6 surprising everyday habits that could be draining your energy

What’s making you so tired?

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Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, RNutr)
@emmatalkshealth
@EmmaThornton
Ask Emma


02 September 2018

1 - Getting too stressed

Stress has a lot to answer for; if you’re feeling constantly tired and overwhelmed it could be a sign that you need to slow down and take some time out. 

Nowadays many of us have busy work lives and family schedules to contend with and this is often accompanied by constant organisation, preparation and stress too! When your body kicks into fight or flight mode (stress stations at the ready), your adrenal glands kick into action and ultimately your blood sugar levels rise in order to fuel you through these more taxing times. Unsurprisingly, soon after (or after a lot longer but with a bigger crash in the case of adrenal fatigue) we can hit rock bottom and struggle to replenish our energy levels. 

What’s the solution?

Don’t take too much on - you don’t have to be SuperPerson! Feel the power of no, focus on what you enjoy where possible, and ask for help when needed as it’s health-promoting!

2 - Taking too many meds

As we pop our supply of daily meds, we often don’t give much thought for the pressure this is potentially putting on our system. Everything we consume, including food, drinks or medication must be processed, and ultimately by our liver. Many of us will know the phenomenon of feeling more tired after a heavy meal or a night out, but actually, if your liver is working overtime to detoxify a bunch of synthetic chemicals from your medicine cabinet on a daily basis, then this can easily make us feel more sluggish too. Plus, not to mention the more direct side effects that certain medications can have - you’ll find these on the product information leaflet.

What’s the solution?

If your doctor has prescribed you medication, then of course you certainly shouldn’t stop taking it, however, why not arrange to have a medicine review once in a while to help ensure that you aren’t taking anything unnecessarily.

Fact from Ali: Your liver is a major component of your digestive system, did you know that a sluggish liver could give rise to a whole range of digestive complaints such as constipation? All of which can make us feel more sluggish overall! 

3 - Having a glass of wine of an evening

After a stressful day, many of us reach for a glass of wine; perhaps just the one glass to accompany our dinner or a couple throughout the course of the evening to help us ‘wind down’. However, did you know that those one or two glasses an evening could be impacting on your sleep and ultimately your energy levels? 

In a study with over 4000 participants, having even 1-2 glasses of wine in the evening was found to significantly ramp up the sympathetic nervous systems of those involved (this system is associated with making us feel more alert), and subsequently affected the quality of their sleep.1 Therefore, it isn’t surprising that you’re more likely to wake up feeling groggier the day after having a couple of drinks! We really want our parasympathetic, or rest and digest system, to be more dominant during the night. 

What’s the solution?

Interestingly, younger people weren’t exempt from these effects and may even be more at risk of having their sleep affected by an evening tipple – so don’t assume you’re invincible. Try to have at least 4-5 booze free nights per week so you can get some well-needed, quality rest.

4 - Succumbing to lie ins

Although you’ll be glad to hear that napping may in fact be a helpful habit, (when it’s appropriate that is), your lie ins at the weekend may not be proving quite so helpful for helping to maintain your energy levels. Having a lie in at the weekend risks upsetting your circadian rhythm and can contribute to a phenomenon called social jetlag.

Unfortunately, the tough reality is that it’s near impossible to catch up on sleep. It’s estimated that up to 2 in 3 of us suffer from social jetlag (a sure sign that you’re affected can be if you struggle to get up in the morning and heavily rely on alarms), and late nights and lies in when we are off work can make the problem a whole lot worse.

What’s the solution?

My advice is to prepare for lost sleep rather than trying to play catch up which isn’t as likely to be successful. Get good sleep hygiene routines established and try to stick to this as much as possible, especially on weeknights, to help prepare for any wobbles in your regime come the weekend.

5 - Fighting allergies

Just as with your liver health, almost anything that puts your bodily systems (be it your digestive, immune or cardiovascular systems) under pressure will most likely make us feel more tired as we expend more energy. 

Another example of this is when our immune system works overtime to fight allergies or hayfever

Fact from Dr.Jen: Everyone knows the a bout of cold or flu can leave us feeling drained, but the same can apply if your immune system is on red alert trying to fend of pesky pollen (it still sees it as in invader even though we know it’s overreacting!). 

What’s the solution?

Rather than putting up with these ill-effects and feeling tired constantly, you may want to offer your immune system some extra support with some Echinaforce. For tackling some of the symptoms of those allergies more directly, from streaming eyes to persistent sneezing, Pollinosan may also be a welcome addition to your regime. 

6 - Skipping meals

Whether it’s because you’re in too much of a rush in the morning or you’ve embarked on the latest fad diet, many of us are guilty of skipping meals. However, did you know that this is a sure way to scupper your energy levels? Having three good, square meals a day is an ideal way to keep your energy levels constant and will stop you feeling sleepy. By ‘good, square meals’, I really mean ensuring that you have sufficient proportions of complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats in there to help create a steady stream of energy levels for hours to come.

If you skip meals, you’re more likely to make poorer choices later on, eat larger portions when feeding time does come around, or fuel up on stimulants such as caffeine or sugar in a desperate bit to get through the day. All of these are a recipe for disaster in terms of maintaining your energy levels as they contribute to wobbly blood sugar (highs followed by an inevitable crash), which your energy levels will mimic – cue the tiredness setting in!

What’s the solution?  

My advice is to prioritise meal time rather than eating on the run. Aim to centre your meals (and snacks!) around lots of fresh, energy-boosting ingredients as we discuss in more detail, later in our plan. But remember counting calories isn’t the be all and end all – it’s more about the quality of the ingredients you put in when it comes to supporting your energy.

My Top Tip:

For an added energy boost, simply add a sachet of Balance Mineral Drink to your daily regime to ensure you’re hitting all of your essential minerals!

Pour one sachet of Balance Mineral Drink into a glass containing 150ml of water or milk and then stir well. The drink has a natural strawberry flavour so is both refreshing and tasty!


“Tastes lovely. Fantastic at night when you fancy a coffee.”

 

Read what other people are saying about Balance Mineral Drink.

Balance Mineral drink provides magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium and vitamin D but in more natural forms, which means it's more readily absorbed. So, why not try adding it to your daily regime to ensure you’re hitting all of your essential minerals!

 

1. https://mental.jmir.org/2018/1/e23/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16687322

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