Low energy is the most common complaint I hear from clients — and it can be particularly frustrating when you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep and still wake up with low energy. What gives?
Here are some of the most common reasons energy can be low, even with seven or more hours of sleep:
Especially B vitamins, iron, CoQ10 and other nutrients required for our cells to make energy
Magnesium is a fundamental nutrient for muscle relaxation and deep restful sleep. Magnesium deficiency is extremely common.
Certain foods deplete these key nutrients, particularly processed sugar and processed carbs
Can show up as bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and more
Red flag for poor absorption of nutrients
May be a clue that parasites are part of the problem — they become more active at night and can block deep sleep, and interfere with nutrient absorption
Backlog of poor quality sleep or not enough sleep
Several nights of interrupted or restless sleep, then you finally get a food night’s sleep and you wake up feeling tired — hi new parents!
Constantly feeling stressed / anxious / overworked, perhaps during the week, then when you get more sleep on the weekends you still feel tired
Alcohol — disrupts sleep and depletes nutrients
Imbalanced circadian rhythm — your brain needs proper signals when it's daytime vs nighttime, for example:
Morning sunlight directly on your eyes
Darkness at night - exposure to screens and bright lights interfere with this signaling
Too much caffeine — acceptable amount and form is very individual - see tips below
Constant stress — running on adrenaline, all day, for days on end
Sleep is restless or poor quality — a sleep tracker like an Oura ring can be really helpful here
Low-grade chronic infections like Epstein Barr and Lyme
Buildup of toxins in the body interfering with energy production — heavy metals, mold, Lyme, gut toxins
Ways to raise your energy:
Get some data to help figure out what’s going on
Get a sleep tracker like an Oura ring or fitbit — they can help you track your sleep quality together with other variables, like your activity level; you can also track how certain foods / meal timing / supplements / etc. impact your sleep
Get functional lab work done through an integrative practitioner to look for clues that go beyond the basics — or example, specific nutrient levels, a more nuanced look at thyroid hormones, clues to certain types of infections and inflammation, etc.
See a practitioner who does energetic resonance testing to find issues that may otherwise be missed in labs
Focus on eating whole foods and staying away from processed foods, especially those with added sugar
Try a 3-4 week experiment of cutting out the most inflammatory foods, like gluten, dairy, and processed sugar, and see if you notice an improvement in your sleep quality and energy
If this feels daunting, work with a health coach or practitioner to help guide you; they can also help to create a more specific protocol for you and walk you through it
Other foods can cause issues too, but these 3 are the most common. I highly recommend working one-on-one with a practitioner to dial this in if you suspect it may be an issue for you
Work with a practitioner to help create a personalized protocol for you that may involve specific nutrients, herbal supplements and homeopathy
Try practices that calm the nervous system and rebalance energy flow, like daily meditation, acupuncture, reiki, EFT Tapping, Emotion & Body Code to name a few
Try reducing or eliminating caffeine — this doesn’t have to be all or nothing. For instance:
If you drink 2 cups of coffee daily, try cutting down to just one. If you drink 3, try going down to 2.
If you typically drink one cup of coffee, try replacing it with something like matcha, yerba mate or King Coffee — they still have caffeine but have a gentler effect on the body and the nervous system
If you already drink one of those, try eliminating it or just having herbal tea or an herbal coffee replacement like Rasa or Dandy Blend
Stop consuming caffeine past noon
Try reducing or eliminating alcohol for a couple of weeks and see how your sleep responds
Avoid eating within 3 hours of bedtime — sleep quality is best when the body isn’t digesting anything (this also benefits your digestion and can help with gut issues)
Optimize the sleep/wake (circadian rhythm) signaling to your brain:
Get outside without sunglasses as early in the morning as you can
Avoid screens / blue light at night (blue light blocking glasses help to some extent, but ideally avoid screens within 2 hours of bedtime, and as much as possible after the sun sets)
High and bright ceiling lighting can mimic the sun in our mind's eye — low lighting (literally closer to the ground, like table lamps, and a dimmer level of light) after sunset can help
Ultimately, everyone’s path to better sleep and more energy is going to look a little different. See how far these tips get you!
While there are plenty of herbs and nutrients that may help with sleep — GABA, magnesium (certain forms like glycinate and taurate), herbs like skullcap, valerian and so many more — your approach should be tailored to your individual body chemistry, and adjusted as needed, as our body and its needs change over time. Again, I cannot recommend enough working with a holistic health practitioner to create a personalized protocol for you.
*All information shared in this post is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice