It seems everyone's major complaint — apart from the weather, or it being Monday — is how they are "so, so tired." Ever notice that? Everywhere you go, no matter the time of day, there will be someone desperately in need of a nap. It's enough to make you wonder what bad habits can ruin your energy.
Because surely we're all doing something wrong. If not, there wouldn't be all the whining, much less epic lines at the coffee shop, or a wildly fruitful energy drink industry. So, apart from not getting enough sleep, what could we all be doing wrong?
According to nutritionist Lauren Minchen, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., it seems energy levels can be affected by a little bit of everything. "Energy dips can be caused by a variety of things, some of which are food, fluid intake, posture, sleep hygiene, stress levels, and nutrient deficiencies," she says over email." I've found most often that skipping meals, eating a diet chronically low in lean proteins, dehydration, and a high sugar intake can contribute to energy dips, especially early in the morning and then again mid-day."
It could be one of those things, or all of them. But simply knowing what can affect your energy levels is a great place to start. Once you do, you'll be able to make changes. So check out a few more energy-zapping habits below. Here's hoping you find the culprit, and can get back to feeling like your peppy self again.
1. Drinking Too Much Coffee
I know, what? How can caffeine make you tired when it exists solely to give you energy? Well, not only does it give you that not-so-nice crashy feeling as you come down off it, but it can mess with your sleep cycle as well, according to Carol Sorgen on WebMD.com. No wonder you feel so drained.
2. Eating Too Many Processed Foods
I don't know about you, but I crave sugary snacks around mid-morning, right when the day is beginning to look long and arduous. Instead of boosting my energy, however, these processed foods make everything worse. "When we eat sugary, processed foods ... our blood sugar spikes and dips," says Sarrah Hallock, Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach from GoodLooks, in an email to Bustle. Cue that strong desire to take a post-donut nap.
3. Using Your Phone At Night
If you fall asleep to the gentle glow of your phone, it could explain why you feel so tired the next day. Research from Michigan State University found that people who monitored their phones at night for work purposes — checking email, crunching late-night numbers, etc. — were more tired the following day at work, according to ScienceDaily.com.
4. Not Eating A Balanced Diet
Even if you eat salads all day every day, it doesn't necessarily mean you have a healthy, well-balanced diet — and that can mean a loss of energy. "Many people eat healthy foods, but their variety is poor, causing them to feel fatigued throughout the day," says Minchen. "For example, salads are considered the healthiest of the healthy meals, but if you're consistently eating only lettuce, veggies, some cheese and dressing, you won't feel your best."
5. Hitting The Snooze Alarm
I know, those nine extra minutes of sleep sound mighty tempting. But hitting snooze actually does more harm than good. "When you hit snooze, you disrupt your sleep cycles and you end up sleepier than if you had gotten up in the first place," said Andrea Atkins on HuffingtonPost.com.
6. Letting Yourself Get Stressed Out
Letting stress and anxiety get out of control is a pretty good way to feel tired — like, all the time. "The main reason has to do with the crash you feel after your adrenaline runs out," noted an article on CalmClinic.com. If you let yourself remain on high-alert — where you feel like you might lose it at any moment — then expect to feel super sleepy until you can get things under control.
7. Sipping On Diet Sodas
Soda is pretty sugary, so you probably grab a diet version in an attempt to be healthy. It's a noble effort, for sure. But diet soda is, in many ways, worse than the actual thing. "Diet soda is particularly bad because artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar, activating our bodies preference for sweets," Hallock says. Not only will you crave more sugar to keep going, but you'll likely have an exhausting blood sugar crash as well.
8. Not Drinking Enough Water
By now you know how important it is to drink water. And yet you still put it off because you're busy, or not thirsty, or prefer that aforementioned soda. But do make an effort to sip some more H20 thoughout the day. As Minchen says, "No, you don't have to drink a gallon, but a simple eight glasses can do wonders for energy, mental clarity, appetite, digestion, skin, everything. Water is essential."
9. Skipping Out On Breakfast
Not everyone feels hungry first thing in the morning, but skipping breakfast is a good way to mess up your energy levels for the rest of the day. That's because your energy stores get depleted by as much as 80 percent while you sleep, according to Hallock. "Without food, your body begins to conserve energy and burn fewer calories — making your metabolism take a dip."
10. Procrastinating For-ev-er
It may feel like the opposite is true, but putting things off until tomorrow is actually more tiring than just doing it now. "If you are like so many others, you have lost a huge amount of time and energy putting off something until you have no choice but to do it," said Randi Gunther, Ph.D., on Psychology Today. "That spinning without accomplishment is a huge drain."
11. Living In A Chaotic Mess
Is your apartment peaceful and tranquil? Or is it a total chaotic mess? If you answered with the latter, it could explain a lot. "Looking for lost or misplaced stuff is a huge physical drain," Sorgen said. Not to mention, the sight of clutter and junk can be kind of mentally draining.
Do any of these ring a bell? If so, it could explain your total and utter lack of energy. Making a few tweaks here and there can help boost your energy, and keep yourself going all day long.
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