It doesn’t matter whether you started the day with a 50-minute cardio session or a 50-minute accidental lie-in, chances are that at some point in the day you’ll hit an energy slump.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than the cure.
We spoke to five experts to grill them about the most common energy zappers and more importantly, find out what we can do about them.
Here’s what they said…
1. Not enough sleep
“When your sleep is suffering, it quickly becomes the most important thing in the world to you, but the more you focus on sleep, the more elusive it is,” explains Kathryn Pinkham, founder of The Insomnia Clinic.
“In turn, this only makes it more of a focus, and further impacts your sleep and energy levels.
“However, there are positive actions you can take to improve your sleep and break this vicious circle, starting with these three simple steps.
“Firstly, while it may seem counterintuitive if you’re sleeping poorly, go to bed later. This will help build a stronger sleep drive, making you more likely to fall asleep easily when you go to bed.
“Secondly, stop watching the clock. When you wake in the night it can be very tempting to check the time, monitoring how little sleep you’re getting.
“However, this only increases the pressure to fall back to sleep, increasing anxiety and making this less likely. Simply set your alarm for the morning, then don’t check the time again.
“Lastly, make sure your alarm is set nice and early, even if you’ve slept badly. Like the later bedtime, this will help build an appetite for sleep, helping improve your chances of sleeping well the following night.
“Remember, sleep isn’t the only way to improve your energy levels.
“If you’re still tired in the day, move the focus away from sleep and instead focus on your stress and lifestyle, looking at how these may be impacting how you feel.”
2. Too much screen time
“Screens keep our mind engaged and unfortunately this stimulation can continue even when we have finally turned off the screen, making it hard to rest and settle the mind,” says Dr Kat Lederle, head of sleep at Somnia.
“Looking at screens and interacting with them, keeps the brain’s reward cycle engaged and dopamine is being released.
“This makes us feel good, and because that is a nice feeling, we want more of it, and we end up spending more time in front of screens.
“This time is then not spent on movement and exercise, healthy eating or sleeping – all of which can generate more energy.”
To keep your energy boosted in terms of both mind and body, make sure you’re taking regular screen breaks – ideally five to 10 minutes for every hour you’re behind a screen.
It doesn’t have to be a cardio session for every break. Something as simple as grabbing a natural energy drink and having a moment without distraction while you enjoy it, either in your kitchen or amongst nature outside, is just as important.
Unlike other varieties, Purdey’s natural energy drink is all about boosting both the mind and body for a pick-me-up from the head down.
The sparkling blend of fruit juices and botanicals comes in a trio of flavours, all of which contain naturally sourced ingredients, as well a vitamins B and C to help combat fatigue.
Just choose from their three options: Rejuvenate (grape and apple), Refocus (dark fruits) and Replenish (raspberry and rose).
3. Social anxiety
“Social anxiety can feel completely debilitating at times, but there are some key things to keep in mind that can help you manage your stress levels,”says therapist Caroline Plumer.
“A key element of social anxiety, and one of the most emotionally draining ones, is the preoccupation with what other people are thinking about you.
“It can be so tiring to constantly fixate on how others perceive you but the reality is – they’re probably not thinking about you at all! We are usually far more focused on worrying about ourselves than observing other people.
“As well as reminding yourself of this, it helps to focus on staying present in the moment – so notice your surroundings, really savour whatever you are eating or drinking, and try to actively listen and engage with your companions.
“If you’re still struggling to ground yourself, you can subtly focus on noticing and slowing your breathing.
“Try breathing in for seven counts, then out for 11 counts a few times, followed by looking around and counting five things you can see, five things you can hear and five things you can feel – for example, your feet in your shoes, your watch on your wrist.
“This is a really great mindfulness trick for focusing your attention back in the room.
“Lastly, remember that you have agency over your calendar. We all need a healthy amount of in-person social interaction but you can say no to invitations and you can leave if you find an event or interaction unbearable.
“Sometimes just knowing we have – self-given – permission to exit if we need to is enough to allow us to relax a little and actually enjoy socialising.
“It is also helpful to pace yourself and not fill up every last gap in your diary just because you can now. As much as we’re all sick of being stuck at home, do save some time for rest and relaxation.”
4. Work burnout
“No one is expecting you to work miracles when it comes to work, but if you are burning the candle at both ends, something is going to give and your energy will hit rock bottom,” warns career coach Natalie Trice.
“If you battle on, making no changes, getting more and more tired and increasingly overwhelmed, you won’t get back on track.
“Some people see perfectionism as a badge they wear with pride, but this can be a real energy zapper and can lead to burnout.
“If you are constantly pushing for better and better, more and more and will only stop working when you feel as if you have got the perfect report, press release or client image, you are going to be exhausted.
“Yes, you need to do your work well, but not to the detriment of everything else.
“If you have the tendency to look for perfectionism, ask if this is really needed, do you really need to close your laptop at 11pm just to be the best, or could you set better boundaries, care for yourself and still get top marks?
“Be kind to yourself, as well as your boss, colleagues and suppliers, and see the positives that you are achieving.
“Being kind to yourself, listening to the language you are using with yourself and just acknowledging that you are doing your best, is going to help not only with your energy but bringing your self-esteem back up again.
“You might think you can’t stop until every point on your to-do list is ticked off, but this is such an energy drainer and a false economy.
“A trip to the kitchen to make a cuppa, going to the loo – via the long way, nipping to the shop and a walk round the block can all give you an energy boost, so try to create these breaks in your day to add a boost when you need it.”
5. Not fuelling your body
“Ultra-processed foods such as crisps, biscuits and granola bars may provide short-term comfort but ultimately lead to energy slumps,” explains nutritionist Rohini Bajekal.
“It’s a good idea to set healthier habits by choosing nutrient-dense whole plant foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds over ultra-processed snacks.
“When it comes to snacking, it’s best to choose unprocessed plant foods that feed your gut microbiome with fibre.
“Options that are rich in plant protein and will satisfy cravings without causing spikes in blood sugar include edamame beans with chilli flakes, chia seed pudding with soya milk and berries or roasted spiced chickpeas.
“Leftovers can also be a great snack – a snack should not really mean something that comes out of a plastic wrapper.
“Eat mindfully by avoiding screens and taking the time to savour each bite. Concentrate on the flavour and texture of the food to avoid mindless eating out of boredom.
“Dark chocolate does have health benefits as a mood-boosting food but it is best enjoyed in small amounts.
“Choose plant-based varieties with higher cacao content – around 90% – that are low in sugar. Cacao nibs, which are just crushed pieces of cacao beans, used to make chocolate, can be enjoyed on top of smoothies or added to porridge.
“Flavanols, a plant nutrient found in many foods, is particularly abundant in cacao and studies show that it may benefit brain function. Cacao is also an excellent source of magnesium, iron and other antioxidants.”
For a natural energy boost, try one of Purdey’s natural energy drinks which are boosted by fruit juice, botanicals and energising B-vitamins to help you feel energised in both body and mind. Choose from three tasty flavours: Rejuvenate (grape and apple), Refocus (dark fruits) and Replenish (raspberry and rose).
All blends contain Vitamins B2, B3, B6, B12 which contribute to normal energy yielding metabolism & reduction of tiredness and fatigue (all blends) and Vitamin C, which supports normal functioning of the immune system (all blends). Replenish features these same benefits, as well as Magnesium, which contributes to electrolyte balance.
Consume as part of a healthy, balanced diet and active lifestyle.