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Top 5 Energy Sappers

Wednesday February 20, 2019
Top 5 Energy Sappers

Attempting to balance a social life, family commitments and a demanding job may be exhausting for many. With the stresses of modern-day living, it comes to no surprise that 1 in 5 GP consultations are related to tiredness and fatigue.

Struggling to get through the day? Energy burnout is linked to a variety of nutritional and lifestyle factors. Discover the most common energy drainers, and ways to combat the fatigue.


Energy Killer 1: Lack of Sleep
Irregular sleeping patterns or sleep deprivation can drain your energy levels and impair your ability to perform demanding tasks2. If you wake up feeling restless or suffer from daytime drowsiness, you may want to consider addressing your sleep habits. Inconsistent sleeping patterns disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm. 
Energy Fix 1: Making changes to your sleep environment can improve sleep quality. Ensure that the bedroom is well-ventilated, and at a comfortable temperature. Block out external noise, lights, or any disturbances that can affect your sleep. Establish a regular sleeping routine to keep your circadian rhythm regulated. 


Energy Killer 2: Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
Maintaining stable energy levels throughout the day is critical. Foods that are rich in sugars and refined carbohydrates are likely to cause an energy imbalance. These food sources cause a spike in energy levels due to increased blood glucose and insulin, often rapidly followed by an energy slump. Unstable blood sugar levels often contribute to mood swings, tiredness, and food cravings.
Energy Fix 2: To stabilise blood glucose levels, avoid consuming sugary snacks, beverages, and processed carbohydrates. Instead, focus on consuming carbohydrate sources that are rich in fibre, which will help maintain your energy levels throughout the day. 


Energy Killer 3: Overreliance on Technology
Technology has significantly changed the landscape of our lives. However, with the convenience of living in a digital world comes negative health consequences. How can a dependency on technology affect your energy levels? Devices such as smartphones, tablets, and TVs emit electromagnetic fields that can affect our body’s natural rhythms. 
The average person checks their phone over 10,000 times a year. Overexposure to mobile phones may affect our sleep quality, according to research3. It was observed that high mobile phone usage resulted in reduced serum melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that is produced to regulate sleep.  
Energy Fix 3: A digital detox can benefit your sleep and energy levels. Switching off laptops, tablets and mobile phones half an hour before bed time can help improve sleep quality.  


Energy Killer 4: Inactivity and Overactivity
An inactive lifestyle can significantly increase tiredness and feelings of low energy4. Sedentary lifestyles can trap you into a vicious cycle of constant fatigue. On the other hand, vigorous activity can also drain the body of energy. Intensifying your workouts or increasing exercise duration may also contribute to depleted energy stores.

Energy Fix 4: Stick to regular moderate physical activity to maintain your energy levels. Try to increase your activity throughout the day by parking further away from your workplace, walking on your lunch break, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. 


Energy Killer 5: Mental and Emotional Stress
Stressful situations and relationships can take a toll on your energy levels, through a variety of mechanisms. Stress stimulates the production of a hormone called cortisol, which has been shown to temporarily increase energy production. Although cortisol release is beneficial when we are under pressure, chronic production of cortisol may lead to fatigue and mood swings.

Energy Fix 5: Practicing moderate exercise, meditation, or building positive relationships are great coping mechanisms to deal with chronic stress and anxiety. Exercise stimulates the release of ‘feel-good’ hormones, or endorphins, that can help relieve symptoms of stress. 

Author: Salma Dawood is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Human Nutrition.


1)      PCP Market Research Survey, National Hydration Council, Available at:
2)      M. Engle-Friedman, The effects of sleep loss on capacity and effort. Sleep Science Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2014, Pages 213-224
3)      Shrivastava A, Saxena Y. Effect of mobile usage on serum melatonin levels among medical students. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2014 Oct-Dec;58(4):395-9.
4)      Laura D. Ellingson; Alexa E. Kuffel; Nathan J. Vack; Dane B. Cook, Active and Sedentary Behaviors Influence Feelings of Energy and Fatigue in Women, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 46(1):192–200, Jan 2014

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Nutrition News and ViewsEnergy, Fatigue


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