One of our greatest resources is energy. When fatigued, we’re less powerful in our lives and don’t have the energy to do the things we need, or want, to do.
Unfortunately, when we’re tired, we often do things that give us momentary energy, but end up leaving us even more depleted. Who hasn’t reached for a sweet treat, cup of coffee, or caffeine-filled energy drink for a quick energy boost?
The problem is that sugar and caffeine take more than they give. Like an opportunistic creditor, they rescue us when we’re desperate but slap us with the bill plus interest later.
There are healthier actions we can take that yield true, lasting energy. Here are 5 tips, backed by research, that will give you more of this most precious commodity.
5 Natural Ways to Fight Fatigue & Boost Energy and Vitality
1. Get Quality Sleep
Self-imposed sleep deprivation is one of the primary causes of excessive sleepiness among Americans. While we glorify self-sacrificing, hardworking people, there’s nothing heroic about depriving yourself of sleep.
It’s through high-quality sleep that your body restores many functions it needs during the day, including temperature regulation, a healthy immune system, balanced hormone levels, and a good appetite. These factors all play a role in how much energy you have. To operate optimally and with vibrant energy, it’s essential to maintain these functions through quality sleep.
So, whatever is getting in the way of your sleep, change it. Sleep experts suggest that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
Here are the recommended tips to help you sleep better:
- Turn off the phone, computer, and television an hour before you go to bed. Screen time activates the mind and makes it harder to fall asleep.
- Ensure your windows have coverings that will keep light out. Darkness ensures better sleep.
- Make sure your room isn’t too hot. Run the air conditioner if need be. Your energy levels are worth it!
- Eating several hours before bed, consuming caffeine after noon, and drinking alcohol are all disruptive to restful sleep.
- Exercise regularly but not too close to bedtime, as it may keep you up.
- Write in a journal if your mind is racing or full of worrisome thoughts.
- Take natural supplements with studied ingredients to support sleep such as melatonin, GABA, and magnesium.
2. Eat Nutritious, High-Energy Snacks
Instead of snacking on cookies, crackers, chips, or chocolate when you’re tired, choose something that will fuel you with sustained energy. Choose protein-rich, high fiber snacks.
Some examples are a handful of cherries and some almonds, a banana with almond butter, celery sticks and hummus, Greek yogurt with blueberries, or a hard-boiled egg. These snacks deliver sustained energy and no sugar spikes.
The cravings for sugary, high-fat foods may be strong at first, but they will diminish after a few days. You’ll start to enjoy the benefits of even energy.
3. Move Your Body
Have you ever noticed how vibrant and energetic people are who exercise regularly?
It may seem counterintuitive to expend energy through exercise to increase energy and reduce fatigue, but an overwhelming amount of research shows this to be true.
Regular exercise can increase the levels of energy-promoting and mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain. Additionally, exercise increases oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Of course, when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle your day.
Even a little bit of exercise can energize you. One study of sleep-deprived, young women showed that just 10 minutes of moderate exercise boosted energy levels beyond a 50 mg serving of caffeine!
4. Drink Water
Staying hydrated is integral to maintaining healthy energy levels. Many of your body’s daily biochemical reactions require water. If it’s a warm day or you’ve been exercising, your body needs even more water to stay adequately hydrated.
Interestingly, a study of men who worked out on a treadmill and lost 1% of their body mass in fluid reported more fatigue than when they performed the same exercise while remaining well hydrated. Water intake recommendations vary depending on gender, age, weight, and activity level – a healthy average is 2 to 3 liters a day.
5. Meditate and Recreate
With all the digital communications coming at us on any given day, we need to unplug and be quiet without any distractions – and we need to recreate in nature.
It has been shown that practicing brief sessions of yoga and meditation can significantly improve brain function and energy levels. It’s important to remove all distractions when meditating, even sound.
Just set a timer and sit quietly. Twenty minutes is enough time to calm the mind, but many people sit for longer. Consider going on a meditation retreat if you really want to throw yourself into it.
Nature is powerful. One study found that people’s mental energy was replenished even when they just looked at pictures of nature. Go to the park, take a walk or hike, sit by the lake, go to the beach – just be in a natural environment.
Natural beauty can also elicit feelings of awe, which can energize the mind, body, and spirit!
These are just several energy-boosting suggestions to get you started, so give them a try. The only thing you have to lose is your fatigue!
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