Do you feel tired, like you’re constantly dragging yourself through the day? Are you struggling to find the stamina to get anything done? You might be low on energy. This can be caused by several factors, including stress, metabolism, and one thing that may come as a surprise–your blood sugar.
This article will discuss 10 reasons why you might be low on energy. We will also provide some solutions so that you can start feeling more energetic!
Why Is Energy Important?
Having energy is vital because it impacts all that you do (or don’t do) in a day. When you have more energy, we feel better, we are more productive and we thrive.
When you feel low on energy, it may be challenging to figure out why. It could be related to poor sleep, stress, or a result of something that may come as a surprise: blood sugar spikes and crashes. According to the CDC, staying in the target blood sugar range can help improve your energy and mood.
If your energy feels low, there are ways to increase your energy level naturally.
Humans are made up of what they eat. So, if you're not eating nutrient dense meals that have the vitamins and minerals that your body needs for optimal health, then it's no surprise that you're feeling fatigued! You may also be exhausted if you have too much caffeine or alcohol in your system because these substances can lead to dehydration, increased stress hormones, and headaches.
The first step is figuring out how long the fatigue has been going on and what factors might be causing it. Once identified, you can take steps to fix them!
Ways To Tell If You're Low On Energy
There are a few indicators of low energy, and the first one is how you feel. If you're feeling fatigued or having trouble concentrating, these may be signs of low energy. If you're struggling to do anything—even something as simple as reading a book—and feeling drained by the end of it, this could be a sign that your energy levels are low.
Another way to tell if you're low on energy is if you're having trouble sleeping at night. After a long day, our body naturally wants to rest and recharge itself to achieve optimal sleep and energy levels. If you find yourself awake at night and staring at the ceiling for hours before falling asleep, this could be a sign that your body needs more time to recover from stressors you encountered during the day.
Stress is a common cause of low energy. Stress comes from many different places and has many other effects on the body.
Some of these include the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which put your body into a state of emergency and can make you feel sluggish and exhausted. There are many ways to combat stress, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and quitting caffeine, which raises blood pressure and increases self-reported feelings of stress.
Lack of Sleep
One of the common causes of lack of energy is not getting enough sleep. The National Sleep Foundation states that sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder, affects an average of 18 million Americans.
If you have a sleep disorder, your body is exhausted and not at its best. You'll also feel extreme fatigue during the day.
Lack of sleep can mean that you're not giving your body the rest it needs to function correctly. Studies have shown that when people are sleep-deprived, they experience changes in their mood, cognitive abilities, and bodily functions.
One of the most common causes of low energy is a diet that isn’t providing you all the tools you need to stay energized. If you're not eating enough calories your body can’t create all the energy your body demands.
If you consume carbohydrates or sugars without pairing them with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, your body breaks the carbs and sugars down rapidly and you experience a sugarrush and then a crash, which leaves you tired and cranky. Not getting enough nutrients from your food may also contribute to low energy.
Lack of Exercise
One of the most common reasons for low energy is a lack of exercise and physical activity throughout the week. Before you close this tab, just know that exercising doesn’t have to be intense or painful to help provide you more energy.
A simple 15-20 minute walk after eating is one of the easiest ways to get your energy back up. Start taking 10-15 minutes each day to go for a walk, play your favorite tunes and dance, or do some gardening. It should be something you enjoy. While it can seem like a small thing, but it will make you feel much more energetic in the long run.
One of the most common ways people experience low energy is through dehydration. When you're feeling tired, the first thing you should do is drink more water.
It's recommended that adults drink eight glasses of water a day, or about two liters. Sometimes, increased water intake will help with your symptoms.
A significant culprit of low energy is poor posture. When you're sitting, standing, or walking around with bad posture, your body isn't aligned correctly, and the blood flow gets cut off to certain parts of your body that need it most.
Slouching can also lead to decreased oxygen levels in the brain, which will decrease concentration and focus. This can be fixed by making sure you stand up straight when sitting, trying not to slouch while you walk, and taking breaks to stretch.
Excessive Caffeine Intake
Excessive caffeine intake is a common cause of low energy. Caffeine is known to stimulate the release of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), and norepinephrine which elevates blood pressure and can increase feelings of stress.
