body, from your leg muscles moving you around as you walk, to your heart having to pump harder to push blood around your body.  It’s the perfect recipe for fatigue. 

Being overweight or obese can also have an emotional and psychological effect on an individual, sometimes creating a subconscious energy drain on an individual.  Losing a few pounds can boost a person’s morale and self-esteem, improve overall body functions, and even help improve sleep patterns.  It’s a win-win-win! 

3.  Get involved in social activities

Ever notice when you feel worn down, you tend not to want to go out and do social things?  Not only that, but when you are less social, you tend to be less active, which in turns lowers your energy levels.  The one definitely feeds the other, and it can be either a downward spiral or an upward spiral.  Make it an upward spiral.  Get involved more socially, whether that means going out for a night out on the town with friends, going to church or volunteering to help others.  Humans are creatures who require social interaction.  By partaking in the social process, you can tap into the energy that is formed through social encounters.  Better yet, take up Yoga, T’ai Chi, or another form of group exercise.  That way, you can get social interaction and work on losing weight.  Try it out and see if I’m right.

4.  Monitor sugar and caffeine intake

by aslvstr, on Flickr

Sugar and caffeine give you a shot in the arm when you ingest them.  However, hours later, their effects wear off, causing a huge drop in energy levels.  So what do we do?  We reach for the next cup of coffee, the next bottle of soda, or the next sugary snack.  And the cycle continues….

Specifically in the case of sugary snacks (or sugary caffeinated beverages for that matter), as our blood sugars rise, the pancreas has to release insulin to bring blood sugar levels back to normal.  As the blood sugar level drops, the body craves more sugar, and fatigue can quickly set it and make the consumer feel sleepy. 

Instead of drinking that cup of coffee in the morning loaded with sugar and cream, try a cup of flavored green-tea instead.  It will give you a small boost of caffeine, and it won’t drop off on you come mid-morning.  Plus, you get the benefits of anti-oxidants, and you consume less calories overall.  How can you go wrong? 

5.  Drink more water

Every school child knows that are bodies are comprised mostly of water.  That means that you need to feed it water for it work appropriately.  The Mayo Clinic reports that a healthy adult should drink between 8 and 13 cups of water a day.  If you are not drinking that much, you might suffer from a combination of the following: 

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Food cravings

By drinking the proper amount of water, you will decrease your appetite and increase your energy levels.

6.  Exercise at least 30 minutes a day

by Listen Missy!, on Flickr

Exercise provides your body with the best energy boost nature can provide.  Not only does exercising provide physical benefits by making strengthening your muscles, improve heart health, and burning excess calories, but it also provides mental benefits as well by providing a sense of accomplishment.  Looking for ways to squeeze more exercise into an already busy day?  Check out our article on 10 ways to burn calories throughout the day.  

7.  Sun, beautiful sun

UV light from the sun, in large doses, has been linked to skin cancer.  However, many people don’t realize that the sun’s light also provides natural benefits to human beings.  It helps set our internal clocks (circadian rhythms), it helps us produce vitamin D in our bodies, and can provide a natural boost to help kick start your day.  There are some people who will even use a sun lamp in the winter time to help combat seasonal depression and to keep their circadian rhythms in sync. 

8.  Create a daily TO DO list

Heard the sayings “the only way you can eat an elephant is one bite at a time” and “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.  The same goes for working through daily tasks or achieving an overall goal.  Don’t let a large goal become so overwhelming that it saps your energy and prevent you from achieving it.  Break the larger goals or tasks in your life down into smaller, more achievable ones.  By doing this, you will be able appreciate the progress you are making toward your goal.  Don’t overlook the impact your mental state of mind, or your stress level, has on your energy levels.  They are more closely intertwined that many of us think. 

9.  Change diet 

by Sunshine Hanan, on Flickr

Garbage in, garbage out.  A championship caliber race car driver wouldn’t fill up his racecar with 87 octane gasoline, so why would we fill up our bodies with empty calories and garbage food, and expect the results to be any better?  The better diet we feed our bodies, the better they will perform, and the more energy we will have.  The same goes true for the reverse.  If you are eating a high sugar, high carbohydrate diet, try switching to healthier, high in fiber foods.

10.  Go see a doctor  

If you feel that you cannot kick your fatigue, are still lacking energy, or are not feeling yourself, you should go to see your doctor to see if something else is not functioning properly.  They can recommend alternatives to boost your energy, and can check for more serious conditions that may be the underlying reason for a lack of energy or overall fatigue. 

** This article is for amusement purposes only.  Anytime you change your diet or increase your exercise level, you should consult a physician first.  This article should not be used as a substitute for speaking with your doctor.  **

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