When you go to the store, you’ll see a multitude of vitamins, herbs, and other supplements touted as energy boosters. Some are even added to soft drinks and other foods. But there’s little or no scientific evidence that energy boosters like ginseng, chromium, and guarana actually work. Thankfully, there are things you can do to enhance your own natural energy levels. Below are a couple of tips and tricks to help give you that natural energy.
How to Have More Energy
Exercise almost guarantees that you’ll sleep more soundly. It also gives your cells more energy to burn and circulate oxygen. Exercising causes your body to release epinephrine and norepinephrine, stress hormones that in modest amounts can make you feel energized. Even a brisk walk is a good start for exercise.
Stress-induced emotions consume huge amounts of energy. Talking with a friend or relative, joining a support group, or seeing a psychotherapist can all help diffuse stress. Relaxation therapies like meditation, self-hypnosis, yoga, and tai chi are also effective tools for reducing stress.
If you think you may be sleep-deprived, try getting less sleep. This advice may sound weird but determining how much sleep you actually need can reduce the time you spend in bed not sleeping. This process makes it easier to fall asleep and promotes more restful sleep in the long run. Here are some ways you can do it:
- Avoid napping during the day.
- The first night, go to bed later than normal and get just four hours of sleep.
- If you feel that you slept well during that four-hour period, add another 15-30 minutes of sleep the next night.
- As long as you’re sleeping soundly the entire time you’re in bed, slowly keep adding sleep on successive nights.
Lighten Your Load
One of the main reasons for fatigue is overwork. Overworking can include professional, family, and social obligations. Try to streamline your list of “must-do” activities. Set your priorities in terms of the most important tasks. Pare down those that are less important. Consider asking for extra help at work, if necessary.
Everyone knows smoking threatens your health. But you may not know that smoking actually siphons off your energy which could lead to insomnia. The nicotine in tobacco is a stimulant, so it speeds the heart rate, raises blood pressure, and stimulates brain-wave activity associated with wakefulness, making it harder to fall asleep. And once you do fall asleep, its addictive power can kick in and awaken you with cravings.
Eat for Energy
It’s better to eat small meals and snacks every few hours than three large meals a day. This approach can reduce your perception of fatigue because your brain needs a steady supply of nutrients.
Eating foods with low glycemic index— whose sugars are absorbed slowly— may help you avoid the lag in energy that typically occurs after eating quickly absorbed sugars or refined starches. Foods with a low glycemic index include whole grains, nuts, high-fiber vegetables, and healthy oils such as olive oil. In general, high-carbohydrate foods have the highest glycemic indexes. Proteins and fats have glycemic indexes that are close to zero.
What’s the only nutrient that has been shown to enhance performance for all but the most demanding endurance activities? It’s not some pricey sports drink. It’s water. If your body is short of fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue.
Use Caffeine to Your Advantage
Caffeine does help increase alertness, so having a cup of coffee can help sharpen your mind. But to get the energizing effects of caffeine, you have to use it judiciously. It can cause insomnia, especially when consumed in large amounts or after 2 p.m.
Bring It Home
Many people feel tired and lack the energy to function at their best throughout the day.
However, drinking enough water, eating healthily, getting enough sleep and exercise and being sociable can benefit your energy levels and your health.
If you feel tired, it’s worth taking a look at your lifestyle to see which healthy changes you can make to boost your energy levels and make you feel great.