Most of us are exhausted, have no energy, and rely on caffeinated pick-me-ups like coffee and (cringe) diet soda. This begs the question, why are we so damn tired? Put simply, we’re sleeping less, stressing more, and eating far worse than the 20 through 50-somethings of several decades ago. But how do we break the cycle? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think and does not begin and end with a shot of 5 Hour Energy.
HERE ARE MY TOP FIVE TIPS TO BOOST YOUR ENERGY NATURALLY:
1. GET YOUR MOVE ON
While on the surface it may seem counter-intuitive, researchers say that engaging in regular exercise can pay off with increased energy in the long run. In a study published in Psychological Bulletin, researchers analyzed 70 studies on exercise and fatigue involving more than 6,800 people. The result? More than 90% of the studies showed the same thing: sedentary people who completed an regular exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to groups that did not exercise. How about that? Get moving.
Yep, pretty simple. The shallow breathing that many of us are guilty of prevents the body from getting enough oxygen. When we feel tense (which is like, all the time, right?), we fail to breathe deeply, which is one reason we feel an energy zap at the end of a stress-filled day. “The general principles of correct breathing are to make it deeper, slower, quieter, and more regular,” says Dr. Andrew Weil, author of Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being. Doing so helps you force more oxygen into your cells, which slows heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and improves circulation, ultimately providing more energy.
3. DITCH (OR LIMIT) SUGAR
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Sugar is (kind of) the enemy. When you consume sugar or something sweet, your blood sugar spikes, which gives you a short-lived surge in energy. Then what happens? You crash and burn, because your blood sugar drops, leaving you feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus. Do that multiple times a day, and it’s no wonder you’re exhausted by 6 pm.
4. GET SOME SHUT-EYE
Yes, it’s so obvious, but alas, it must be said. For lots of reasons (stress, Facebook addictions, and Downton Abbey marathons), we’re not getting enough sleep, which contributes to our constant energy drain. Adults should aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. How, you ask? Make a nightly date with your pillow – and honor it – and power off all things with a cord or battery one hour before hitting the sack. This helps to shut your brain down before you begin the sheep countdown.
5. DETOX YOUR LIVER
The liver is constantly working to break down toxins in your food and environment that you are exposed to everyday while trying to simultaneously maintain optimal metabolic function. As it becomes “clogged” with a buildup of by-products, it is unable to perform at its best. This leads to fatigue, weight gain, arthritis, and joint pain, as well as other chronic diseases. Giving the liver a good old-fashioned reboot with the right foods will remove these buildups, makings us feel better (and dramatically boosting our energy).