We all have days when we feel like we’re slogging through sludge. Days when our energy levels are low, and it takes some extra effort to make dinner, let alone get some exercise.
Feeling a little extra tired or having low energy happens to everyone. It can be the result of not getting enough sleep the night before, coming down with a cold, or dealing with a stressful situation. It’s also not terribly uncommon to feel less energetic as you get older.
Common Causes of Low Energy
If you’ve been feeling less energized for a while, it would help to take a good look at what’s going on in your life and what you might be able to change. Here are some of the most common factors leading to low energy and fatigue among older adults:
- Medications. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can lead to feeling fatigued. Read labels and see if they claim to cause drowsiness. If so, try to take them in the evening or before bed. If it’s a prescription medication that’s causing the issue, ask your doctor about other options that won’t leave you as tired, or if you can take it at another time of day.
- Certain illnesses. When your body is fighting off a cold or sickness, it uses a lot of energy in that fight, leaving less for us to do everyday activities. Undiagnosed or untreated conditions like thyroid disease or anemia are also known to cause tiredness. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
- Sleep issues. We’ve all had a few bad nights’ sleep here and there. If this is happening more often than not, you might want to have a sleep test or have your doctor check you for sleep apnea. Most people with sleep apnea do better when they use a “CPAP” (continuous positive airway pressure) machine at night.
- Unhealthy habits. Things that are much more within your control are your daily habits. Are you staying up too late and not getting enough sleep? Are you choosing nutrient-dense foods to fuel your body? Or are you eating well but simply not enough? If you don’t put deposits into your energy bank, you won’t have anything to spend.
7 Tips to Help Support Energy Levels
Feeling lethargic is no fun, so try these tips to give your energy levels a jump start:
- Exercise. How can something that uses up energy also give you energy? There are many reasons. For one, when you engage in moderate physical activity, it helps make your cardiovascular system be more efficient. The better your body is at pumping oxygen-rich blood throughout your body, the more energized you feel. Exercise also helps you sleep better.
- Prioritize sleep. Don’t just get a good night’s rest, cultivate a good sleep routine. You may be in the habit of setting an alarm clock to wake up in the morning, but you can also give yourself a set time to go to bed. About two hours beforehand, start to wind down by turning off electronics, doing restful activities and preparing your body for slumber.
- Be more socially active. Engaging with friends and the community can bolster your spirits and helps stave off feelings of loneliness and mild depression. Simply doing something that excites you or makes you feel good can help increase your energy levels.
- Seek mental help. If your mild depression might be something more, find a trusted professional to speak with. This could be a trained mental help professional, clergy member or social worker within your community.
- Talk to your doctor. Maybe medications are at the root of your listlessness. See if your medications can be adjusted or changed, or if there’s an underlying health condition that may be sapping your energy.
- Make sure you’re eating enough. Diminished appetites or being too busy can cause you to skip meals or otherwise not get the calories (energy) you need to carry you through the day. Try eating smaller meals, but more frequently, if you have a small appetite.
- Get the nutrition you need. Eating enough is one thing, but eating the right nutrients is also important. B vitamins help convert food to energy, and a deficiency can lead to tiredness and fatigue. Protein is also important for muscle health and helping to fuel your workouts. BOOST® Nutritional Drinks provide nutrient-rich calories, high-quality protein and up to 27 vitamins and minerals for your everyday nutritional needs, including vitamins B6, B12, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) and folate (B9).