Getting your seven hours' shut-eye at night but still having slumps during the day? Here's what might be sapping your energy
You go to bed early to get your RDA of sleep, but you’re still experiencing energy slumps during the day. What’s going on? We reveal what’s making you so tired – and how to fix it…
1. YOU’RE NOT SLEEPING AS WELL AS YOU THINK
If you’re struggling to wake up when the alarm goes off and feel groggy, it’s a sure sign something’s up. There’s a common type of insomnia known as non-restorative sleep, where your sleep is shallow, disrupted and just doesn’t refresh you.
‘Our sleeping environment plays a crucial role in getting a good night’s sleep,’ says Professor Colin Espie, founder of sleepio.com. Make sure your bedroom’s 16-19C, dark and quiet. Invest in earplugs and a sleeping mask if necessary.
2. YOU’VE HAD TOO MUCH CAFFEINE
Scientists think that when you’re used to having caffeine, going without it for a few hours puts you into withdrawal and makes you feel sluggish – that’s why having your afternoon cuppa perks you up again. But you’re likely to slump once the effects wear off.
Yes, you could make a brew. But if you could wean yourself off caffeine altogether, you wouldn’t need that kick. Try switching to refreshing herbal teas instead – give it a few days and you should find your energy levels steady.
3. YOU’RE DEHYDRATED
If you’re not drinking enough fluid, your circulation can become sluggish, leaving you lethargic. Other signs can include headaches and constipation.
Drink up! Keep a litre bottle of water with you and sip throughout the day. Or drink a glass of water on the hour. Bored of plain water? Flavour it with a squeeze of lemon.
4. YOU’RE UNDER-EXERCISING
Working out may be the last thing you feel like doing, but getting active for just 10 minutes a day could help. Exercise wakes up your whole body, boosts your circulation and triggers the release of feel-good hormone serotonin.
Starting the day with a workout will give you the energy to keep going – and help you sleep better that night. And getting outside for a 10-minute walk will shake off daytime tiredness, research shows.
5. YOU’RE STRESSED
Stress triggers the adrenal glands to release hormones, including cortisol, which gives you energy to deal with challenges. ‘But long-term stress exhausts adrenal glands, leading to fatigue,’ says women’s health expert Dr Christiane Northrup.
Offset stress with meditation (try Headspace app, free). ‘The herb Siberian ginseng can help boost your energy,’ says Christiane. Try Holland & Barrett Siberian Ginseng, £15.29 for 100 tablets.
6. YOU’RE LOW ON IRON
This mineral produces a substance that carries oxygen around your body. If you’re lacking in iron, you’ll feel weak and tired because your body has to work harder to generate energy. Heavy periods are another common cause of low iron.
Red meat is packed with iron, so include it in your diet twice a week. Other good sources are green leafy veg, dried apricots and beans. See your doctor if you’re still feeling tired after trying this – you might need iron supplements.
7. YOU’RE EATING HIGH-GI CARBS
‘High-GI carbohydrates – like white bread, mashed potato and biscuits – cause blood sugar to soar,’ says women’s health expert Dr Marilyn Glenville. ‘It then crashes quickly, making you feel tired and hungry.’
‘For steady energy levels, snack little and often on a combination of protein and carbs,’ says Marilyn. Try an oatcake with nut butter, or an apple with a handful of nuts.
THREE INSTANT ENERGY BOOSTERS
Viridian Qi-Ribose, £24.95/180g (viridian-nutrition.com), contains nutrients that work directly on the body’s energy production cells.
Neal’s Yard Remedies Aromatherapy Blend Vitality, £9.70/10ml (nealsyardremedies.com), is made up of invigorating essential oils. Sprinkle on a tissue and sniff for a quick lift.
Holland & Barrett Timed Release Busy B Complex with Vitamin C Caplets, £8.49/30 caplets (hollandandbarrett.com), has energy nutrients for hectic times.