If you're drinking three or more cups of coffee daily, you might want to consider scaling back on your consumption. Caffeine can also stay in your system for up to ten hours, meaning that it can make you feel irritable and anxious even after the initial effects wear off.
Too Much Sugar
Did you know that sugar can make you feel less energetic? High blood sugar responses to foods makes your body release insulin, a hormone that removes excess energy from the bloodstream. Even if you are not diabetic, if you are eating too many sweets or sugary foods, this could be the reason why you are feeling low on energy.
When we stabilize our blood sugar levels, we reduce the extreme highs and lows that leave us feeling exhausted, moody, and unable to think clearly. Drinking a GOOD IDEA with your meal can help to reduce post-meal crashes, sugar cravings, and needless calorie intake. GOOD IDEA has been shown to elicit a 20-30%+ reduction in post-prandial blood glucose. This allows us to have improved energy levels, enhance our metabolic health, increase our mental clarity, and help us achieve sustainable weight loss.
One of the most common reasons you might be low on energy is depression. Depression affects several lifestyle factors; it's not just feeling sad, it's a whole set of feelings that can get in the way of how you live your life. It usually starts gradually and builds up over time.
Symptoms include sleeping more or less than usual, poor appetite or overeating, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, lack of enjoyment in activities that used to be fun, and negative thoughts about yourself or others.
Underlying Medical Conditions
One of the most common reasons people are low on energy is underlying health conditions. If you're feeling really tired, it's essential to visit your doctor to rule out any medical causes. Many health conditions cause fatigue, sleep disorders, iron deficiency, underactive thyroid problems, weight gain, chronic kidney disease, and depression.
Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need prescription medications or lifestyle changes to restore your energy levels.
What To Do About It
It's crucial to find out what is causing your low energy. Low blood sugar after a sugar crash could be the culprit if you're feeling irritable and tired. It's also possible that you're lacking sleep because of a poor sleeping schedule or excessive stress.
Other things that can cause a lack of energy include a chemical imbalance, illness, or nutrient deficiency. If you're not sure what is causing your low energy, a doctor's appointment might be in order.
If it turns out that something like stress is the cause of why you feel tired all the time, there are some simple tricks to try to get back some of the peps in your step. One idea is to do something positive for yourself every day, like taking time for meditation or self-care. Another thing you can do if stress is getting the best of you is to change up your routine.
A new place at work or meeting new people can make all the difference in how often you feel energized throughout the day on an emotional level.
You may also want to invest in healthy foods or drinks on days when you're feeling mainly drained. Eating more vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables will help give your body the fuel it needs to power through tough days!
Here are 10 ways to increase your energy levels:
- Eat a balanced breakfast with protein, fiber, and a bit of healthy fat.
- Improve sleep quality and make a regular sleep routine
- Exercise or take a walk once a day
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat balanced snacks
- Avoid stimulants and caffeine if possible
- Get outside to be in the sun for 10-15 minutes a day
- Take breaks throughout the day to stretch
- Use breathing techniques
- Keep your work area organized
How To Solve Low Energy Problems
There are many different causes of low energy, so it's hard to know what the problem is. And that's why it's important to identify whether you're low on energy.
One way to find out if you're low on energy is to keep a log of your activities and how they make you feel every day for a week. This will help you figure out if maybe one or two things make you tired, like caffeine or alcohol. When you look back at the week, see if there are any patterns regarding when you felt worse than other days.
Another thing to do is adjust your diet. Most people underestimate the importance of what they eat and how it affects their health, but eating healthy foods can give you more energy.
If you've tried everything else (and made adjustments to your diet) but still feel exhausted all the time, then talk to your doctor about potential medical problems like anemia or mental disorders.
The right mix of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can help provide a sustained stream of energy.
The best way to figure out what might be making you feel chronic fatigue and sluggish is to keep a food diary for a week. Record what you eat, how often you eat, and how you feel. For some people, it's a lack of iron in the diet. For others, it's a lack of specific vitamins and minerals.
Once you identify what might be at the root of your low energy problem, the next step is to take appropriate steps to remedy it.
Author: Amanda Richardson
Updated 11/17/2022: Dr. Colleen Gulick