Hands up if you’ve ever felt sluggish or if your energy levels seem to take a massive dip in the afternoon? You’re not alone! There’s a whole market of vitamins and supplements out there all claiming to boost your energy levels, which must mean that plenty of people suffer from waning energy levels throughout the day. However, if you’d rather focus on natural remedies to help you feel energised, then you’re in the right place. Here are 11 ways to boost your energy whenever you’re feeling tired.
Why You Might Feel Tired
First up, it’s essential to consider why you might actually feel tired. There are a number of underlying health issues which might be causing fatigue, so it’s recommended that you seek medical advice if you feel as though you’re struggling every day. Anaemia, sleep apnoea, an underactive thyroid, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even burnout are all medical reasons for constantly feeling tired. If you’ve tried some of the energy boost methods below and still find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open, then make sure you speak to a doctor.
For the most part, however, it’s quite normal to see a dip in energy levels throughout the day. This is particularly the case in the afternoons, with those dreaded after-lunch slumps. There are plenty of reasons why you might experience tiredness in the afternoon, according to the National Sleep Foundation. It could be because of too many carbs at lunch, you’re dehydrated, your body temperature has dropped, or you’ve just been sitting still too long.
With these points in mind, I’ve put together 11 simple ways to make you feel a bit more awake when energy levels are running low. These are all tips I use myself to boost energy when I’m feeling sluggish, but as I said do seek medical advice if you find tiredness or fatigue to be an ongoing issue.
11 Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy Levels
Drink a glass of water
It’s one of the most simple energy-boosting tricks out there, but it really is one of the best. You need to stay hydrated to keep those energy levels high, so make sure you’re getting enough water. Even mild dehydration can make us feel tired and sluggish, so it’s important to drink plenty of water! I now use a water tracking app to ensure I’m getting my eight glasses!
If you’re not a big fan of drinking plain water, try using an infuser bottle filled with cucumber, strawberries or even oranges to add some flavour.
Don’t skip breakfast
If you regularly skip the first meal of the day, then this may have an impact on your blood sugar levels and, therefore, your energy levels. One study in Japan attempted to find out what impact skipping breakfast had on a group of 127 medical students. It found that the students missing breakfast and not eating at regular times experienced higher levels of fatigue than those who ate regularly.
High-fibre foods in the morning are ideal for keeping energy levels high through the day. You could also add some of these feel-good foods to your breakfast to improve your mood, as well as your energy levels.
Eat the right food for energy
It’s not just about when you eat, what you eat can have a significant impact on your energy as the day wears on. Your diet can play a big part in energy levels, regulating blood sugar, and make you feel full of beans (or not so full of beans). Here are 11 of the best foods to eat to give yourself a little energy boost:
- Oily fish
- Leafy greens
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolate
Try adding more of this food into your diet to help improve low energy levels, but also to help you feel more healthy too. Yep, dark chocolate is a healthy food; it’s science.
Sing and dance
Believe it not, but there are legitimate health benefits to belting out your favourite song. Seriously. Singing releases endorphins, reduces cortisol levels (and therefore stress), improves concentration and memory, and makes you feel good. It can also give you a burst of energy and motivation, especially if you’re singing along to something you love. For an even bigger boost of energy, try dancing along too. Moving makes us feel good and, again, releases endorphins which can improve our energy levels.
Cut back on caffeine
You might think that your morning cup of coffee is the only thing keeping you awake, but caffeine may actually have the opposite effect on energy levels. Drinking too much coffee can cause dehydration as it’s a diuretic, and we already know that being dehydrated can make us feel sleepy. If you have added sugar in your coffee, then this can also cause an energy slump once your body has processed that sugar.
Finally, a cup of coffee too late in the day can make it harder for us to sleep at night. This can then lead to a knock-on effect when it comes to tiredness. So, weirdly enough, coffee can make you feel tired if you drink too much of it. Try to limit your caffeine intake, don’t drink caffeinated drinks too late in the day, avoid added sugar, and also drink enough water if you want to improve your energy levels.
