Energy. It’s something we all can’t seem to get enough of, no matter how much sleep we get.
Why is this? To put it point blank, you should know that long-term lack of energy is not natural. Our bodies are meant to be thriving and full of energy, so lack of it is usually due to us not giving our bodies something it needs. (Much of this goes back to nature, which I’ll get into below).
In addition, I want to share some tips with you on how to actually increase your energy levels, aside from “getting enough sleep.” You’ll see that sleep in number one on the list, but I’m going to tell you how to get quality sleep, something that is often left out of sleep recommendations.
I’m also going to share little-known factors that can be draining your energy that are rarely mentioned, so let’s hop in.
How to Have More Energy Every Day
1. Get QUALITY Sleep
As a society, it’s not a stretch to say we’re chronically sleep deprived. Have you ever gotten “7-8 hours,” yet woke up still feeling groggy and had a hard time getting out of bed?
This is because being IN bed and getting actual, quality sleep are two very different things. Here are some little-known tricks that can help you sleep deeply, so you can wake up feeling restored:
Get rid of ALL light sources. This one is crucial – the tiniest amount of light can signal to our bodies to stop producing melatonin, the sleep hormone. And by “tiny,” I mean even the light from the numbers on an alarm clock or the shimmer of a streetlight outside. Be sure to block out all outside and window light with blackout curtains, as well as turn off all electronics in the room. ALSO, be sure to stop using electronics at least an hour before bed, since the blue light from devices also stops melatonin production.
Try magnesium or a multi-mineral supplement. Many of us are also extremely deficient in essential minerals, namely magnesium. Minerals help regulate our nervous system, and if it isn’t functioning properly due to deficiencies, can keep us wired at night. Take magnesium before bed, and a multi-mineral supplement anytime during the day.
2. Reduce Stress + Add Adaptogens
Stress of any kind can severely deplete our energy levels. After all, we’ve probably all experienced the exhaustion that follows an extremely stressful situation!
Reducing stress should be thought of as less of a “chore” or “thing you have to do,” than a lifestyle. It’s not natural for humans to experience chronic stress day-in and day-out from every direction in our modern society, so we should try to mitigate it as much as possible to lead a life we are actually enjoying living in. Try these techniques daily to start:
Get out in nature. Even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes daily, go for a walk outside. Studies show that just 15 minutes of “nature” exposure reduces our cortisol (stress hormone) levels significantly. Also keep in mind that humans are a product of the natural world – this is WHY we see benefits from being outside – and begin to think of nature as your best friend, rather than something you “experience” once in a blue moon. If possible, go barefoot in the grass when you have a chance as well, as studies have shown the electrical current from the earth helps reduce inflammation and lower stress levels, among other amazing health benefits. Check out the research on this: you’ll be amazed.
Try adaptogens. Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help your body become more resilient to, and adapt to stress. In essence, it helps create a barrier between “you” and the overwhelming feeling of stress, so your body isn’t bombarded with the damaging side effects of stress. These are excellent herbs to take for the long-haul, every day, and they typically take a week or so to begin having an effect. Adaptogens to try:
• Rhodiola rosea
• Siberian Ginseng
And p.s.: they have also been shown to increase performance. Rhodiola in particular was commonly used by athletes in the Russian Olympics for its effects.
3. Address Any Nutrient Deficiencies
This is another big one. Any nutrient deficiency can potentially cause fatigue, so if you’ve been low energy for awhile, get a blood panel done to make sure your levels are good. I will again bring up the idea of taking a multi-mineral supplement, as our soils are severely depleted of minerals, which causes our food to be lacking in them. In addition, if you like seaweed, you should indulge in it several times a week, as it’s extremely rich in a ton of minerals!
4. Kick Sugar
Sugar has been proven to cause tiredness due to its roller-coaster effect on blood sugar levels. It has also been classified as a literal poison in recent years for its extremely negative effects on health. Keep in mind we’re not talking about natural sugars found in whole fruits, but those found in processed foods. Kick the foods below and watch your energy soar:
• Processed grains, flours, breads, muffins, cookies, pancakes, granola bars, protein bars, rolls, donuts, etc …
• Fruit juices and canned fruits
• Candy and ice cream
• Commercial milk, yogurt, and other dairy products (the added hormones and antibiotics transfer to you and can wreak havoc on your hormones)
Instead, focus on whole foods in their natural state (organic meats, wild fish, veggies, nuts and seeds, whole fruits, non-dairy unsweetened coconut or cashew yogurt, virgin olive and coconut oil, leafy greens) and when you have a sweet tooth, try baking with almond or coconut flours, or eating a square of dark chocolate.
5. Breathe Properly (Most People Don’t)
Observe your breath right now. Chances are you weren’t taking deep, steady breaths that expended your belly – your were most likely breathing shallowly into your chest area.
This is a common issue today, as chronic stress activates the part of our nervous system that causes us to breathe quickly and shallowly (this gets a little complicated so we’ll leave it at that).
In reality, we should be taking full, deep breaths that expand the upper part of our bellies, as this indicates we are fully expanding our lungs with fresh oxygen. When we aren’t doing this and getting enough oxygen, however, we deprive our bodies of, well, life … and so we get tired.
For several minutes per day, sit comfortably in a chain, spine straight. Put your hand on your belly. Fully exhale, pushing out all the air in your lungs (your stomach should fall inward). Now, inhale deep into your belly (not chest) and make sure you feel your stomach expanding outward. Increase the amount of time you do this per day, and try to do it whenever you’re feeling drowsy.
6. Get Enough Sun
Sunlight is essential for producing vitamin D from the cholesterol beneath our skin (this is why you also need healthy fats). Lack of vitamin D is rampant in our culture due to sun avoidance, and since it is responsible for some 400+ enzyme reactions in our body, not getting enough causes serious health problems, including chronic fatigue.
Aim to get at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight on your skin per day. If it’s winter, try to get it during midday; if it’s summer, try mid-morning.
At the end of the day, not having enough energy is not natural. Our bodies are always striving toward health and homeostasis (which includes having sufficient energy), so it is usually something we are doing that is interfering with our natural state. By interfering, I mean: not getting enough nutrients, eating bad food, not getting sun, not breathing properly, not getting time in nature, and, basically, getting too far away from nature in general.
Let me know how these things have worked for you after a couple weeks! I look forward to it!
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