I’m a doctor – here are 5 surprising everyday mistakes sapping your energy levels – and how to fix it | The Sun

FEELING exhausted, despite a decent night’s sleep?

Or just struggling to make it through the day without yawning all afternoon?

YouGov research found that 13% of us are TATT (tired all the time), with 33% of people saying they feel exhausted “about half the time”.

What’s more, women are suffering the most — 61% are still shattered when they wake up, compared to 49% of men.

A lack of energy can make it hard to focus and be productive.

Chuck in kids, crazy workloads and zero me-time, and it can really impact your mood, leaving you grouchy and short-tempered. 

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Here are the daily habits that can inadvertently leave you at the end of your tether.

Are you guilty of these everyday energy zappers?

1. You’re Going Heavy On The Carbs 

What you eat has a big impact on energy levels, and carbs do you no favours.

“Although we crave sugary foods when we lack energy, these quickly raise blood sugar levels and trigger the release of the hormone insulin,” says medical nutritionist and author Dr Sarah Brewer.

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“This pushes glucose into muscle and fat cells, resulting in tiredness and fatigue, which is typically worse a few hours after eating.

"This is why you may feel sleepy after a carb-heavy lunch.”

Biscuits, cakes, pastries, large portions of white rice, potatoes and pasta can all send you into this energy funk.

ENERGY BOOST: “Tucking into foods with a low glycaemic index (GI) — where the sugars are absorbed more slowly — will give you more sustained energy levels,” says Rob Hobson, Healthspan consultant nutritionist.

Go for brown rice, wholemeal pasta and bread, high-fibre vegetables (beans, broccoli and peas), nuts, dark leafy greens (make friends with kale!) fresh fruit, and oily fish such as salmon and sardines.

“Aim to eat every four hours to prevent blood sugar dips, which will make your energy levels slump,” says Alison Cullen, nutritional therapist at

A.Vogel Herbal Remedies. Can’t kick the cake? Sub in home-made oat-based cookies using mashed banana, oats and dark chocolate chips.

For lower-carb meal ideas, swaps and motivation, download the Low Carb Program app.  

2. You’re Overdoing The Coffee

Caffeine might give you a quick energy hit, but too much can wring you out.

“Caffeine blocks the calming brain chemical adenosine, which is also involved in the production of energy, so excess caffeine makes you feel drained of energy more quickly,” says Dr Brewer.

The half-life of caffeine (how long it takes for your body to get rid of half of it) is around five hours, so have your last coffee or tea before midday so it won’t impact your kip.

ENERGY BOOST: Switch to decaf or herbal teas such as fennel (good for sleep and digestion), plus guarana.

“This is an energising supplement derived from the seeds of a Brazilian bush,” says Dr Brewer.

“The concentration of caffeine in guarana seeds is twice that in coffee beans.

"But the caffeine is buffered by its saponins (naturally occurring compounds), so it is absorbed more slowly to provide a longer energy boost.”

Try Holland & Barrett High Strength Guarana, £13.99 for 90 tablets. 

3 You’re Drinking Wine Every Night 

Find yourself pouring a glass (or two) every night alongside your dinner?

It might help you relax at the time, but it could leave you worn out the next day.

“Excess alcohol intake at night affects how you sleep.

"While you may fall asleep more quickly, it’s likely you’ll wake in the night and may then find it difficult to get back to sleep.

"Alcohol also reduces the quality of your sleep, so you won’t wake in the morning feeling as refreshed as usual,” explains Dr Brewer.

ENERGY BOOST: We won’t tell you to go cold turkey, but consider having more booze-free days, or a glass of wine every other night.

We also like Tesco’s range of no- and low-alcohol wines, including Eisberg Rose Alcohol Free, £3.50, and beers, such as the summery Corona Cero, £4.50 for four.

If spirits are more your thing, CleanCo makes great alcohol-free alternatives to tequila, gin and rum.

And if you need some inspiration, try The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley for a funny read on the joys of being booze-free.

4 You’re Spending Time With Negative People 

“Pessimistic people drag you down, as their negative focus on events can magnify any stresses in your own life and leave you feeling emotionally drained, tired and dissatisfied,” says Dr Brewer.

“According to psychologists, a negative relationship can impact your wellbeing and energy levels four to seven times more than the opposite effects of a positive or energising relationship.”

When you walk away from a colleague, friend or family member, do you feel heavy, down or exhausted?

Desperate for some alone time to recover? If this is a regular problem, it’s time to take action. 

ENERGY BOOST: Instead of spending time with “drains”, try to make more space in your life for “radiators” — people who are warm and have a more positive outlook.

Devote time to those who encourage you, laugh a lot and express gratitude.

It might not always be possible to avoid draining relationships when it comes to family, so plan group get-togethers to dilute their negativity and spend time with others, too.

To kick-start your own positive vibes, try the app Happify, for games and activities designed to improve wellbeing. 

5 You Aren’t Outside Enough 

Spending all day stuck at your desk or indoors for hours, may leave you lethargic.

“Daylight has a beneficial effect on your biorhythms (rhythmic cycles within the body), sleep-wake cycles and thyroid function.

"It suppresses the secretion of melatonin (sleep hormone), so you feel more energised and awake,” says Dr Brewer.

Plus, sunlight helps the body make vitamin D.

“This also has an energising effect, as a lack of vitamin D is associated with fatigue and low mood.”

ENERGY BOOST: No matter how busy you are, aim to get outside.

Park further from the office or get off public transport earlier, get out for a lunchtime walk, take calls while pacing up and down outside, and go for an evening stroll before the sun sets.

Remember to wear SPF50 with a UVA rating of at least four stars to protect skin from UV rays.

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On weekends, check out the GetOutside app for things to do in your area.  

  • Photography: Getty Images  Stockists: A.Vogel (Avogel.co.uk), CleanCo (Clean.co), Healthspan (Healthspan.co.uk), Holland & Barrett (Hollandandbarrett.com), Tesco (Tesco.com)  The Sober Diaries by Claire Pooley (£10.99, Coronet) is out now

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