Updated 13 January 2014

5 Common energy vampires

Are your bad habits sucking the life out of you? Here's how to bite back.

Who hasn’t hit a slump in the middle of the afternoon? Or kept slamming the snooze button when the alarm went off for work?

Most people have at least a few bad habits that make them feel tired and run-down,” says Robert Thaye, author of Calm Energy: How People Regulate Mood With Food and Exercise. The problem is they usually don’t recognise what they’re doing wrong.

Here are the most common energy vampires and how to overcome them. 

1. Energy vampire: checking e-mail obsessively

Admit it: what is e-mail really but an endless stream of interruptions? If you’re constantly stopping your work to respond to messages, you’ll feel worn out without accomplishing much at all. 

Bite back: set two or three times each day when you’re going to empty out your inbox - and then be done.

2. Energy vampire: sugary treats

Doughnuts, cupcakes, candy bars -- yep, they’ll give you a sugar rush. But about 45 minutes later, you’ll crash big-time.

Bite back: if that mid-afternoon energy drain is all too familiar, get up and take a 5 to 10-minute walk.

3. Energy vampire: negative people

You know those people who are constantly complaining or who never have a nice word to say? They can drain the energy out of you without you knowing it. 

Bite back: you might not be able to rid your life of these people entirely (maybe they’re relatives). But you can cut way back on your interactions with them.

4. Energy vampire: drinking coffee 24-7

Don’t worry: experts say it’s OK to have a cup or two of coffee in the morning. In fact, the caffeine boosts your energy and helps you get going.,” says Blatner. But grabbing another cup in the afternoon will definitely interfere with sleep.

Bite back: make sure your meals have staying power, and you’ll be less inclined to reach for caffeine-induced energy. Create your power meal by filling one part of the plate with whole grains (like brown rice or whole-wheat bread), one part with lean protein (chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, or turkey), and the other two with fruits and veggies

5. Energy vampire: staying up late

Sure, it’s hard to squeeze in eight hours of sleep. By the time the kids are in bed and dinner is cleaned up, you want a little time for yourself before you the hit the sack. 

Bite back: if you’re staying up late to watch the news, you’ve just got to shut it off and get some rest. But if you’re there in bed counting sheep, try putting on some relaxing music. In one study participants improved their sleep quality by 35 percent by listening to soothing music at bedtime

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