Do you feel tired all the time?
If you find yourself nodding off during the day or constantly yawning during meetings or conversations, your body could be under siege from a number of hidden energy sappers you didn't know about.
So before you reach for yet another coffee, check out these your fatigue-inducing factors and fight back with the help of these tips from Dr Marilyn Genville, the UK's leading Nutritionist and author of The Natural Health Handbook for Women (available to buy at marilynglenville.com and Amazon).
Energy sapper 1: Your phone
"Sleeplessness, headaches, fatigue and dizziness can all be symptoms of electrical sensitivity," says Marilyn. "Electrical sensitivity affects about 35 per cent of the population, and interferes with your body's natural rhythms. Cordless phones may be the worst as we tend to keep them beside the bed, where we receive electrical waves from the base. Other risk areas include: using the hairdryer over 10 minutes; keeping your digital clock by the bed and sitting too close and too long in front of a computer screen."
Energy solution: "Switch to an analogue clock and a flat-screen monitor and keep your wireless network router in a different room to your study or bedroom," advises Marilyn. "If you're working in front of a computer screen for long periods make sure you take a few minutes break at least every half an hour." Try M&S for a great selection of analogue clocks.
One in 10 people in the UK have a food intolerance, which can cause lethargy and irritability. Food intolerances trigger an immune response which uses up a huge amount of energy. The most common food culprits? Wheat, dairy and sugar, says Marilyn. She adds: "If your lunch was a cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with a bar of chocolate your body may be using up energy by simply digesting rather than converting your lunch into energy."
Energy solution: If you suspect that you have a food intolerance, keep a food diary for a few weeks and see if there is a connection between your tiredness and a specific food. Try eliminating that food and see if it makes a difference. Alternatively you can have a blood test to check for food allergies.
Energy sapper 3: Your bedroom
Did you know that almost 40 per cent of the population suffers from some form of insomnia? A disrupted night's sleep affects you physically and mentally. In the long run you end up with a massive sleep debt that you body can't repay no matter how much of it you get.
Energy solution: "To increase your chances of a good night's sleep make sure your bedroom is a calm and relaxing place and your mattress is comfortable," says Marilyn. "Use your bed for sleeping and sex only, so you only associate it with rest and pleasure. Block out noise and light, as light will impair the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Try to sleep in a well-ventilated but not cold room (around 13 -18° C, 55-65° F), as body temperature falls at night to promote feelings of sleepiness." Head to Feather & Black for top quality mattresses, and pick up a cute sleep mask from Notonthehighstreet.com.
Energy sapper 4: You're dehydrated
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in. Your body doesn't have enough water
and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. Common causes? "Intense bouts of diarrhoea, vomiting, fever or excessive sweating," says Marilyn. "Inadequate intake of water during hot weather or exercise also may deplete your body's water stores. Mild dehydration can cause symptoms such as weakness, dizziness and fatigue."
Energy solution: You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by increasing your intake of fluids, but severe cases need immediate medical treatment. The safest approach is not to become dehydrated in the first place. Marilyn's advice? "Aim for six to eight glasses of water or herb teas a day and don't wait until you get thirsty to drink. You can do that by monitoring your fluid loss during hot weather, illness or exercise, and drinking enough liquids to replace what you lose. Reduce your alcohol, tea and coffee intake as these are dehydrating."
Energy sapper 5: Your work out
Not how, but when you work out could be draining your energy, says Marilyn. "You should not exercise intensely just before bed, as this will make your adrenaline, heart and respiratory rates pump and you won't be able to sleep. Also if your exercise routine is too intense, long or vigorous for your current level of fitness instead of energising it will be draining you," she explains.
Energy solution: "Do energy-forming exercises such as running or aerobics in the morning and focus on milder activities later in the evening," suggests Marilyn. "Try a walk at the end of the day or a yoga session to calm your mind and stretch your muscles. If your daily exercise routine is exhausting adjust it, because the aim of exercise is to boost your energy not drain it. Don't go the other way though and cut out exercise altogether! No exercise will trap you in a vicious cycle of tiredness. Around 30 minutes of light exercise a day can help boost energy levels significantly."
Need more tips for top sleeps? See our video below: