Surprising Energy Stealers: How to Fight Back
Feeling drained, but don’t really know why? Plenty of factors can strip you of your oomph — here’s how to get it back.
Fatigue can originate from many different factors — it can be caused by what you eat, a lack of exercise, how well (or poorly) you sleep, and how you handle stress.
How can you combat everyday energy zappers? By making better lifestyle choices, you can boost your energy and potentially increase your longevity, as stress and lack of energy affect your overall health. Even diseases that cause fatigue and shorten longevity can, in many cases, be prevented by the choices you make.
Foods That Zap Energy
Consider your diet and the effect it has on your level of blood sugar. All the carbohydrates you eat, including vegetables, fruits, grains, and table sugar, enter your blood stream as sugar. Some types of sugar are digested slowly and some are digested quickly. Knowing the difference is important because too much sugar all at once can cause your pancreas to produce too much insulin, which can cause hypoglycemia, or low levels of blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycemia, which need to be treated immediately, include:
Flooding your blood stream with too much sugar also affects longevity — diseases that have been linked to the overloading of sugar include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.
Fatigue is more than just feeling sleepy. If you have low energy that can’t be explained by other factors like lack of sleep, poor nutrition, or stress, you should talk to your doctor. Here are a few common diseases that could be causing fatigue and may impact your longevity if not discovered and treated:
- Thyroid abnormalities
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heart disease
Are You Getting Enough Sleep and Exercise?
Most people need about eight hours of shut-eye each night, and not getting enough sleep can certainly cause fatigue. In addition, a lack of sleep has also been linked to longevity-shortening diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Sleep aids can interfere with sleep by causing “rebound insomnia.” That means that, after taking them for a while, you have trouble falling asleep without them. Over-the-counter sleep aids can leave you feeling tired even after you wake up. You should also avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco if you are having trouble sleeping.
Regular exercise fights fatigue and promotes longevity. Here are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy from exercising 30 minutes a day for at least four days a week:
- Increased energy
- Reduced stress
- Reduced risk of premature death
- Improved mental health
- Reduced risk of heart disease
3 Easy Energy Boosters
Choosing healthy habits over unhealthy ones can help you decrease fatigue and better enjoy your life. Try some of these energy boosters:
- Manage stress. Stress is a normal reaction to events that happen in everyone’s life, but stress that goes on too long and is not managed properly is bad for your health. Some of the more common signs of stress include fatigue, depression, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, and a loss or gain in weight. Some healthy habits that help many people manage stress include meditation, yoga, exercise, and social activities.
- Get rid of high-sugar foods that overload your digestive system. You can do this by eliminating sugary foods like cookies, candies, and soft drinks. You can also substitute carbohydrates that cause a sugar rush with those that are absorbed more slowly. That means fewer potatoes, white rice, and white bread, and more whole grains, fruits, nuts, and green vegetables.
- Schedule regular doctor visits. See your doctor for preventive health check-ups and don’t ignore symptoms of fatigue that could be caused by a treatable or preventable disease.
Fatigue could be a warning of something that is making you sick or unhealthy — and ultimately affecting your longevity. In most cases, you can fight fatigue with a healthy diet, regular exercise, a good night’s sleep, and stress reduction. But if these energy boosters don’t help, talk to your doctor.