7 Natural Ways to Get More Energy
In this sleep-deprived, overstretched, high-speed world, it’s common to feel drained and low on energy. Your tendency might be to grab an energy drink or pour a third cup of coffee when you’re feeling tired, but there are other, natural ways to get a boost of energy—all of which also offer other health and wellness benefits.
Here are six strategies that can help you feel more energized both in the moment and for the long haul.
Drink More Water
Even just mild dehydration can increase fatigue and mood and make it hard to concentrate, research shows.
While how much water you need each day depends on many factors, including your age, weight, how active you are, and the climate you live in, the Institute of Medicine recommends women consume an average of 2.7 liters of total water from all beverages and foods each day, while men should consume an average of 3.7 liters each day.
As a rule of thumb, most of your water intake should come from unsweetened drinks; about 20% can come from the foods you eat.
Take a Power Nap
Feeling low on energy is probably a sign you need more sleep. And while you might not be able to change your sleeping habits overnight, finding time to rest during the day can do wonders for your energy level.
Research shows that even a 10-minute nap is enough to boost energy and cognitive performance without resulting in that groggy feeling you might get from waking up after a long nap or a night of sleep.
One study found napping to be even more effective than caffeine at boosting verbal memory, motor skills, and perceptual learning.
Exercising may be the last thing on your mind when you’re feeling exhausted, but once you lace up your sneakers and get out the door, you’re likely to feel more alert.
Studies show that the amount of physical activity people report each week is directly related to how often they feel energetic.
For the biggest health benefits, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends adults do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of activity each week.
Prioritize Alone Time
Spending time socializing in groups can make you feel happy in the moment, but extroverted activities are likely to cause fatigue after the fact, research shows.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prioritize the relationships in your life. But if you’re feeling like you need to hit reset, it might be best to commit to some solo time. Consider creating a daily ritual where you carve out 20 to 30 minutes for yourself to just relax. Pick up a book, listen to music, meditate, have a cup of tea, or try a new yoga pose.
Downing a sugary snack when you need a boost might seem like a quick fix, but the energy will be short-lived. In one study, researchers found that people had more energy and less tiredness immediately after a sugary snack, but had even less energy an hour later. Those who went on a walk when they were groggy instead had increased energy without the crash.
Eat Your Vitamins
If you’re constantly feeling fatigued or low energy, your diet may be lacking in some nutrients that are key to feeling energetic. Vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iron are commonly lacking in people with low energy. Make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients through food sources or supplements. If you’re not sure what to focus on, your doctor can order tests to determine the levels of these and other vitamins in your blood.
Finding natural options to bring your more energy throughout the day can enhance your quality of life. If you’re chronically exhausted and nothing seems to help, talk with a healthcare provider. Always feeling tired could be a sign of an illness or mental health condition.
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- Harvard Medical School. Could a vitamin or mineral deficiency be behind your fatigue? Harvard Health. Published 2019.
- Hilditch C, Centofanti S, Dorrian J, Banks S. A 30-Minute, but Not a 10-Minute Nighttime Nap is Associated with Sleep Inertia. Sleep. 2016;39(3):675-685. doi:10.5665/sleep.5550
- Institute of Medicine. 2005. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/10925
- Leikas S, Ilmarinen V. Happy Now, Tired Later? Extraverted and Conscientious Behavior Are Related to Immediate Mood Gains, but to Later Fatigue. J Pers. 2016;85(5):603-615. doi:10.1111/jopy.12264
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- President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Published 2019.
- Thayer R. Energy, tiredness, and tension effects of a sugar snack versus moderate exercise. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1987;52(1):119-125. doi:10.1037//0022-3518.104.22.168