We all need energy for our bodies to function properly. In fact, energy is one of the seven core performance areas we’ve identified as necessary for living an optimum life.
Our bodies capture and use energy through a molecule called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), which is made during the breakdown of foods, such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
While this may sound simple, many additional factors affect our energy levels.
These factors include:
- Lifestyle factors such as:
- Eating habits
- Social life
- Nutritional factors such as:
- Alcohol consumption
- Eating processed or unhealthy foods
- Vitamin deficiency
If you are one of the many people who struggle with fatigue, or simply want to increase energy, this 3-part checklist on how to increase energy levels is perfect for you to start right away!
This checklist is divided into lifestyle, nutrition and supplement recommendations to help you increase your energy levels.
Lifestyle changes to boost energy levels
1. Practice a meditation session before bed
Before you scroll past this, yes, we know it. This suggestion usually gets an eye roll and a not-so-subtle sigh.
However, the truth is, stress and anxiety are a part and parcel of life. And can be caused by many things, including work, significant life changes and everyday responsibilities.
Consequently, stress can make it difficult to relax and may result in you not getting enough sleep.1
Like a machine that needs servicing, the mind requires moments to unwind and relax. Meditation can reduce this accumulation of anxiety and stress,2 leading to improved sleep and increased energy during the day.
Here’s a great sleepcast by Headspace that you can just listen to with your eyes closed, and your body in a cosy space.
If you still feel that meditation is not for you, do not worry. There are other ways to relax. For example, some people find reading or walking to be relaxing. Consider trying a few relaxation methods and pick what works best for you.
2. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night
One of the reasons you might not be feeling energetic throughout the day is perhaps your sleep duration. The NHS estimates that one-third of adults experience poor sleep in their lifetime.1 Poor sleep can leave you tired and groggy. Additionally, it can affect your mood too.3
The hustle culture has inadvertently glorified sleeping less and working more. But the reality is, without enough sleep, you won’t have enough energy to perform at your best.
The NHS recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.1
3. Consider cycling or walking on your lunch break
Many adults live sedentary lifestyles or remain seated for much of the workday. However, this can have a massive effect on your energy levels.
Physical activity can in fact help increase energy levels. Surprisingly, in some cases, it can be more energising than caffeine!4
If you find yourself sitting often, or it’s challenging to perform daily exercise, consider taking a walk during your lunch break or cycling to work.
4. Quit or reduce smoking
Smoking is harmful to your health for many reasons. Toxins and tar from cigarette smoke can build up in the lungs and body, resulting in reduced functional ability.5 Improper lung function can make it difficult for oxygen to be transported around the body, making you feel tired.
Quitting smoking will improve your energy levels and be better for your overall health.6
5. Have a consistent meal pattern
Inconsistent eating can affect your blood sugar levels and make you feel tired during the day.7 One study suggested that people who skipped breakfast or other meals were more likely to experience fatigue.8
By keeping a regular meal pattern and filling your diet with whole nutrient-rich foods, you may improve your energy levels.
6. Join a social group
Social interactions are fundamental in maintaining good mental health9 and may also improve your energy levels. For example, people who live in isolation are more likely to feel down during the day and have sleep disturbances,10 leading to low energy.
If you find it challenging to engage with people, consider joining a club, gym, or local exercise group. This way you can do something you enjoy while being social!
Nutrition changes to boost energy levels
1. Limit or reduce alcohol intake
Alcohol is a depressant and can have sedative effects, making you feel tired.
Excessive alcohol intake has also been associated with poor sleep.11 Therefore, by limiting alcohol intake, you may find yourself more alert during the day and having a better sleep at night.
2. Eat less processed, fried, pro-inflammatory, and fast food
Processed, fried, and pro-inflammatory foods are often convenient and tasty. However, these foods can negatively affect your energy levels in addition to your overall health.12
Consider substituting processed, fried, and pro-inflammatory foods for healthier snacks. Check out this video for healthy and fun snacking ideas!
3. Avoid sugary foods in the morning
Sugary foods can cause your blood sugar to spike. While blood sugar spikes can increase energy levels, this increase is only temporary. The rush of energy provided by a blood sugar spike is often followed by an extended period of low energy.13
If you eat sugary foods in the morning, you risk a long-lasting energy slump during the day.
4. Drink water when you’re thirsty
Dehydration can negatively impact your attentiveness, memory, and thinking ability.14
One way to ensure you’re drinking enough water is to drink water when you’re thirsty. For example, instead of reaching for soda or other beverages when feeling parched, grab a glass of water.
Supplements to boost energy levels
Iron deficiency or anaemia can make you sleepy. Consider an iron supplement or supplementing your diet with iron-rich foods, such as spinach, lean red meat, and beans.
Vitamin C can help with iron absorption.15 If you suspect you are iron deficient yet eat an iron-rich diet or already take an iron supplement, consider supplementing with vitamin C to help your body absorb the iron.
2. Vitamin B complex
Vitamin B helps your body convert food into glucose, which is then converted to ATP, providing your body energy16. At ElevateMe we test for your vitamin B (B12 and B9) levels too. If your results show that you are deficient in vitamin B, the health app may recommend a vitamin B supplement to help increase energy levels and improve other performance areas.
3. Krill oil
Krill oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).17
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients, but our bodies cannot make them independently like they can with other nutrients.18
That is why it is important we consume omega-3 fatty acids in the form of supplements.
Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids are linked to impaired brain function.19 Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids may help improve energy levels. This is because our bodies can also use omega-3 fatty acids as a source of energy!
Consider supplementing a healthy diet with a krill oil supplement to ensure your body has the omega-3 fatty acids it needs for optimum performance.
How can you track and increase energy levels with the ElevateMe Health App?
The ElevateMe health app uses 14 blood biomarkers and your answers to the lifestyle survey to track your energy levels.
These biomarkers include total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, total cholesterol: HDL, vitamin D, globulin, TSH, albumin, total protein, ferritin, vitamin B12, testosterone, and folate.
Test your blood with ElevateMe today to explore your blood biomarkers and learn how you can improve your energy levels!
Getting tired easily?
The average person spends 7.5 years of their life feeling tired. This translates to four days a month of being tired and having insufficient energy.
Take an ElevateMe blood test today to capture 21 blood test insights and track your energy, fitness, sleep, metabolism, cognition, mood, and immunity.