I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling 22. I should be feeling 22 because…well, I am 22. Are you tired 24/7 and feel like you’re ready for a nap 30 minutes after you wake up for the day? Same here. Energy and liveliness are one in the same. Regardless of your age, your energy levels impact all aspects of your life. When your energy is zapped, so is your vibrant zest and perhaps, your passions too.
You know you have that drive and fire in you but it’s been on vacation for quite some time. It’s frustrating, we know. Hello….energy, anyone home? We need you to take on the world, follow our dreams, and unfortunately, to check off those pesky tasks on our to-do list. If you feel like you’re lagging throughout the day, check out some of these reasons and solutions. These small changes will make a difference.
This one may seem obvious but it’s incredibly important. Just because our eyes are closed and we’re having nightmares about snakes and such, doesn’t mean our insides are taking a snooze too. While we sleep our body deals with this little thing called human growth hormone, a protein essential for brain function. It also affects how our body collects and stores fat. When our sleep schedule is off or we don’t get enough quality zzz’s, our growth hormone is affected and this leads to fatigue and lack of strength and stamina.
Solution: Make sleep a priority. Yes, that’s easier said than done. Invest in an ancient alarm clock and plug your phone in across the room so you won’t be distracted by Ellen videos on Facebook. Remind yourself how consistent, quality sleep fixes many, many problems.
2. Not enough vitamin B
There are 8 B vitamins with each one important and different. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get enough from our food intake. If you’re low in vitamin B this might be why you have no energy. Lisa Cimperman, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says “Fatigue is one of the first signs of B12 deficiency.” Basically, B12 is a vitamin your body needs to make red blood cells which carry oxygen to your organs. When there’s not enough B12, there’s not enough oxygen in your cells so you will feel fatigued no matter how much you sleep. Science man. (Feeling super tired now.)
Solution: If you eat a balanced diet you will likely get all 8 B Vitamins. Try incorporating many of these foods in your diet: dark leafy vegetables, almonds, pecans, chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt, whole wheat, spinach, bananas, potatoes, salmon, avocados, shellfish, and red meat.
3. Too much sugar
If your daily diet includes food with ingredients that end in an -ose, like glucose, dextrose, maltose, and sucrose, you’re definitely going to be sluggish. Sugar majorly messes with energy levels. The constant increase and decrease in your blood sugar levels is what leads to that lethargic and sleepy state-and even cravings. Thus, the forever-blah- cycle begins again.
Solution: Eat less sugar. *Cries*. Note, I didn’t say cut out sugar completely. Let’s not be unrealistic here! Indulging in your favorite treats in moderation is not going to hurt. But let us remember that food is fuel to take on the day and should NOT make us feel tired after we eat it.
4. Not enough H20
Sometimes lack of energy can be caused by dehydration. Water is obviously crucial to living but most people don’t realize exactly how important it is. Drink enough water and get enough sleep and your world will brighten, trust me. Our body and brain can not function at it’s prime if we are not giving them what they crave the most. Not only can water give you the energy you need, it can be the (very cheap) cure for common conditions like headaches, joint pain, digestion issues, and more.
Solution: Challenge yourself to drink a glass of water immediately upon waking up and refill your water bottle throughout the day. Instead of reaching for more coffee during that afternoon slump, come back to life with a tall, ice-cold glass of water. If you consistently stay hydrated, you will notice a difference in all areas-not just your energy level.
5. You are not moving enough
When you have zero energy, moving your body from the couch to the refrigerator and back feels like a 5K. Exercising might feel impossible in this state but moving your body every day actually boosts your energy levels. If you’re wondering the science behind this, Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist, has you covered. “If a sedentary individual begins an exercise program it will enhance the blood flow carrying oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue improving their ability to produce more energy (the chemical adenosine triphosphate.”
Solution: Next time you have the urge to nap, go for a simple walk around the block instead. Fighting that urge to zzzz is tough but you will feel remarkably better after walking versus napping. Find an activity you actually enjoy that gets you moving. Move with your friends. Sign up for a yoga studio. Join a kickball team. You don’t have to torture yourself at the gym to reap the benefits!
6. Not enough iron/too much iron
Iron deficiency is common in vegetarians, vegans, people with digestive issues or thyroid problems, women on birth control and those with heavy periods. It can also be heredity. Low iron can lead to anemia and make you feel super fatigued. Taking too much iron supplements can also leave you feeling zapped. It’s important to find a balance.
Solution: Incorporate foods with iron in your diet such as red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, spinach, beans, and iron-fortified bread. If you must take an iron supplement, it’s best to talk to a doctor to know how much you should take.
Having the energy to enjoy and make the most out of this life is so important. These are just some common reasons and solutions for your sluggishness. Regardless of your age, you deserve to feel alive! We hope you soon have the energy to take on the world!