The Search for Extra Energy
by Dr. Julia Keiser
Have Friday nights become a sofa marathon rather than a time to play? Have important and joyful events become too much to manage? Are friends and family being slighted because there is just no energy left to chat, catch up or even care about others? It seems like today we all suffer from an “Energy Epidemic”.
To turn the power back on and soar, rather than crawl, into 2015, several areas that affect energy need to be examined. These include sleep, exercise, nutrition, alignment and three forms of stress: physical stress and pain, emotional stress and attitude, and biochemical stress and toxicity.
Over 70 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation. Sleeping pill prescriptions have tripled since 2008 and drugs are not always the best answer. Daytime drowsiness, headaches, nausea and dizziness are common pharmaceutical side effects, along with more serious concerns such as a 35 percent increase in cancer rates overall.
If drugs are not the answer, how does one obtain eight uninterrupted hours of sleep each night? Start by decreasing the amount of technological input and limiting screen time. Turn off the computer, the television and the cell phone. Keep the bedroom dark, since lowering light levels can increase melatonin production while asleep. Also, use a proper pillow and mattress, keep the air temperature cool and perhaps have a cup of chamomile tea.
If these changes do not do the trick, seek an evaluation to determine the underlying cause of the sleep issue, as opposed to covering it up with drugs.
Soaring into the new year must also include exercise. Exercise has two immediate benefits: it increases energy and promotes deeper sleep. To increase energy, cardio is most important. Raising the heart rate, breathing deeply and sweating will help jumpstart 2015.
Too tired to exercise? Try getting up earlier. Morning exercise has several benefits, including more effective burning of fat. This increases the body’s metabolism, and provides sustained energy throughout the day.
What was for lunch yesterday? Was it a burger and fries, cold pizza or some sweetened yogurt? It is no wonder many of us do not have the energy needed to make it through the day. Food is fuel. To increase or sustain energy, have protein at every meal and during every snack. There is a valid reason for the “sugar blues” that come in the form of an energy crash after an immediate spike in the body’s glycemic index. Sugar provides an initial burst of energy, but an even bigger subsequent drop.
Looking like Quasimodo? Has the back begun to “hunch”? Driving a car out of alignment uses more fuel and causes more wear and tear. The same is true of the body. A spine out of alignment saps energy, causes fatigue and puts stress on the hips, knees, ankles and feet. The solution is to have a postural and spinal assessment and correct the imbalance.
Physical Stress – Pain
What hurts? Everything? Chronic pain is exhausting. Whether it is a mild irritation or severe pain, it all drains energy, disturbs sleep and increases irritability. What is the solution? The current popular answer is to pop a pill to make the pounding headache, the nagging low back, the stiff neck or the sore knee go away. Unfortunately, side effects of these drugs can include: stomach bleeding, ulcers, heart damage, liver failure, kidney damage, addiction, sleep disturbances and fatigue.
Covering up the pain is never the solution; correcting the cause is. Do not turn off the fire alarm. Have an evaluation to determine the real cause.
Emotional Stress – Attitude
Is the glass half empty or full? Research shows that optimism increases longevity, happiness, productivity, immune function and energy. Focusing on what one wants versus what one does not is always more energizing. Also, work on being present in the moment. It can increase focus and clarity, and decrease fatigue.
Biochemical Stress – Toxicity
We operate in a toxic environment each day. Our air is polluted. Our food and water can contain pesticides or chemical fertilizers. The body cannot process this glut of toxins, and instead stores them in organs and fat cells. These toxins not only sap energy and slow metabolism, they also cause auto-immune diseases, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The solution? Detoxify through a cleanse. Cleansing is essential to restore energy, clarity, enrich sleep, increase metabolism and burn fat. Choosing the right system is essential because most are short term, and some can even be dangerous if not properly followed. Have an expert help make the decision and formulate the plan.
Lack of energy and feeling exhausted and overwhelmed are only symptoms. The larger answer is to determine the real root cause of the symptoms, and then to forge a path back to vitality.
Julia Keiser is a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) and the founder of Worthington Optimal Wellness. For more information, visit WorthingtonOptimalWellness.com.