Our modern (read: busy) lifestyle can take a toll on energy levels. Making a few simple, healthy lifestyle changes is truly the best way to address energy issues. Whether you’re facing an afternoon slump or all-day fatigue, here are some natural remedies to boost energy starting today!
Drink more water
According to a recent survey, about ¾ of people say they don’t drink enough water at work. You might not be drinking enough at home, either. While it’s unlikely that you’re dehydrated under normal conditions, not drinking enough water is a prime reason for fatigue. Instead of heading to the coffee pot, head to the water cooler and drink more water. In a study that looked at the impact of changing water intake among both high water drinkers and low water drinkers, those who went from low to high reported less fatigue and sleepiness. On the other hand, those who went from high to low felt less vigorous.
Now’s a great time to get started on your water habit because as the weather heats up, your needs might go up as well. (Factors like humidity and sweating lead to increased needs.) Though it’s not set in stone, a good rule of thumb is to aim for 64 ounces of water each day. If that sounds overwhelming, try thinking about your day in two parts: morning to afternoon and afternoon to bedtime. Fill up a 16-ounce bottle first thing in the morning and try to get through two of those by mid-afternoon and another two before bedtime. If you don’t hit your goal, it’s not a big deal, but putting this routine in place will help ensure that drinking your water becomes second nature—and that will ensure you get a natural energy boost!
Get a healthy amount of sleep
OK, I know this sounds like a dumb thing to say, but hear me out! So often, I see people looking for a quick way to boost energy—things that they can take or drink to fight fatigue. But you’ll never maintain energy levels if you aren’t getting the amount and quality of sleep you need.
Healthy lifestyle habits that boost energy (like eating more plant foods and exercising) also enable better sleep so these natural energy boosters are a good place to start If you want to do more, another thing to try is to establish a relaxing bedtime ritual. Reading, meditating, light stretching, and journaling are some ideas you can play around with!
Sometimes our brain gets tired just sitting in front of a computer and getting stuff done, and this can manifest as feelings of fatigue. Anytime you’re doing focused work (even, say, balancing your bank account), it tires the brain. It turns out that nature counters this kind of fatigue to give you an instant energy boost! The cool thing is, even if you can’t get outside for a brief walk, you can just look outside the window for a similar effect.
However if you can get outside, do. As you’ll see from the next point, moving is another way to get a natural energy boost!
Move a little
Though it sounds counterintuitive, exercise is a great way to boost energy levels. In a review study that looked at normal levels of exercise (just 20 to 40 minutes), even just a single session was found to meaningfully boost energy.
Now that the days are longer, think about when you might be able to sneak in a brief walk. 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there can really add up to improvements in energy levels!
Eat more plants
Plant foods, such as veggies and fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, are rich in micronutrients—the vitamins and minerals you need to operate at peak function. If you aren’t getting these raw materials, your sleep will suffer and so will your energy. As an example, poor magnesium intake—the mineral found in leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains—has been linked with insomnia. Getting sufficient levels can help improve sleep and will therefore help with fatigue. Magnesium is also involved in cellular energy production and in transporting energy to your cells, so it’s a top natural energy booster. I’ve written a lot about this mineral so if you want to learn more, read this post about magnesium.
In addition to ensuring you’re getting the spectrum of nutrients to support sleep and energy levels, eating more plants means you’re eating fewer of the foods that rob you of energy—namely sugar and refined grains. Though many people think sugar provides a quick energy fix, a new study shows this couldn’t be farther from the truth! In a review of 31 previous studies, researchers found that within an hour, sugar made people feel more tired and less alert.
Eating better--defined as more plant foods and fewer refined and sugary foods--will both give your energy levels a boost and promote better sleep.