“While the correlation between sleep and aging is undeniable, it might surprise you to know that energy does not necessarily diminish with age or lack of sleep,” says nutritionist Julie Hammerstein. In other words, you might be tired because of little things you’re doing throughout the day.
Not sure what could be zapping your energy? Here are seven little habits that you can change easily to up your energy.
1. Breakfast without carbs
It’s a myth that if you eat carbohydrates it can zap your energy later on. In reality, your body needs carbs to produce fuel.
The key here is the kind of carbs you’re eating. Sugary cereals and white toast are not so good for you. Natural, unprocessed carbs (whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are your best sources). And if you don’t get them, your brain will steal energy that is stored in your muscles. Over time, this causes a loss in muscle mass and a slower metabolism. You’ll feel slower altogether.
2. Prescription medication
According to the CDC, some 76% of Americans 60 and older use two or more prescription drugs, and 37% use five or more. “Prescription medicine certainly has its place,” says Hammerstein, “but medication can stress the liver, which is what frees the body of toxins.” And if the liver is fatigued, so is the body. Talk to your doctor about whether this is a concern, and make sure you’re taking only medication that is essential.
Piles of stuff everywhere? Papers covering your desk? This clutter could be zapping your energy. When clutter is around it can make your brain feel overwhelmed and unable to focus, according to research from the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, and that can make you fatigued.
Best solution: declutter! Clean up a small area that’s cluttered and see how it changes your mood and energy level. Once you see the amazing effects a little order can have, you can get going on the rest of the mess!
4. Vitamin-enhanced water
New kinds of bottled drinks are everywhere you look. And few product categories have seen as much growth as the non-carbonated bottled water market.
5. Using the computer
If you’re someone who can sit in front of a computer screen for hours and surf the Web, it could be making you tired. Prolonged use of the computer can cause Computer Vision Syndrome, according to the American Optometric Association. Symptoms can include fatigue, blurred vision, and headaches. How to solve the problem? Experts suggest that for every 20 minutes of computer reading you do, look away for 20 seconds and focus on an object 20 feet away. That should reduce your eye strain. You should also make sure your computer is at the right level for your eyes.
6. Not eating your veggies
Simply put, micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and plant nutrients found in fruits and vegetables) are necessary for optimal health. Antioxidants found in veggies protect our bodies from free radical damage, which can lead to everything from accelerated aging to a lack of energy to cancer. So eat your spinach, kale, red grapes, and papaya — all vital sources of energy.