Sure, a giant coffee or energy drink can give you an instant lift. But it could come at a cost. While it’s fine to consume caffeine in moderation, having too much can leave you anxious and jittery. Heavy caffeine use can also irritate your stomach, make it harder to fall asleep at night and even cause a rapid heartbeat.
The good news is that there are plenty of natural ways to boost your energy without caffeine. Here are six simple alternatives you can try today.
Eat Complex Carbohydrates and Protein
When it comes to natural energy foods, this winning combo delivers a fast boost that lasts. Try oatmeal with low-fat milk and berries for breakfast, a green salad with quinoa and grilled chicken for lunch, or a fresh fruit with a handful of nuts for an afternoon snack.
Drink Plenty of Water
Being dehydrated doesn’t just make you thirsty — it can also make you tired and unable to focus. The next time you start to drag, drink a big glass of cold water. It might be all you need to perk up.
Sniff an Energizing Scent
Believe it or not, the right aroma can help you feel more awake. Refreshing peppermint can leave you more focused and alert, while the smell of citrus fruits like lemon or orange can increase your brain’s production of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
Instead of a coffee break, lace up your sneakers and take a stroll around the block. Studies show that as little as 20 minutes of low-intensity exercise, like walking, is enough to fight fatigue and boost energy.
Take a Power Nap
Dim the lights, silence your phone, and close your eyes. Twenty minutes of shuteye in the afternoon is enough to increase your alertness and productivity without leaving you groggy — or making it harder to fall asleep in the evening, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Assess Your Sleep Habits
It’s normal to feel tired or sluggish once in a while. But if you regularly find yourself running low on steam in the middle of the day, that could be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep at night.
So take a closer look at your regular sleep schedule. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to feel our best the next day. If you’re regularly getting less, take steps to improve your nighttime routine:
- Instead of staying up late to watch another TV show or catch up on emails, go to sleep earlier.
- If you have trouble falling asleep, try calming nighttime activities to help you unwind before bed — like reading, listening to relaxing music, or taking a warm bath.
So next time you’re feeling sluggish, instead of drinking another cup of coffee throughout the day, choose a healthier alternative. Chances are, you’ll find yourself feeling equally energized and refreshed, without the downsides of consuming too much caffeine.