Brush your teeth
This may be a bit of an odd one, especially in the middle of the day, but it really works. If you’ve ever felt wide awake just before bed, once you’ve brushed your teeth for the night, then you’ll probably be nodding along with me right now. The minty freshness we get from brushing our teeth can give us a real boost of energy, but that’s not all. Brushing your teeth with the wrong hand (as in the one you don’t always use) may actually help improve brain power. So, if you’re working on something difficult or trying to study, try brushing your teeth to feel more energised and smarter.
Reduce stress levels
Ha! This one is easier said than done, right? However, as mentioned previously, one of the reasons you may be feeling tired all the time is due to burnout or chronic stress. With this in mind, reducing stress levels can help you feel more alert and energised throughout the day. There are a million and one ways you can attempt to bring those stress levels down, many of which I’ve written about before. Here are 12 ways to combat burnout and 55 self-care ideas you can do in 5 minutes or less to get you started.
Do some morning yoga
We already know that exercise can give us a boost of endorphins, but not everyone wants to go on a 5-mile run first thing in the morning. Ease your body into the day with some gentle morning yoga that can help keep sleepy feelings at bay. You don’t need to be smashing out a HIIT session or lifting weights to reap the health benefits of morning exercise.
Morning yoga is a fantastic way to start the day, feeling refreshed and ready for whatever the world may throw at you. Studies have shown that it can also reduce stress and help keep fatigue at bay. One of our incredible yoga teachers, Becky, will be recording some morning yoga sessions especially for our members on 1st January 2021. If you’re not already on the waitlist, get on there now and let’s start each day right together!
Limit screen time
Did you know that on average a human blinks 18 times a minute? BUT, when we’re staring at a screen, we blink nearly half as often. This means that scrolling on our phones or sitting in front of a laptop all day can cause eye tiredness, which then leads to headaches and general fatigue. The blue light from our devices’ screens can also make it harder for us to drift off at night.
If you can, try to look away from your screen as often as possible. Some people like to do this using the Pomodoro Technique; 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes away from their screens. You should also consider moving your phone away from your bed, so you’re not tempted to pick it up when you’re trying to drift off to sleep.
Get less sleep
Woah, what? People generally tend to think their lack of energy comes from not getting enough sleep every night, but it could also be due to getting too much. Research from Harvard found that some people are simply just sleeping too much, or not getting restful sleep, which led to them being more tired overall.
Getting too much sleep can also be bad for our health in general, so it’s crucial we don’t overdo it. Try a smart alarm app to measure the quality of your sleep and attempt shaving off some time in bed to see if it helps! Sleep expert Stella Loichot also wrote this incredible piece on finding out how long you really need to sleep.
Get more (proper) sleep
Okay, so this last one is an obvious one in some respects. As already mentioned, the reason you’re tired may actually come from sleeping too much… But, it might also be that you’re not getting quality, restful sleep. In order to increase the amount of proper sleep you get, try a couple of these tricks:
- Put your phone away – I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again! If you’re staring at your phone before bed, then there’s a good chance it may be harder to drift off into a peaceful slumber. Limit your screentime before bed and try to have at least half an hour of no screens before you want to fall asleep.
- Avoid alcohol – You might think that your glass of red is helping you fall asleep, but alcohol can actually have the reverse effect. It can mess up sleeping patterns and make it harder to fall into a deep sleep. Don’t believe me? Invest in a sleep tracking watch and compare a night of alcohol to a night of no alcohol. You’ll be surprised!
- Clear you mind at night – If it’s hard to get to sleep because there’s just too much running through your mind, then you may want to try a brain dump before you go to bed. Alternatively, a quick meditation session can help us feel more relaxed and ready for bed.
While the majority of this advice should work for many people, please do seek professional advice if a lack of energy is an ongoing issue. I’ve also included all of the sources below which are packed with more useful information for you to read through.
Medical reasons for feeling tired, NHS
Four reasons you get tired at 2pm, Sleep.org
Causes of Fatigue, WebMD
What are the best foods to eat for energy? Medical News Today
The Health Benefits of Singing, Barbershop Harmony Society
Why does coffee make me tired? Healthline
The Health Benefits of Yoga, WebMD
5 tips to reduce screen time while you’re WFH, Harvard Business Review
Physical side effects of oversleeping, WebMD