How are your energy levels throughout the day? Do you wake up with what you think is enough energy to tackle everything that day, and end up fizzling out right after lunch? Do you sleep all night, only to wake up with zero gumption, as if you hadn’t slept a wink? Are your energy levels unsteady, zooming up, and plummeting back down like a roller coaster?
No matter which scenario you identify with, energy (mostly lack thereof) is a HUGE topic for everyone!
The thing is, we all need the energy to be able to handle everything that is coming at us day in and day out.
In addition to energy, we need to be able to focus, and a lack of energy seems to correlate with not being focused.
So the question is, how can energy be improved? How can you get your energy to an optimal level so you feel like you can live the life you want to live, and be as active and focused as you need to be?
WHAT DOES ENERGY MEAN TO YOU?
To answer this question, first ask yourself, What does energy mean to you?
Do you want to be awake at work so you can stay alert and on track? Do you want to focus and a longer attention span when you’re working at your computer?
Do you want to be better at the gym (are you too tired to work out)? Do you want to be able to play with your kids or grandkids?
Would you like to take an active vacation—go hiking, surfing, swimming, or on safari…or whatever you want to do?
Energy is different to each individual, so you need to determine what you need energy for… and it can definitely be for more than one category like we mentioned above!
Do you drink coffee, energy drinks, or anything caffeinated to get energy? It is a source of energy, but your body isn’t deficient in caffeine. Your lack of energy isn’t because you don’t have enough caffeine; rather, the caffeine is like putting a band-aid on the problem.
There is a root cause for your energy drought. If you’re using an artificial source of energy each day, you won’t find the true root of what’s going to improve your energy long term.
You have neurotransmitters inside your brain. These send signals from one brain cell to the next, from the brain to the body, and vice versa. One neurotransmitter, for example, is known as dopamine.
Dopamine is responsible for things like focus, attention span, motivation, and drive. It’s a caffeine-free energy source! The problem is, a lot of people have low dopamine levels. So looking at supplemental and nutritional ways to increase dopamine in your body is a natural solution.
It’s not healthy to be medicating yourself with caffeine all day, every day. Plus, a lot of people feel like crap on caffeine! It can also affect your sleep at night.
This is not to say that a normal amount of caffeine is also bad for you. One or two cups of coffee per day is fine, but you shouldn’t rely on it for energy.
To feel your best, you need to stick with a natural solution.
A NATURAL SOLUTION
How does your body manufacture dopamine? There are two main amino acids, l-tyrosine, and phenylalanine, that are the raw materials used in building dopamine, which gives you motivation, drive, and attention span.
But those two elements don’t work alone. They also need assistance from folic acid, vitamins B & C, and magnesium to morph themselves into dopamine.
This begs the questions: How much l-tyrosine are you getting per day? How much folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B or magnesium do you take in every day?
The reason these questions are important is that these building blocks will determine your body’s natural production of energy.
Low energy is very common… but this does not mean it’s normal! You shouldn’t crash at 3:00 in the afternoon.
Normal, healthy bodies should have plenty of steady energy throughout the day.
SPOTLIGHT ON MAGNESIUM
It would be so great if we could have a miracle pill that fixes everything, wouldn’t it? We don’t actually have one of those yet, but magnesium is as close as they come to a miracle solution.
Your body needs magnesium for so many functions. For example, in resistance training, in order for you to burn the energy you need, to actually turn a carbohydrate into a form of physical energy, requires magnesium at six different steps in the process.
That bears repeating: Magnesium is required at six different conversion steps so you can turn a carb into a form of energy!
If you’re not getting enough magnesium, you’ve got low energy… constantly!
Another factor is sleep.
How well did you sleep last night? Do you even remember the last time you got a really good night’s sleep…and quality sleep at that?
Sleep is so important for restoring the body’s resources and performing clean-up processes.
For example, while we are awake, neurons in the brain produce adenosine, a by-product of the cells’ activities.
“The build-up of adenosine in the brain is thought to be one factor that leads to our perception of being tired. (Incidentally, this feeling is counteracted by the use of caffeine, which blocks the actions of adenosine in the brain and keeps us alert.)
Scientists think that this build-up of adenosine during wakefulness may promote the ‘drive to sleep.’
As long as we are awake, adenosine accumulates and remains high. During sleep, the body has a chance to clear adenosine from the system, and, as a result, we feel more alert when we wake.”
It’s a known fact that most of us don’t get enough sleep, but if this trend continues, there are going to be consequences, both long and short term.
Your lack of energy won’t be the only negative effect of poor sleep; you could also be at risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more.
And it’s not just affecting you… what if at work, your productivity and efficiency are worse because of sleep deprivation? Are you making more mistakes, or prone to accidents? That’s not fair to your employer. What if you were to cause a traffic accident because you were too drowsy to be driving? How awful would that be?
We wrote a great article on The Top 3 Reasons People Fail to Sleep Well. Learn how to get better sleep and in turn, improve your energy!
Of course we are not medical experts, and do not claim to be, so please consult with your doctor or medical professional before following any of our advice.