Let’s face it: we are a really tired nation. In fact, a recent study shows that 75% of people report being “very tired” at least one day each week.
Maybe you’re running on little sleep and find yourself turning to copious amounts of caffeine and quick-fix energy bursts. Maybe, no matter what you do during the day, you still just feel tired.
If it feels impossible to stay awake during your morning meeting or you find yourself nodding out by mid-afternoon, low energy may be to blame.
In a lifestyle as busy and fast-paced as the one most us live in, we’re quick to rely on dangerous chemicals like energy drinks or trending supplements to get us through our days.
But, these methods, while temporarily convenient, are associated with health risks and energy crashes.
Let’s take a look at some of the healthier lifestyle choices for honing down better energy- and solve the frustrating I’m so tired phenomenon once and for all.
7 Best Hacks For Better Energy
Stop Neglecting Your Sleep
Yes, it’s cliched. It’s cliched for good reason, though. You know you’re supposed to be getting a solid night of rest, but are you?
Poor or inadequate sleep hurts us in a myriad of ways including:
- Mental health disorders (depression and anxiety)
- Heart disease
- Obesity and weight concerns
- Irritability and restlessness
- Low energy and fatigue
Any of these seem familiar? If so, how’s that nightly bedtime routine going?
Experts recommend up to 8 hours of sleep, though individual needs can and do vary. To improve your overall sleep routine, focus on these tried-and-true strategies:
- Maintain a sleep schedule. Consistently aim to fall asleep and wake up at the same time each day (yes, this includes weekends). This keeps your body in a normal routine.
- Keep the room as dark as possible
- Avoid eating dinner too close to bedtime. You need time to digest
- Cut caffeine by mid-afternoon
- Put electronics away at least an hour before bedtime
- Keep your room cool (optimally between 66-69 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Find yourself a comfy bed, sheets, and pillow! You will spend 1/3 of your life asleep! It’s well worth the investment.
Move Your Body
Even though exercise may make you feel tired, it is actually associated with having better energy overall.
How so? Exercise releases endorphins, strengthens circulation and blood flow, and reduces stress. To simplify, exercises makes our bodies work harder. This, in turn, makes us have more energy.
It’s a win-win.
Experts found that even just 20 minutes of low-impact of exercise 3 days a week can have significant improvement on daily energy levels. That’s just an hour of commitment a week, though more exercise is also associated with more energy improvement.
The type of exercise does not matter so much as the consistency of exercise itself.
Some ideas to get started:
- Add an additional 20-minute walk before or after walk
- Sign up for a new fitness class
- Make a competition with friends or coworkers to log exercise minutes
- Try yoga
- Consider joining an adult sports league
- Sign up for an athletic competition and get training!
- Listen to music and dance around your room
More of Whole, Plant-Based Foods. Less of Everything Else
The key to better energy is not in a can or supplement. It’s in your refrigerator!
Nutrition is undeniably important when it comes to improving better energy. You probably know that eating a healthy diet is important. But, did you know just how much poor nutrition harms both your waistline and your energy levels?
If you’re feeling sluggish, your diet may be to blame.
Some of the worst energy-sapping foods include:
- Simple/refined carbohydrates (baked goods, white bread)
- High levels of sugar (sodas, candy)
- Red meat
But, don’t worry. It’s simple to make healthier, efficient swaps. Check out some of the best food associated with better energy:
- Leafy greens and vegetables
- Citrus fruits
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and lentils
- Dark chocolate
Drink More H20
You probably already know you should be drinking water. Are you actually doing it?
Many of us are dehydrated throughout the day. Even mild hydration can cause fatigue, which can wreck havoc on our energy levels.
Unfortunately, when we are thirsty, we tend to reach for less optimal options. We’re talking sugary sodas, fruit juices, coffee or energy drinks.
Sure, they may taste good and look fun. Yet, many of these choices come with extra calories, hidden sugar, and nasty chemicals.
What happens then? You tend to feel even more tired.
The best answer for hydration and better energy levels? Pure, straight-up water.
Don’t complicate it. Get your hands on a reusable water bottle (there are so many awesome options out there!) and fill it up as often as possible. The walk to the restroom will also help keep you energized!
Drink a minimum of 7 glasses per day (or until your urine is very light-colored) and you’ll feel significantly more alert, awake, and energized.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with caffeine or other tasty drinks. Just drink them in moderation. And, remember: no matter what, water is king when it comes to nutrition, health, and better energy!
Take a Hike
Like the sensation of the sun beating down your back? Or the feeling of jumping into a chilly lake? The great outdoors feels exciting and rejuvenating, and it turns out that it’s not just your imagination.
Science, in fact, is now encouraging people to get out their offices and go outdoors if they want to feel better.
Nature is fuel for our bodies and minds. It is associated with increased blood flow, immune response, and decreased stress and anxiety. All of these factors make for better energy levels!
And, you don’t have to get lost in the mountains to reap these awesome benefits, either.
Try eating lunch outside. Wake up and do a few Downward Dogs on your patio before getting ready for work. Move your treadmill run to the local hiking trails. Take a dip in the closest ocean.
Chances are, you already like being outdoors. Now you have even more reason to get out there and go on some adventures!
Master the Power Nap
Napping gets a bad rep, but maybe your kindergarten class had it right all along.
Most of us are incredibly busy all the time, but our bodies do get tired and do need a break. Otherwise, we tend to be less productive, engaged, and happy with our daily living.
We have already discussed some of the amazing benefits that come from sleep. Napping has similar perks. It can improve creativity, memory retention, and energy levels throughout the day.
Bingo! Here is your permission to go to sleep!
We’ll note that this is not an all-access ticket to doze off your entire afternoon. A power nap is a bit more refined than that.
The ideal nap length lasts about 10-20 minutes. Any longer than that introduces deeper stages of sleep and can increase the possibility of feeling more disoriented and groggy when you do wake up. Counterproductive, right? So, make sure you keep a timer running!
If you really need a longer snooze, time it for 90 minutes. This allows your body to transition through one complete REM cycle. You will wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Your bed isn’t even required!. All you need is a comfortable space and preferably dark ambiance. Enjoy those ZZZ’s and enjoy better energy levels all day long.
Laugh Til It Hurts
Next time you’re lost in YouTube cat videos feeling unproductive, give yourself some credit. Laughter doesn’t just feel good and connect people together. It is actually associated with better energy!
Just look at children. They are constantly in fits of laughter throughout the day. And, we wonder how they have so much energy!
Laughter is good for the body. The act of it engages our muscles, increases blood flow, increases our immune system, and even burns calories!
Laughter also helps us mentally. It increases our sense of happiness, instills hope and purpose, and creates bonding between people.
The more happy you feel, the more energized you feel. After all, it’s hard to feel stressed when you’re doubled over laughing. It’s a no-brainer.
If you’re lacking in laughter, try to incorporate more humor in your life. Our favorite hacks include:
- Watching a favorite sitcom
- Browsing through funny online videos
- Checking out memes or jokes
- Reminiscing on a funny time with a good friend or family member
- Just practicing laughing! Seriously. Even if you start “fake” laughing, you have a pretty good chance of it turning into authentic laughter. Try it!
We’re all busy, but we don’t all have to be stressed. Having better energy isn’t a mystery nor is it just for “really happy” people.
Really, it just involves implementing healthy (and fun) habits throughout the day! If you’re feeling depleted throughout the day and tired of getting your fix through another cup of coffee, try some of these hacks!
Treat your body and mind with the nourishment and attention it needs, and enjoy the mood improvements you’re looking for!