After being left exhausted by the ‘always on’ culture of the 21st century, many of us are now employing ‘quick fix’ solutions to enhance energy levels, but these may actually be harming our health.
1. Caffeine is king
Caffeine is a popular choice for a quick energy hit and caffeinated drinks will certainly provide a temporary boost, however they are also one of the factors sabotaging our energy levels.
While caffeine does have its health benefits, drinking it daily will slowly degrade energy over time and it can also impair mood, disturb sleep and increase blood pressure.
2. Increased exercise = increased energy
Exercise has a never-ending list of health benefits and we should all incorporate regular exercise into our weekly schedule, however daily intensive exercise may not have the intended impact on your energy levels.
Over-exercising can cause an energy imbalance between the amount of energy consumed and the amount of energy expended during exercise. Experiencing an energy deficit for prolonged time periods can cause many health issues as well as leading to injury, exhaustion and hormonal imbalance.
3. You can train yourself to get by on little sleep
We spend a third of our lives sleeping. Some may see this as a ‘waste’ when there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day, but while the ‘sleepless elite’ such as; Margaret Thatcher, Martha Stewart and designer Tom Ford claim to slumber for four hours or less a night, it’s a common myth that we can learn to get by on little sleep with no negative side effects.
The time we spend asleep should not be deemed a ‘waste’, it’s during this valuable down-time that our body repairs cells and creates new ones so that we can run at an optimum level. It’s also vital for mental and physical health and for our quality of life.
In fact, a lack of sleep for an extended period of time can have an adverse effect, often being associated with reduced concentration and energy levels as well as an increased risk of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
4. Detox diets improve energy levels
Detox diets are generally short-term dietary interventions designed to eliminate ‘toxic waste’ from your body in order to stay healthy and they’re often touted as energy-boosting.
While ‘detoxing’ encourages positive habits such as eating more fruits and vegetables, there is no scientific evidence to support their effectiveness and these low-calorie diets can often make you feel more tired and can even cause nutritional deficiencies.
Aside from any particular medical condition, lifestyle habits may be to blame for low energy levels and high levels of fatigue. Frequently, we can feel low in energy or generally sluggish if we are lacking in key nutrients that are either underrepresented in our diets or which are difficult to absorb from food sources.
For the vast majority of people, an active lifestyle and a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to protect health and maintain natural energy levels. However, if you have a restricted diet or suffer from a condition that effects nutrient absorption, then you may need to consider supplementation of key nutrients.