Are you dragging through your day? Life is pretty hectic, stressful and all-consuming these days, so it’s understandable if you’re feeling a little more exhausted than normal.
While you might think reaching for a Starbucks or Red Bull is the answer, there are some better ways to enhance your energy levels naturally. Here are six natural ways to combat fatigue and boost energy levels so you have more pep in your step throughout the day.
1. Catch Some Z’s
This seems like a no-brainer, but one of the first things that can help with exhaustion is making sure you are getting quality sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35% of American adults don’t get the recommended 7 hours of sleep each night. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine also indicated that 7 hours can also stave off adverse outcomes including diabetes, hypertension, obesity and impaired performance.
Here are some healthy sleep tips to help you catch some shut eye:
- Go to bed roughly the same time each night; wake up roughly the same time every morning.
- Create an ideal sleep space that is cool and dark.
- Reduce stimuli in your room: turn off technology.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol around bedtime.
- Take a bath or read a book (the physical kind, so the light from your Kindle and iPad doesn’t affect your sleep).
- For other sleep tips, check out this blog with Banner sleep specialist, Dr. Lee-Iannotti.
While getting up off the couch may be the last thing you want to do, exercise—even just a walk—can be a natural energy booster.
“Physiologically speaking, it is not entirely clear, but there is an association between physical activity and a reduction in low energy and fatigue,” said Jennifer Nelson, DO, an internal medicine physician at Banner – University Medicine Internal Medicine Clinic in Phoenix, AZ. “Some of this may include the release of endorphins that exercise causes or the improvement in sleep that regular activity results in.”
The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity each week and at least 2 days of exercise to strengthen muscles.
3. Limit Alcohol
There’s a reason some people have nicknamed wine “sleepy juice.” But just one glass at lunch may be contributing to your midday slump. And that drink before bed could cause you to toss and turn and wake up in the dumps too.
“While alcohol decreases the time it takes to fall asleep and seems to increase the quality of sleep during the first half of the night, it greatly disrupts sleep during the second half of the night and affects overall REM sleep for the night,” Dr. Nelson said.
If you're going to drink, do so in moderation at a time when you don't mind having your energy wind down.
4. Stay Hydrated
One of the first symptoms of dehydration is feeling tired. To combat fatigue, make sure you are drinking water throughout the day. That’s 9 glasses for women and 13 glasses for men.
5. Watch What You Eat
One of our main sources of energy comes from food. The trick is avoiding processed foods, which can make your energy levels spike but drop quickly leaving you feeling foggy. Instead reach for foods with a low glycemic index—whose sugars are absorbed slowly. Foods with a low glycemic index include whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts and healthy oils.
You may want to consider taking vitamins, herbs or other supplements to help, but make sure you check with your doctor first. Some dietary supplements may increase or decrease the effect of your medication.
6. Find Inner Peace
While it’s not completely possible to eliminate all stress from your life at the moment, it could be contributing to your exhaustion. Take some time in your day to help clear your mind.
Some natural energy boosters include meditation, yoga or tai chi that help focus on mindful breathing. If yoga isn’t your thing, talk to a friend, journal your thoughts or speak with a licensed behavioral health specialist. Doing some of these things can help promote better sleep and improve your overall mental health.
Still Feeling Tired?
While these natural energy boosters are great pick-me-ups, low-energy levels could be a sign of an underlying medical issue, including hypothyroidism, anemia, a sleep disorder or a mental health condition. Talk to your doctor if your fatigue is beyond what’s typical for your lifestyle, is progressing or even if you aren’t sure.
To find a doctor near you, visit bannerhealth.com.