I’m not going to sugar-coat
it: The best way to get through your entire day without your eyelids drooping
is to get enough sleep at night.
Seriously: “Nothing replaces sleep to give you energy,” says Dr
Alison Kole, director of sleep services at Summit Medical Group. “Most people
require seven to nine hours of sleep per night to feel their best.”
Still, that’s not always entirely possible (just one more episode
Great British Bake Off can’t hurt, right?). But the good news
is there are some quick energy-boosting tips you can try that work
pretty well in the moment. Here’s how to get more energy, like, right now.
1. Follow this super-specific hydration formula
Admit it: You don’t drink as much water as you could – and
dehydration is one of the main reasons why energy levels bottom out.
“Most of us walk around in a state of dehydration on a daily
basis, and when your body is dehydrated it can make you feel tired and
sluggish,” says registered dietitian and nutritionist Dr Allison Childress.
Fortunately, Childress also says that pretty much any kind of
beverage (except alcohol) counts toward your daily intake, so if you’re not a
huge fan of plain water, mix it up with juice, tea, or even broth
Not sure how much you need? Kole says it depends largely on your
body size, and recommends multiplying your weight by 20g to calculate what
your daily goal should be.
Read more: 15 daily energy-boosting habits that health experts swear by
2. Choose coffee over energy drinks
Yes, a quick jolt of liquid caffeine can definitely perk you
up – but here’s the thing, not all caffeine is created equal.
“Stay away from energy drinks … they may give you a temporary boost,
but these are stimulants and can set you up for a crash later on,” says
Childress, since energy drinks often contain caffeine as well as a mix of other
stimulants like guarana and yerba mate.
She says that 240 to 350ml of coffee is a much better choice
when you need some liquid energy (i.e., no crash). Just be mindful of the
timing: Kole warns that having caffeine too late in the day (say, after 4pm)
can interfere with sleep – and possibly force you to need even more caffeine the
3. Snack on both carbs and protein
Your body’s energy comes from the calories you consume, says
Childress, so if you’re feeling sluggish you might need to fuel up. But don’t
head to the vending machine down the hall; there’s a simple formula for noshing
on a perfectly energising (and healthy) snack.
“Choose a carb and a protein for maximum punch,” she explains – the
carbs will provide your body with fuel, while protein will help you stay fuller
(and more satisfied) longer. “Try an apple with a piece of string cheese, a
cracker with nut butter, or half of a protein bar,” says Childress.
4. Do a few laps at the office (or just get up for some
If you find yourself nodding off at your desk, there’s a simple
solution: Take a walk – it’s an automatic source of energy that boosts your
circulation and keeps your muscles active, says Kole.
And before you complain that there’s no place to walk outside your
office building, know that fresh air is not mandatory for this tip to
work. Take regular trips to the water cooler, log some laps around your
department’s collection of cubicles, or walk up and down the stairs a few
times. Childress suggests setting an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to
get up from your desk every hour and move.
“Do it regularly to keep tiredness at bay and keep your mind
focused– a move break is just as good for your mind as it is for your body,” she
5. As soon as you wake up, make a plan to crush the day
You know that feeling when you wake up and have so much to do that
you kind of just want to go to bed? This tip can help with that “I’m so
Kole suggests starting every day with a positive thought or goal
(like, “I’m going to spend 20 minutes mentally rehearsing for my presentation
over coffee today”). This will help you manage your attitude toward the day’s
activities – and conserve some of your precious energy, because freaking out
about everything is super draining. “Personally, I try to focus on
one thing I’m thankful for,” she says, “which creates a positive mindset moving
Read more: 5 easy DIY protein-packed, energy-boosting juices for fitsters
6. Take a whiff of something refreshing
Whether you work in an office or at home, the air around you can
get stale – which definitely doesn’t bode well for staying alert.
Perk up by diffusing essential oils (they’ll spice up your
environment and boot your energy levels). Childress says that
eucalyptus and citrus oils can refresh a tired body and mind, and that if simply
smelling some zesty lemon doesn’t quite do the trick, you can also try putting
a drop on some pressure points (like the insides of your wrists) for an extra
kick. Just make sure to read the directions; some essential oils can irritate
7. Go outside on your lunch break
Sunny days aren’t just good for your mood – they can also be good
for your mental and physical health.
“The sun can be very invigorating [and it can also] stimulate
vitamin D production, which has been shown to enhance mood,” says Childress.
Everyone needs vitamin D for bone health, but many don’t
get enough of it from food – enter, supplements and good ol’ fashioned sunshine.
FYI: a little bit of sunscreen-free sun exposure is okay, but make
sure you don’t go overboard. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin in order
to soak up those vitamin-rich rays; you only need about 10–15 minutes of
8. Keep your curtains open and wake up by daylight
If you need one more reason to consider the sun your
friend, pay attention: opening up your curtains and letting daylight into your
bedroom as soon as you wake up in the morning can set you on an energised
course for the whole day.
Kole says that exposing yourself to bright light first thing in
the morning helps regulate your internal sleep-wake body clock and may
even improve your mood, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
9. Go ahead, take a (power) nap
If you have a full-time job (or children), taking a nice, long
restorative nap when you’re feeling sleepy is probably out of the question. But
there’s good news: you don’t need a long nap to reap the benefits of some
“The ideal length for napping typically is about 20 minutes,” Kole
says. “Longer naps tend to leave people sleepier, in part because the
further you go into a sleep cycle the more likely you are to hit deep sleep,
and waking up during that stage often causes people to feel groggier.”
Basically, consider this permission to take a quick midday snooze.
10. Try to sweat a little bit before breakfast
In addition to making you feel super-productive before even
starting your day, working out in the morning can boost your energy, as well as
control anxiety, and reduce stress – two major energy-suckers, says Kole.
But there’s one other reason to make going for a daily run the
first thing on your daily to-do list: According to Kole, a morning workout sets
a positive and energised tone for the rest of your day, while working out in
the late afternoon or evening is more likely to interfere with your ability to
fall asleep at night, she adds.
11. Free up brain power by actually writing things
If I were to peek into your brain right now, I’d likely see a
miles-long list of appointments, schedule changes, and other things you
definitely cannot forget about – and that’s a recipe for crushing fatigue, says
You actually expend a lot of energy trying to mentally keep track
of everything you need to do, so Kole recommends sitting down to actually get
some of that stuff done – or at least organising yourself better by writing down all
of those things. She says resolving these distracting loose ends can free up
tons of brain power and make you feel more prepared to tackle the next thing on
your list, whatever it is.
This article was originally
published on www.womenshealthmag.com
Image credit: iStock