One of the most common complaints we hear from our customers online and in our stores are ‘I’m so tired all the time’ and ‘I can’t seem to find the energy to do anything’. I’m sure almost all of us have felt like this at some point in our lives! But why are so many of us feeling fatigued and drained? Well, the main reasons can be split into three broad categories:
Being too busy: working long hours, spending the day stressed out juggling children and household chores, or spending too much time socialising and partying
Being too sedentary: too many hours spent at a desk working or studying, followed by too much time spent on the sofa watching TV
Not looking after ourselves: eating a poor diet and not getting enough sleep are common reasons why people feel drained.
So how can you boost your energy levels to fight fatigue? We’ve come up with some simple tips to help you out:
1) Less sugar, more complex carbohydrates. Refined sugar and refined carbohydrates (white bread, white rice and white flour) are quickly used up by our bodies, so they provide a short burst of energy, but often leave us feeling drained afterwards. Swap these foods for complex carbohydrates, such as brown bread, brown rice and brown flour, quinoa, potatoes, beans and lentils which slowly release energy over a longer period.
2) More fruit and veg. Different kinds of fruit and veg contain different vitamins, minerals and nutrients, so it’s important to eat a variety of different kinds to ensure you get what you need from your diet to keep your brain and muscles working.
3) Chia seeds. These little black seeds are said to have been eaten by Aztec warriors to sustain them during battle. To win the battle against fatigue, try sprinkling chia seeds over your breakfast, add them to smoothies, or turn them into a pudding by mixing with almond milk, leaving overnight and then adding a topping of fruit.
4) More water. Water is vital for transporting nutrients around the body, and it plays and important role in the production of energy once these nutrients get where they need to be. Even mild dehydration can leave us feeling tired, slow and even disorientated as our brain and muscle function begin to slow down.
5) A supplement designed for energy. There are loads of great supplements and multivitamins designed for boosting energy levels. Natural ones are best as they are most easily absorbed into the body. We have a number of energy-boosting supplements including Better You B12 and Quest Mega B.
6) Get your iron levels checked. Fatigue can often be the result of low iron, particularly in women because iron is lost during menstrual periods. If you have low iron, try eating more red meat and if you're vegan or vegetarian then good plant sources of iron include lentils, chickpeas, tofu, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, kale, dried apricots and quinoa. If you are struggling to get more iron into your diet then you might want to take a gentle iron supplement!
7) Gentle exercise. A day spent doing very little can leave you just as drained as a busy day because energy production slows down. Before, during or after work, try to get in some gentle exercise to kick-start energy production, get your blood pumping to your brain and stimulate the release of feel-good endorphins. This could be a brisk walk, some yoga or a dance around the kitchen. For people who already do a lot of exercise, try cutting back a little and see if this helps – you might just be overdoing things!
8) More sleep. This seems obvious, but not getting enough sleep can, for obvious reasons, cause you to feel tired. Make sure to get between 7 and 9 hours sleep each night, and have a look at our article on how to overcome stress for a better night's sleep if you struggle to get a good sleep.
If you are really worried about your fatigue levels, then make an appointment to see your GP so they can rule out any underlying conditions. If not, making small changes to eat better, sleep more and be more active go a long way to reducing fatigue and boosting those energy levels!