In our age of apps for everything and smartphones that don’t sleep, it can be challenging for many of us to find a break from our data-driven world. The fast-paced nature of our times can leave us undeniably drained. We may be tempted to overdose on coffee or reach for an afternoon sugar-fix to make it through the day.
However, these 5 natural energy boosts can keep up feeling fresh without experiencing the after-effects of a sugar high or caffeine jitters.
Consumption of regular, moderately-portioned, nutritious meals can allow us to feel nourished throughout the day. For stable energy levels, it is best to consume low glycemic index foods, like steel-cut oatmeal, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and beans. These foods allow energy to be released slowly and stably. By contrast, consumption of large, irregular, high glycemic index foods (think white bread, russet potatoes, short-grain rice, and most sugary desserts) produces sharp spikes in energy after eating, followed by massive crashes. This glycemic spike is why we may want to curl up in a food coma following Thanksgiving feasts or take an afternoon nap after a lunch of donuts and cake.
Water makes up to 60% of our bodies and 75% of our brains. Thus, dehydration can make us feel irritable, headache-y, and heavy. A simple solution to this is to equip ourselves with a reusable water bottle, filled with plain water or fruit-infused water. Unsweetened green tea is another way to stay hydrated that provides just enough caffeine to keep us alert without making us overly-stimulated.
Sleep quality is undoubtedly one of the most important influences on our daily energy levels. For most adults, this means sleeping 7-9 hours per night, but some can feel rested on less, while others need more. Perhaps more important than the number of hours slept is the quality of our sleep. Sleeping deeply rather than tossing and turning throughout the night is essential to make us feel rested throughout the day. There are a few simple shifts we can make to improve our “sleep hygiene”, ensuring that we fall asleep and stay asleep longer. For example, unplugging from our computers or smart phones a few hours before bed will prevent over-stimulation from the light of our screens and the stress of our day jobs. Additionally, it may help to establish a “bedtime routine” that includes a regular, soothing activity to ease the transition from daytime to sleep. This routine may include, practicing meditation or visualization, drinking herbal tea, reading a book, practicing self-massage, or journaling.
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