Many of us with diabetes will go through periods, sometimes sustained periods, whereby we feel tired and run down.

Stress, feeling tired, periods of activity, illness and even a large meal can make you feel lethargic. When that’s combined with blood glucose testing, carb counting or exercise, it is understandable to feel as though you’re out of energy.

Whatever your reason for having low energy levels, we look at 9 different ways you can use to increase your energy.

9. Another condition present?

If you’ve done everything to lead a healthy life but still struggle with low energy, it is worth seeing your doctor.

Low energy could be caused by the development or worsening of one or more complications of diabetes, including kidney disease, heart disease or liver disease.

Make sure you are getting all the diabetes complication screening checks you should be receiving each year.

A number of other health conditions can also be responsible for an otherwise unexplained loss of energy and these include:

A good night’s sleep

If you want to boost your energy levels, one of the first things to look at is whether you’re getting enough good quality sleep If you’re running low on energy or productivity, it is notable that investing in more sleep can help increase productivity. The NHS notes that, in addition to increasing your energy, good sleep can improve blood glucose levels, mental health and your immune system.

If you’re finding getting to sleep difficult, the following can help:

  • Aim to go to go to bed at a similar time each night, including weekends wherever possible
  • Avoid watching TV or using the computer/internet 30 minutes before bedtime
  • Aim to keep blood glucose levels stable over night


Yoga can also be beneficial to both mental and physical health. The NHS lists yoga as having shown evidence of improvements in strength, flexibility, health, blood pressure and also in reducing depression and stress.


They say healthy body, healthy mind but the reverse is true too. When it comes to maintaining a healthy mind, mindfulness can help. Mindfulness teaches you to be more aware of the present moment in a non-judgemental way.

Mindfulness can help with being more open-minded, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety and it can also have additional benefits on physical health, such as improving blood pressure, which can be rejuvenating.

Avoid refined carbs

The effects on the body of refined carbohydrates , such as white rice, white bread and other products made from white flour, are not terribly different to the effects of sugar. Refined carbohydrates can rapidly raise blood glucose levels, leading to fatigue in those of us with diabetes.

If white carbs are a regular part of your diet, cutting down on your intake of these foods is likely to result in a swift improvement in energy levels.

After meal walks

High sugar levels after lunch can make it hard for many of us to get re-started on work or other tasks. Walking after meals has been shown to help reduce post meal sugar levels, allowing your energy to return sooner into the afternoon.

Avoid hypos

Hypos can be an instant energy killer. Those of us on insulin or insulin secretagogue tablets (sulfonylureas or prandial glucose regulators) may experience hypos on a regular basis. Preventing hypos in the first place and treating them quickly if they do happen are the best ways to stop hypos from stopping you in your tracks.

Hypos may come at similar times each day and blood glucose testing can help with spotting these times. Key to treating hypos quickly is to spot the symptoms early – watch out for those times when tasks are taking longer than normal which is one of the telling hypo signs. Another top tip is to use the quickest acting carbohydrate available, glucose, to treat hypos.


Research has linked low levels of certain vitamins and minerals , including vitamin D and magnesium, to having low levels of energy [101]

Research from the US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center showed that women with a magnesium deficiency required more oxygen to perform tasks. Meanwhile, researchers from Newcastle University have shown that vitamin D supplementation can improve muscle efficiency and energy levels in participants which struggled with muscle fatigue [102]

Weight training

Weight training is linked with higher testosterone levels along with greater motivation and energy. Muscles play an important part in glucose metabolism and so working out can improve blood glucose levels which will also have a positive effect on energy levels.

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