Try these science-backed tips and tricks to increase your energy ASAP.
Guzzling cup after cup of coffee isn’t the only way to get through a hectic day. If you feel a slump coming on, these natural energizers can help.
1. Wake up with yerba maté.
Ever tried yerba maté? Although this South American tea contains nearly as much caffeine as coffee, it is less acidic and has a pleasant, nutty flavour. It’s also super healthy, with plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals such as potassium and zinc.
2. Eat a fibre-rich breakfast.
Studies show that eating breakfast does increase our alertness, and the effect is almost immediate. To stave off hunger until noon (the impossible dream), eat a meal that’s high in fibre and carbs.
For bonus points, make a week’s worth of breakfasts on the weekend: start with Homemade Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches or Overnight Yogurt and Oat Muesli with Cherry Chia Jam.
3. Take a cold shower.
This sounds torturous, but hear me out: cold water really does shock the body awake. Researchers have suggested that as little as three minutes in a cold shower might help counteract chronic fatigue.
4. Turn on your iPod.
Research shows that listening to some tunes can lessen stress, but the benefits don’t stop there. Engaging with the music (think singing along and tapping your fingers or feet to the rhythm) has been shown to significantly decrease tiredness.
5. Sip a sugar-free drink.
Don’t rely on a gingerbread latte to increase your energy. With or without caffeine, sugary drinks have been shown to sap alertness and concentration in the long run. Stick to water or tea. Even mild dehydration can make your mind feel fuzzy, so drink up throughout the day.
6. Have a magnesium-packed snack.
If you’re always a bit tired, you might be getting too little magnesium. Even a slight deficiency can make daily tasks seem more difficult. Make sure you’re meeting your magnesium needs by snacking on a handful of almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews each day. Easy!
7. Stretch for 10 minutes.
When you exercise, oxygen-rich blood gets pumped to your brain, muscles, and heart for a natural energy boost. Try these four simple exercises that require a chair and just 10 minutes.
8. Chew sugar-free gum.
If you’re nodding off, chew a piece of gum. At least one study has shown that chewing gum increases alertness; it might even improve mental performance.
9. Snack on a square of dark chocolate.
There might be a scientific reason for craving chocolate in the afternoon. A 2010 study suggested that flavonoids in cocoa can improve mood and cognitive skills. Dark chocolate (with at least 60 percent cacao) has even been called a stimulant by researchers.
10. Sniff some lemon.
Stimulating aromatherapy scents such as lemon might be just the thing to perk you up on a sleepy day. One study compared how smelling scentless water, lavender essential oil, or lemon essential oil affects energy levels. Lemon was the clear winner, uplifting moods and increasing alertness the most.
11. Go for a 20-minute walk outside.
According to a series of 2010 studies, nature is the new coffee. As little as 20 minutes of walking outdoors can increase your energy, vitality, and well-being. Plus, exposure to sunlight is essential for proper production of vitamin D and melatonin, which helps govern our energy levels.