Have you ever woke up and an hour later, you’re ready to go back to bed? At times, I have felt that way and wondered why. After all, sleep should be refreshing, but maybe that’s not enough to give me the energy I need. So, where does energy come from? Quite simply, burning calories. But, why do we sometimes feel tired even when we’re getting plenty of calories? Well, a variety of brain chemicals and hormones may affect your energy levels. In addition, certain organ systems influence metabolism and and alertness. And third, nutritional deficiencies can affect energy production. Let’s learn about these and how to get more energy naturally.
First, check these things…
There are some obvious culprits when it comes to a lack of energy. But, we don’t always think of them. I mentioned sleep and we know we should get seven to nine hours of sleep. But, the quality of sleep matters, too. The best time to fall asleep is between 8 and 10:30pm. After that, your natural body rhythm makes it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep, and enter deep, refreshing, sleep.
Get enough water and food
Dehydration will make you feel tired, faint, and even a bit dizzy. When we’re busy taking care of kids, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated. One way to remind yourself is to drink a glass every time you use the bathroom. Another way is to keep a special water bottle nearby and take frequent drinks. If you don’t like the taste of water, drop a few slices of lemon, lime, or cucumber in it.
Skipping meals can leave you with low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. We moms are notorious for skipping breakfast or skipping lunch. I’ve done it and paid the price a few hours later. Symptoms of low blood sugar can include feeling tired, faint, and dizzy, just like dehydration. Don’t skip meals. Instead, try eating smaller meals.
How to get more energy through dietary choices
Have you ever wondered why you feel sleepy after meals? At Thanksgiving, we like to blame the turkey. However, it’s not the turkey that makes you sleepy, it’s all the starches. This is because all those high glycemic foods are easy for your body to break down. Then, the carbohydrates flood your body. According to Sleep.org, the extra carbs cause your brain to absorb more tryptophan, which leads to more serotonin. Then serotonin leads to melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy. If you are eating lots of carbs late in the day, this effect is even more pronounced. That’s because the body naturally starts releasing more melatonin after 3pm. Then, it gradually increases into the wee hours of the morning before dropping off steeply again.
Action Step: Eat more fats
Fats are a far more efficient energy source than carbohydrates, so eat more of them! The keto diet isn’t for everyone and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for children. But, substituting eggs for bagels is one way of how to get more energy naturally. This is because your body burns fats more slowly and as they burn, fats release more energy calories than carbs.
Also, when you eat more fat instead of carbs, your body absorbs more fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, E, D, and K. These vitamins help your immune system, fight inflammation, and much more. In addition, all your cell membranes are made of fats (including your brain cells), so when you get more fat, your cells are healthier. Healthier cells=healthier you.
Action Step: Eat more vegetables and protein
Sometimes we feel tired and lethargic because we have nutritional deficiencies. If we have low iron levels, we can feel tired. Then, we need to eat more grass fed beef, eggs, chicken, and other meats and organs. But, meat is not the only source! Properly soaked dried beans, leafy greens, nuts, and dried fruit are also great sources.
A B-vitamin deficiency is another reason for feeling tired and run down. B-vitamins are made in your gut and you can also get them from whole grains, brewer’s yeast, eggs, and liver. Small amounts are found in other whole food sources as well. But, the bacteria that make B vitamins in your gut need guess what?–milk and fat to grow.
Other nutrients that can contribute to low energy levels are deficiencies in magnesium and zinc. To make sure you get enough of these, eat more leafy greens and protein-rich foods! In fact, many of the best foods for nutrient deficiencies are super foods. Check out the super food series on my podcast, Crunchy Christian Podcast!
How to get more energy through herbs
Even though you might choose to use herbs, diet is always the foundation of any natural health regimen. That’s because herbs and diet work together. After all, herbs are just another type of food, really. Once you make changes to your diet, then you can add in a few herbs to boost your energy levels. These are plants that nourish and strengthen your body, not overwork it so that it only seems to have more energy. These are just a few.
- American Ginseng Root
- Ashwagandha Root
- Astragalus Root
- Burdock Root
- Dandelion Root
- Rhodiola Root
- Panax Ginseng Root
These herbs can be used in small amounts over a longer period of time. Some of them have contraindications, especially Panax Ginseng, so please do your due diligence in educating yourself before trying these.
Some serious considerations
Once you’ve tried these helps for how to get more energy naturally, assess your energy levels. If you are still experiencing a lot of fatigue, consider the possibility that something more serious may be going on. These other possibilities include adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, and even cancer. All of the suggestions here will still help, but you might consider getting medical advice.