Low energy plagues us all. It prevents us from being productive, both at work and at home. It can stop us from enjoying activities like exercising, eating well, participating in hobbies and so much more. Chronically low energy levels can be extremely frustrating and annoying. How do you muster up the energy to do the basics? How can you have enough energy, after the basics, to do the things that spark joy in your life? The simple answer is to look out for and avoid energy vampires.
Energy vampires - things that literally suck the energy out of us - are all around, embedded in our day-to- day, and decreasing our energy bars minute by minute. Here are 3 energy vampires you need to do something about:
Your cell phone
One of the century’s greatest technological advancements, along with the internet, allows us to access information at the tip of our fingers. With the help of the internet, we can immerse ourselves into a different world - soaking up an endless amount of information and indulging in the content we wouldn’t naturally be inclined to consume. This is by far the one item that most people would never leave the house without. It can guide our way, connect us to friends and family, and keep us entertained. Just like a phone’s battery, our energy bars decrease the more we use it. And just like how it needs to be recharged, we also need to “plug into” something else so we can get energized.
Cell phones, with their blue light, can suppress natural melatonin production, especially if used right before bed. Melatonin is a hormone that helps with falling asleep and staying asleep. Too much screen time – from TV, laptops, and phones – stops the natural release of melatonin, leaving you tossing and turning at night. One of the best things you can do for your sleep is to take Jamieson’s Melatonin to help you fall asleep and avoid using your phone at least 30 minutes before bed!
Your 5th cup of coffee
Seems counterintuitive, right? A drink, used for centuries, that’s been touted, advertised, and marketed as an energy boost can decrease energy levels. Coffee naturally contains caffeine, which works on receptors that are linked to sleepiness and drowsiness.1 It works on the brain, by blocking these receptors and providing a jolt of alertness and focus.1 But it’s important to note that coffee has other effects on the body which, in the long term, can cause fatigue. Here’s a deeper dive:
- Coffee is a diuretic, meaning it can make you urinate more often. This can lead to dehydration which feels like dizziness, dry mouth, and fatigue.
- It can spike cortisol levels. Research shows that caffeine can increase cortisol levels when stressed more than those who are non-caffeinated.2 So drinking coffee before a stressful event can make you feel more stressed, leading to fatigue and burnout afterwards.
- Caffeine only blocks the receptors, not adenosine - the substance that makes you sleepy and tired.3 So while you may be temporarily blocking the receptors, the body is working harder to produce even more adenosine, leading to immense fatigue when the effects of caffeine eventually wear off.
- Caffeine can interfere with sleep. Studies show that drinking coffee can increase time spent trying to fall asleep, decrease time spent sleeping, and can even effect the quality of sleep.4
Now you don’t need to give up coffee entirely. The amount of coffee and when you take it is most important. Health Canada recommends adults, 18 years and over, limit caffeine intake to 400 mg max daily.5 As a reference, 1 cup of coffee has on average 135 mg of caffeine.5 It’s important to realize that there are other sources of caffeine, like energy drinks, tea, and chocolate too, which need to be considered in your total, daily caffeine intake.
Again, it seems counterintuitive, right? Resting should, in theory, conserve energy and help increase energy levels in the long term. But the opposite is true, and research proves it. Low-intensity exercise can improve energy levels by 20% and decrease fatigue by 65%.6 Exercise also acts on the muscles to increase its mitochondria, the part of the cell that is responsible for energy production.7 Exercise also increases oxygen to the brain and cells, further increasing the function of the mitochondria, resulting in more energy and feeling refreshed.
Avoiding these energy vampires is a foundational step to take when looking to increase energy levels. Unlike coffee and too much rest, there are ways to effectively increase your energy without it backfiring on you. One way is with adaptogenic herbs. These herbs, used for centuries in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, can help the body cope with everyday stressors and their energy-leeching side effects. Try Jamieson’s Energy and Adaptogen Booster which is formulated with leading stress-adapting herbs, like ashwagandha, and energizing herbs, like ginseng, to provide a boost of energy while helping you cope with daily stressors. Try it today!
- How does caffeine give US Energy? Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 21, 2023, from https://nutrition.tufts.edu/news/how-does-caffeine-give-us-energy
- Lovallo, W. R., Farag, N. H., Vincent, A. S., Thomas, T. L., & Wilson, M. F. (2006). Cortisol responses to mental stress, exercise, and meals following caffeine intake in men and women. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 83(3), 441–447. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2006.03.005
- Singh S, McKintosh R. Adenosine. [Updated 2022 Sep 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519049/
- Shilo, L., Sabbah, H., Hadari, R., Kovatz, S., Weinberg, U., Dolev, S., Dagan, Y., & Shenkman, L. (2002). The effects of coffee consumption on sleep and melatonin secretion. Sleep medicine, 3(3), 271–273. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1389-9457(02)00015-1
- Canada, H. (2022, July 20). https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-safety/food-additives/caffeine-foods.html. Canada.ca. Retrieved February 21, 2023, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-safety/food-additives/caffeine-foods.html
- University of Georgia. (2008, March 2). Low-intensity Exercise Reduces Fatigue Symptoms By 65 Percent, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 20, 2023 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228112008.htm
- Cell Press. (2017, March 7). How exercise -- interval training in particular -- helps your mitochondria stave off old age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 21, 2023 from sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170307155214.html