Dipping energy levels are commonplace in today’s busy lifestyles. So many of us are doing too much, trying to be everything to everyone. The result is fatigue and peaks and troughs of energy, affecting our mood, dampening productivity and impairing healthy hormone levels.
Ayurveda is a holistic medicinal discipline, so when we are experiencing low energy or fatigue, we look for the root cause behind that and discover that there are likely other linked symptoms that signify imbalance in the body.
Here we share some of our most effective energy boosting tips from sleep schedules and nutrition support to herbal supplementation and movement medicine.
Live by your dosha
The most effective way to maintain healthy energy levels according to Ayurveda is to live in line with your unique dosha type, or Prakriti. In Ayurvedic medicine every person has a unique constitution made up of one or more doshas (usually two or three). The first step to good health is determining your dosha type, which will then influence your lifestyle to help you stay in balance and actively prevent illness and disease.
Dosha imbalance is very common in people who are new to Ayurveda or aren’t aware of its teachings. Many things can cause us to become imbalanced, including what, how and when we eat, stress levels, sleep patterns and physical fitness.
Not sure what your dosha type is or where to start? Find out more about the doshas and take our quiz to determine your prakriti here.
Sleep according to your dosha type
One thing that quickly drains energy and affects our levels of vitality during the day is lack of good quality sleep.
If you’ve ever read advice on sleeping soundly, or had a conversation with a friend about sleep habits, you’ll know that each of us is very different when it comes to our routines and the habits surrounding sleep. Similarly what works for one person to help them sleep may not work for another. That’s where we return to the importance of individualized support. In Ayurveda we recognise this through the doshas – as each dosha type has certain characteristics surrounding sleep that can be key indicators of what we need in order to sleep well, and whether a person is in balance or not.
Sleep quality is often preferable to quantity – as different people need varying amounts of sleep to function well.
Pitta: Pittas often fall asleep easily and quickly; but are prone to waking up at night and being unable to go back to sleep. Keep your room temperature on the cooler side to mitigate any excess heat (Pitta is associated with fire element), refresh with a lukewarm shower or cooling face mist and essential oils such as mint and lavender before you go to bed.
Kapha: Kaphas are kings and queens of sleep! Although Kaphas tend to have no problem falling and staying asleep, they can sometimes have too much of it, making them more lethargic and sluggish during the day. Avoid eating heavy meals close to bedtime, and incorporate essential oils (perhaps in a diffuser or pillow mist) each morning as you wake to promote alertness.
Vata: Vata’s racing mind may make it difficult to slow down and eliminate thoughts ready for sleep. Restlessness both when falling asleep and waking during the night may be an issue for Vatas. Be sure to remove any distractions at the end of the night, incorporate some de-stressing routines (such as meditation, breathwork, bedtime yoga or aromatherapy) and cut out caffeine either completely, or restrict only to the morning before 12pm.
Invest in proper sleep hygiene
In addition to supporting better sleep according to your dosha type, it’s also important to practice proper sleep hygiene, especially as an antidote to modern lifestyles and habits such as late-night scrolling and rising before the sun. Heavy reliance and time spent on screens affects our circadian rhythm, which helps us to naturally sleep and wake at certain times.
Keep phones out of the bedroom and avoid scrolling just before you go to sleep, or as soon as you wake up. If you can’t stay away from the screen for at least an hour before bed, you may want to invest in some blue light glasses to mitigate the impact of your phone, laptop or tablet on sleep quality.
Routine is also key with sleep. Stick as much as possible to waking and going to sleep at the same time. Avoid sleeping in or catching up on lost sleep wherever possible.
It may seem paradoxical, but exercising, even when you feel you are lacking in energy, helps you to have more of it. Exercise doesn’t need to look like intensive cardio, HIIT workouts and strength training. Gentle movement can be just as energising and beneficial for body and mind.
Start with committing to move your body a little more each day – either going for a walk, stretching, yoga or Pilates. Listen to your body and start small, adding a little each day and building up your tolerance and energy levels incrementally.
Balancing your gut health is the key to healthier energy levels
There is a direct correlation between abundant energy and good gut health. Many of the metabolic processes taking place within the body that support healthy energy levels begin in the gut.
Even if you are no outwardly showing signs of poor gut health, such as IBS, cramps, bloating and irregular bowel movements, your gut flora may still be affected. Common causes of impaired gut health include chronic stress, poor diet and illness.
Similarly when we’re sluggish and constipated it reflects in our energy levels. These issues go hand in hand with fatigue, which often creates a cyclic effect making the circuit harder to break. Begin by ensuring you are having daily bowel movements, through introducing foods that balance your dosha type and eating seasonally as much as possible, concentrating on whole, natural foods over processed or refined foods. You may also need herbal supplements or pro- and pre-biotics to restore healthy gut flora.
When we don’t fuel our bodies properly, our energy levels can be erratic. Good nutrition is key to health and happiness physically and emotionally. Eating in accordance with our dosha types and noticing when we might be imbalance, causing low energy. If you aren’t doing so already, incorporate as many whole foods as possible into your diet and avoid processed, refined foods which can cause imbalance in the gut and upset our natural rhythm and energy production. Slow release energy at mealtimes and as snacks is always preferable – think whole, unprocessed grains, chickpeas, lentils, potatoes as opposed to quick fixes like sugary trail mix and cereal bars.
It’s also important to eat at regular intervals (in line with our body types and doshas), intuitively listening to our hunger levels to stabilise blood sugar. This will avoid any peaks and troughs that could cause dips and peaks in energy levels, and subsequent mood swings or binges.
Help with herbs
In Ayurveda we often use herbs to help address any imbalance in the body and support healthy energy levels and increased vitality. Herbal supplements should ideally be administered prescriptively with the help of an Ayurvedic practitioner, but you may like to start by incorporating just one or two to see if the effects are beneficial.
Ashwagandha: Although it has been successfully used by Ayurvedic practitioners for thousands of years, recent studies have shown just how powerful Ashwagandha’s effect can be on brain function and health.
Shatavari: Shatavari helps to improve stamina, energy and endurance levels – especially in women. As well as reducing fatigue Shatavari can boost immunity and is a powerful antioxidant, restoring the body’s vitality naturally.
Amla: Potent Amla has a mutlitutde of benefits for body and mind, and is a powerhouse of nutrients to help support healthy energy levels.
Always consult your medical practitioner before introducing herbal supplements into your diet.
Increasing energy naturally with Ayurveda
If you struggle with erratic or chronically low energy levels and fatigue, a combined approach using the insights shared above can help you to restore your natural energy levels over time. If your condition is prolonged speak to your medical practitioner for support and personalized advice.
Need an energy boost? Discover our Ayurvedic blends designed to support and rebalance the body for healthier, happier you.