Daily Life

4 Daily Habits That May Be Secretly Draining Your Energy Levels

Tired of feeling tired? Read this.

By: Nicole Teitler

The days of physically showing up to an office and navigating through the afternoon slump may be a thing from a pre-pandemic era, but that crash of energy still hits us like a tidal wave from time to time. Only now, we experience it at home. So, why do many of us still feel bouts of low energy when our lives seem less physically demanding? The cause could come down to your daily habits.

If You Ask Yourself “Why Am I So Tired All The Time” Stop These 4 Daily Habits

#1 Drinking Too Much Caffeine

Are you one of those people who wake up and the first thing on your to-do list is that aromatic pot of coffee? You’re not alone. Coffee is the second most consumed beverage in the world, only second to water.  And that cup of Joe is a beautiful thing, in moderation, because it provides us an, oftentimes, much needed energy boost. But caffeine, which is also found in energy drinks, teas, sodas, and even dark chocolate, is a tricky thing — it can actually be the cause for low energy. 

Studies explain it only takes 45 minutes for caffeine to be absorbed into our body, which explains the rapid boost in energy. But a special, or not so special, thing happens when we have the stimulant too late in the day. We can crash.

A chemical in our brain called adenosine affects our sleep-wake cycle, and it binds to receptors in our brains that prepare us for sleep. However, when caffeine is present in our bodies, the adenosine receptors bind to them instead, which tricks the brain and causes a spike in energy. Then, once the caffeine wears off, adenosine can connect to the receptors and thus a sudden depletion in our energy levels. 

The Fix

  • Drink more water and add some flavor with a slash of freshly squeezed lemon juice if needed. 
  • Stop all caffeine consumption at least 6 hours before sleep.
  • If you’re craving a hot beverage, try sipping on herbal tea instead. 

#2 Overdosing on Screentime

Do you ever find yourself scrolling through social media right before bed? Unfortunately, that seemingly harmless little habit could be the cause of low energy. Screens — from our smartphones to our TVs — suppress the production of melatonin (aka the hormone that’s responsible for helping us feel tired) because they emit something called blue light. And that pesky light can decrease the amount of time we spend in REM sleep, a period of rest critical for our cognitive function. 

Beyond our beds, staring at a screen causes eye strain. Because our eyes work harder to keep tiny pixels in focus, they then dry out and become tired. Ever notice how you might blink less when you’re looking at your phone? Luckily, aside from limiting screen time, there are some other ways to help those eyes out.

The Fix

  • Take frequent breaks from screentime use if you work on a computer all day. 
  • Decrease nighttime computer, phone, tablet, and TV use. 
  • If you must use electronics before bed, consider blue light blocking glasses or set your phone to night-mode. 

#3 Eating Processed Foods

Food is supposed to fuel our body and give us energy, so we avoid being hangry all the time. But not all food is created equal. As a matter of fact, certain ones drain the energy right out of us.  The culprit is oftentimes processed foods. They contain fewer nutrients, which means less energy for our body. So, while they provide a temporary spike in energy, they end up causing low energy later. 

The first thing people think of when they hear the word “processed” is “fast foods,” which is true, but it’s also refined sugars. When a food has too much sugar, it’s oftentimes missing the necessary fiber.  And more sugar leads to a craving for more sugar later on. Hence, a vicious cycle. 

What you really need for that boost of energy are vitamin nutrient foods.

The Fix

  • Instead of cereal, try rolled oats with berries. 
  • Skip the white rice and have a sweet potato or quinoa.
  • Ditch the cookie for a piece of 70% or darker unsweetened dark chocolate with a handful of almonds. 
  • Swap out the ranch dressing for hummus. 
  • Say adios to chips and grab some edamame or popcorn. 

#4 Creating Unnecessary Stress

Have you heard about the stress hormone we love to hate, cortisol? It has numerous functions in the body and plays a role in immune system regulation, metabolism, our inflammatory response, and it’s most commonly known for the role it plays in our body’s stress response. 

And while we need a certain amount of cortisol, it’s when we’re chronically stressed that it may become problematic. Today, it seems we’re stressed all the time — work, social media, relationships, a pandemic. And, when our cortisol levels are too high, we may notice that bout of mid-day low energy

In the broader sense of the term, cutting out negative people or even negative ideas from our lives can drastically improve our mood, which improves our energy. But in the nitty-gritty sense, when you literally clean up your home or office, you can physically create more energy. Less stuff means more space, which looks neater and creates a sense of openness.

The Fix

  • Declutter your workspace. 
  • Set healthy boundaries in all aspects of your life. 
  • Do more things that make you happy. 
  • Sweat it out with a stress-busting HIIT workout. 
  • Or Zen it out with a mindful meditation. 

Everything In Moderation

Don’t get us wrong. We love our coffee, social media, and the occasional sweet treat. And cutting out any of these things entirely won’t magically change our energy levels. But when we make small adjustments to our day, we can moderately reduce those bouts of low energy. Everything in moderation!