Sleeping used to be a skill (yes, a skill) that I excelled at. I’d fall asleep within minutes of crawling into bed and wake up feeling ready to take on the day, regardless of how many hours of zzz’s I got.
But over the past year or so, I’ve somehow lost my talent for shuteye, resulting in my feeling constantly tired and relying heavily on caffeine. This unideal combination ultimately led me to reach out to Michael A. Smith, MD, director of education at Life Extension®, for some help in getting my energy levels up.
Naturally, he wanted to know all about my sleep routine. I (albeit, sheepishly) explained that despite getting in bed by 10 p.m., I’m still wide awake at 11:30 p.m. replaying everything that happened that day and stressing about the next.
He assured me this was normal for a twenty-something like myself, but he confirmed that poor sleep was definitely contributing to my low energy. Luckily, though, Dr. Smith had some suggestions for what to do.
Keep scrolling to find out what I learned about increasing my energy levels, plus which energy and sleep supplements Dr. Smith suggested.
Practice good sleep hygiene
I’ve always tasked melatonin or other sleep supplements with overcoming my lazy evening routine, but Dr. Smith says whether you’re taking a sleep supplement or not, scrolling through Instagram while watching Cheer until it’s time to turn out the lights is the perfect recipe for a crappy night’s sleep.
In addition to turning off devices (Dr. Smith suggests reading or stretching before bed instead), I promised to commit to a healthy nighttime routine, including no late-night snacking, cooling down my bedroom, and using an old-fashioned alarm clock. “When you practice good sleep hygiene, you’re working with your circadian rhythm—not against it,” Dr. Smith says.
And FYI, in case you’re having trouble getting off your phone before bed (like I was), Dr. Smith says wearing blue-light-blocking glasses isn’t enough because the content itself can be stimulating. The more you know.
Take sleep supplements that work with your body
On top of improving my bedtime routine, Dr. Smith suggested I try taking Life Extension Fast-Acting Liquid Melatonin every night to help balance my circadian rhythm. While I’ve taken melatonin before, what I didn’t realize is that the supplement has other uses besides just helping with occasional sleeplessness.
“It’s an important hormone for the circadian rhythm and sleep cycles, but melatonin is also a fantastic brain antioxidant,” Dr. Smith says. “It’s been shown to boost immunity and preserve healthy brain function.”
Plus, instead of just knocking you out, melatonin actually helps promote optimal sleep. “When you use something like melatonin, you’re going to actually support the five stages of sleep,” Dr. Smith says. “And when you cycle through the fives stages two or three times a night, that’s how the body repairs and restores, which is why you wake up feeling really good.”
To calm down my racing brain, he also suggested taking Life Extension Herbal Sleep PM, which uses lemon balm, honokiol and chamomile extracts to relax the body and promote healthy sleep.
You can actually help your body produce more energy
Simply put: Coffee is not the answer. “We tend to act like fatigue is caffeine deficiency,” Dr. Smith says. “But the ultimate goal is for you to be making chemical cellular energy currency in the body, which is called ATP. That’s how you’re going to feel more vibrant and energized.”
“We tend to act like fatigue is caffeine deficiency.”
Exercising regularly, eating healthy, non-processed foods, and taking a daily multi-vitamin can all help increase ATP production. To really give your cells a boost, though, a few supplements can help.
Life Extension NAD+ Cell Regenerator™, for example, helps the mitochondria of your cells pull nutrients out of the foods you eat. And a supplement like Life Extension Super Ubiquinol CoQ10 with PQQ helps the mitochondria actually turn the nutrients into ATP to give you that energy lift, Dr. Smith says.
Better sleep and increased energy take time
As much as I’d love a quick fix for my sleepiness, Dr. Smith stressed that building long-term energy (sadly) doesn’t work that way. “When you’re taking supplements, you’ve got to give them some time,” he says.
Thankfully, in the meantime, he’s not totally against caffeine. “The eventual goal is for you to drink coffee because you like it, not because you need it,” he says. A routine that includes my daily cup of coffee and higher energy levels? Count me in.
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Top photo: Getty/Catherine Delahaye
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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